Caption: Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub

Member Article

Next generation travel technology could be jobs catalyst

A raft of new green measures and the rise of Coventry and Warwickshire as a centre of excellence in next generation travel technology could see a major rise in engineering employment in the region.

The area’s pedigree in engineering combined with industrial research and new region-wide initiatives look set to be one of the main drivers for the area’s economy in the next five years.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub’s current SmartRegion report has highlighted how a string of new projects combined with Government pressure to reduce carbon emissions could play into the area’s hands.

The development of the new Very Light Rail – a battery driven system which has attracted £16.5 million of backing – the proposal to create the UK’s first Gigafactory on the site of Coventry Airport, the development of the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre – all backed and driven by the CWLEP – are directly linked to Coventry and Warwickshire.

It has been estimated that more than 90,000 jobs will be created in the West Midlands over the next two decades, and Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, believes Coventry and Warwickshire is well placed to capitalise.

He said: “The decision by Government to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 has certainly focussed minds and there is an awareness at the top levels of Government that the UK needs to develop the technologies to ensure we do not miss out to other markets.

“With our leading-edge research, which lies not only within our companies but also our two universities, that makes us very well placed to capitalise economically.

“But that will not happen on its own, and – just as we did with UKBIC – the fact the joint venture behind the Gigafactory project is pressing ahead with planning shows our ambition and intent.

“Then, when you consider the development of VLR, which is backed by the LEP and is making a lot of people sit up and take notice, and the advent of West Midlands Combined Authority initiatives around public transport and digital connectivity, means we are very well placed to take advantage.”

The industry growth area features heavily in the CWLEP’s Reset Framework which has been drawn up in recent months and is designed to reset the local economy and drive a return to growth in the wake of the Covid crisis.

Humphrey added: “Two of the six pillars of the framework – Leading Innovation and Green Sustainable Future – are at the core of this type of industry and success will also help others concerned with creating good employment opportunities.

“With exciting projects underway, others in their infancy, and a strong sense of direction of travel from the public and private sectors, it is clear this is a major opportunity for employment and growth in the short, medium and long terms.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Matt Joyce .

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