The main focus of our research work is to inform the West Midlands Growth Company’s strategy, helping us to understand our competitive position in the marketplaces for inward investment and the attraction of visitors. At the same time, however, we are increasingly informing the work of our key shareholders. For example, in recent months we’ve provided a number of the region’s universities with market intelligence to inform their investment plans, course design and careers advice as they seek to play their part in driving the growth of the region – for example:
- Coventry University - an assessment of the potential market demand for an Immersive Technologies Studio providing a VR/AR space for experimentation and demonstration, merging creativity and technology from across a broad range of areas from photography and graphics to health and wellbeing, fashion and theatre.
- Aston University - insights on skills priority areas for the region and employer skill needs now and in the future to inform the University’s strategy to tackle the region’s skills gaps via the development of new course content which will provide the advanced skills that are going to be required in the future.
- University of Wolverhampton - analysis of the demand for labour and skills in key priority sectors and cross cutting skills needs to inform the business case for its new University Centre Telford, which will offer Degree Apprenticeships and other vocational education to local people and businesses.
- Birmingham City University - intelligence on major investments in the region such as HS2, HSBC’s new retail banking HQ, HMRC’s new regional office, PwC’s new regional office and their implications for jobs and skills to inform the work of the University’s skills and employability team.
Myself and the research team will continue to work closely with the region’s universities to support various aspects of their work because having strong universities in the region is key to a strong economy.
Head of Research