Oceansgate activity links to regional and national strategies
11 May 2017
Plymouth City Council responded to the government’s consultation ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’ in April which aims to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country.
This aligns with the Heart of the South West’s joint LEP and local authority-led Devolution Partnership’s Productivity Plan which will be published in the Autumn following a consultation which was launched in January. The Plan aims to ensure that the Heart of the South West makes a significant contribution to the UK’s productivity growth.
Several themes of the national Industrial Strategy are directly relevant to the strengths and opportunities in the Heart of the South West, for example:
- helping young people to develop the skills they need to do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future, central to the national industrial strategy and to our local aim to deliver rewarding careers,
- investing in science, research and innovation and highlighting the nuclear industry for a sector deal.
These policies are pertinent to the work that Plymouth City Council is doing and its partnerships with others to develop the marine and maritime sector at Oceansgate. Particularly:
South Coast Marine Cluster
The South Coast Marine Cluster offers access to world-class research institutions and innovation-led companies. Recognised as the UK’s leading marine industry hub, with a rich maritime heritage, hundreds of kilometres of coastline, 32 world-renowned universities and research institutions, two marine-focussed Enterprise Zones and a large and growing network of sector-leading, innovative marine companies.
The City Deal’s Challenge Fund to schools and businesses to work together has focussed on the marine and manufacturing sectors and will be rolled out to other priority sectors such as digital, construction and social care. It was set up at the request of the five local manufacturing networks to address a shortage of applicants to entry level jobs. Activities are delivered under the following themes:
- Ambassador recruitment, training and deployment
- Resources for Schools – Purchase, Deployment, Sharing
- CPD/ Training / Work Experience for Teachers
- Making Work Experience Work for Small Business
- Local Events & Employer/School twinning activity
Oceansgate Marine Enterprise Zone
Oceansgate is a brownfield site with various owners including the MoD. A range of challenges have been overcome to develop it so far, and some are ongoing. Land and property values in Plymouth are relatively low which result in low investment returns however build costs are high. Government support is therefore critical to unlock sites such as Oceansgate, both in terms of gap funding and political will. The availability of neighbouring sites and their transfer from the MoD will also be necessary in the medium term to grow the Oceansgate site and attract more significant marine and maritime industry investment.
This multi-faceted programme represents a unique opportunity for Plymouth to highlight its status as ‘Britain’s Ocean City’ to a national and international audience, through the commemoration of the Pilgrim’s journey to America, which sits at the heart of the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and US. A central part of the programme is to nurture stronger trade links through a series of Expo events, culminating in a high profile Expo in 2020. We have specifically requested Ministerial support to ensure that this unique opportunity has maximum impact and reach by galvanizing cross-departmental Whitehall support.
Plymouth has a good track record of working with businesses, the LEPs and other LAs to deliver major programmes, for example the Plymouth and South West Peninsula City Deal. The city seeks to build on this experience and success and support our key industry strengths and world leading expertise by being part of a number of sector responses to the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green paper. These include;
- Marine Sector through South Coast Marine Cluster response;
- Defence (including nuclear engineering) through the Nuclear South West response; and
- Digital via a Digital Plymouth response.
Leader of Plymouth City Council, Ian Bowyer said:
Our response demonstrates the breadth of work already underway and highlights the key challenges that we face, many of which align with the 10 pillars in the Industrial Strategy.