The Black Country Growth Deal, ‘Made in the Black Country, Sold around the World’, was agreed with Government in July 2014. The Growth Deal aims to create the skills, connections and locations for further high value manufacturing success and support growth in the Black Country’s automotive, aerospace and construction sectors. Over its lifetime (2015-2021) the Deal will deliver:
- Leverage of an additional £312m public and private investment, totalling £450m.
- £162m Government funding 2015- 2021
- At least 5,000 new jobs and 1,400 new homes
- New Government investment to the Black Country of £26m in 2015-16
- Approval for 14 of the 16 projects submitted by the LEP
- 13 projects will commence in 2015-16, with provisional funding for two more projects 2016 -17, including an Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills.
The Elite Centre will be established as a non-profit making organisation governed by partners and with an industry-led board of directors. The Express and Star (Dec3) reports that project development will be led by the University of Wolverhampton and the centre will operate as a ‘hub and spoke’ model with equipment and facilities being installed across four sites in the Black Country which will regenerate two brownfield sites. The Elite Centre is intended to become the new institute of technology in the Black Country.
The centre will be housed in an 8,600 sq ft regeneration of an historic but derelict building at the University of Wolverhampton’s new Springfield Brewery site in Wolverhampton city centre.
The foundry and pattern-making spoke will be located on a site adjacent to an existing foundry in Dudley Port with access to their industrial facilities and will demolish a derelict building, replacing it with a purpose built training block of 10,2000 sq ft.
The Growing Priority Sectors Programme is helping small and medium-sized businesses invest in plant, machinery and new buildings so they can compete with the best. The Centre for Advanced Building Technologies and Construction Skills at Dudley College will provide training and skills so local people can benefit from skilled construction jobs on infrastructure projects like HS2.
Universities, Science and Cities Minister Greg Clark said: “This Deal sees £162 million of government investment going into the Black Country to create thousands of new jobs, homes and bolster business. By devolving powers away from Whitehall we are putting local people back into the driving seat of their own growth.”
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