Our Priorities / Our Vision / Projects / Education Team / Skills

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Here's just a flavour of the many current projects we’re involved in...

Apprenticeships are a vital to providing a highly skilled workforce for businesses and essential job opportunities for young people. Through our 11 sector groups, we work with diverse businesses across the county and educational institutions to provide valuable apprenticeship opportunities across a number of diverse disciplines. In 2012, over 1,235 young people signed up in our apprenticeship campaign to find out more about these opportunities.

More than 3,600 adults started an apprenticeship during 2013. This represents an increase of 88% for the number of engineering apprenticeships since 2008/9.

Year on year, we have seen a steady increase in the number of adult apprenticeships and the number of starts is now 176% higher in 2012/13 than in 2008/9.

Youth apprenticeships now account for 27% of all apprenticeship starts and the number of opportunities is 34% higher than in 2008/9.

In the Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Awards 2013, the Forest of Dean District Council was the winner of the large employer’s category for providing apprenticeship opportunities – a valuable step to help young people into employment.

GFirst LEP, leading businesses and Government are joining forces to make UK high streets the most digitally engaged in the world, by trialling the Great Gloucestershire High Street pilot with Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud. During 2016, a centralised ‘high street digital hub’ of industry experts will be providing strategic advice, measurement, digital toolkits and hands-on digital training to Town Centre Managers, Business Improvement District Managers and their thousands of small businesses.

The digital high street programme is led by Argos, with support from other large national businesses, ministerial support, and a number of trade body supporters. 

The Great Gloucestershire High Street pilot is led by GFirst LEP, delivered by Maybe* and the Local Data Company, with training to be delivered by Clockwork City. The pilot will be delivered through the #WDYT campaign and will be used by retailers and customers to drive engagement and footfall, throughout their retail journey, online and offline. The #WDYT campaign connects shoppers with the thousands of businesses, retailers, pubs and clubs within Gloucestershire to transform local high streets into the most digitally engaged in the UK. Find out more about the campaign here.

Be part of The Great Gloucestershire High Street campaign
The Great Gloucestershire High Street campaign is live and we would love you to be part of it. 
This is a national campaign running in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud, that will make our High Streets more social, more connected and much more fun. You may have seen the #WDYT stickers appearing in retailers in Cheltenham. A wide range of retailers are already involved: Boots, Yo Sushi, Regent Arcade, James or Montpelier and many more. 
#WDYT enables shoppers and high street visitors to win £100 every week just by taking a picture on and sharing on twitter or instagram with #WDYT (What do you think). To make this work we need to get the word out to as many people as possible.
That's where you come in - we are inviting you to join our "High Street Social Club". It's a virtual club that links social accounts together so we can share the #WDYT campaign with you and ask you to share it with your friends.
All that is involved is to share the posts we send you - just press a button in the email we send over. You'll be sharing with your friends how they can win £100 a week just by being social on the high street. 
Do a great job and you could win a £500 shopping spree - and you'll be helping to improve Gloucestershire's high streets.
You can see how the campaign works , where you can also sign up. We would love for you to be involved. http://gghssocialclub.socialtoaster.com/

GFirst LEP has been awarded £8.4million from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Growing Places Fund to set up a revolving infrastructure investment fund for Gloucestershire. This fund is designed to stimulate local economic growth by targeting investment to deliver the infrastructure needed to unlock constrained and stalled development sites, and help to realise potential development value, new jobs, housing and regeneration.

GFirst LEP, working closely with Gloucestershire County Council, welcomes expressions of interest for potential projects. Investment funding awarded to successful applicants will take the form of a repayable loan. The County Council Economic Development Team, which is providing project management support to the scheme, can be contacted for further information on edteam@gloucestershire.gov.uk.

Latest News: During the next two years the fund has been allocated  to support a small number of  large development opportunities in the County.  

Whilst meeting these commitments, there may be an opportunity for funding one or two smaller projects.  If you have a project proposal please contact the team for an update on the latest available funding position. 

For further information about this fund, please look at the Expression of Interest form and Guidance Notes below.

The Expression of Interest form can be downloaded below:

GIIF Expression of Interest
GIIF Guidance Notes
GIIF Frequently Asked Questions

GIIF Expression of Interest Form

GIIF Guidance Notes


Gloucestershire LEP Investment Panel

The Gloucestershire LEP Investment Panel usually meets quarterly and acts in an advisory capacity and makes investment recommendations to the LEP Board. The Panel also reviews and monitors the programme and investment portfolio for the Infrastructure Investment Fund. The LEP Board has responsibility for making the final decisions on investment funding for this scheme.

Investment Panel Members

 The panel is made up from private sector and public sector representatives.

Executive Support to the panel is provided by officers from the County Council.
Investment Panel Meeting Dates
The panel meets regularly and future meetings are as follows
  • 4th April 2017
  • 6th June 2017
  • 18th July 2017
  • 26th September 2017
  • 28th November 2017

The Gloucestershire Local Transport Board (GLTB) held its last meeting on 10th February 2016. The GLTB website will remain available as an historic archive for information only.

The GLTB was formed in 2013 in response to a Department for Transport (DfT) initiative to devolve the control of capital funds for major transport schemes to Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas, in line with the Government's localism agenda. LTBs were established with a remit to decide on major transport priorities between 2015 and April 2019 and to allocate funding to prioritised schemes. Five schemes were prioritised for funding via the GLTB, which was awarded an allocation of £9.8m to fund these schemes. Since the GLTB was established the way transport funding for local major schemes was allocated has fundamentally changed.

Funding for local major schemes, including the GLTB funding, is now allocated to the LEP through Gloucestershire’s Local Growth Deal. The six District Councils, together with Gloucestershire County Council (GCC), have also established a statutory joint committee to provide local democratic oversight of the Local Growth Deal funding, the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee (GEGJC). The GLTB role up to now has therefore been to make recommendations to the LEP Board with regard to the £9.8m of transport infrastructure funding the GLTB was allocated to oversee. This role came to an end on the 31st March 2016, at which point these schemes were handed over to the LEP Board, who will be responsible for all decisions regarding the funding of the legacy GLTB schemes from that point onwards.

Click here for further information on the Growth Deal.

Successful town centres and developing effective strategies is at the heart of a unique and innovative toolkit designed to breathe fresh life into the UK’s town centres and high streets.

The toolkit is a result of the work of GFirst’s Retail Sector Group with the Association of Town & City Management (ATCM)and other partners, supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Find out more here.

Developing a highly skilled, economically productive and highly employable population in Gloucestershire is central to the Strategic Economic Plan that we submitted to Government earlier this year.

Local manufacturing and engineering firms have told us skills shortages are a genuine barrier to growth, a message that resonates nationally too with a UK-wide challenge to encourage school children to pursue careers in the industry.  To help tackle the acute shortage of skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), we are working closely with local firms to inspire primary school pupils about STEM subjects, by getting them to take part in an exciting challenge to build and program a robot under the supervision of a local specialist manufacturing and engineering company.  Last year, our programme was so successful that nearly 4,000 pupils took part, smashing our initial target of 2,013. We’re now repeating the challenge again this year and schools and businesses are encouraged to take part by contacting katherine.johnson@gfutures.co.uk

Our STEM work doesn’t stop there. In partnership with the University of Gloucestershire, the LEP sector group representing Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing companies have also developed a specialised top-up Degree for Engineering, with the first cohort of students starting the course in September 2014.  The design and development of this programme has been strongly welcomed by engineering and manufacturing employers across the county.

And to ensure our engineering sector continues to thrive and to meet the growing demands in nuclear and renewable energy, a Gloucestershire centre of excellence in Renewable Energy, Engineering & Nuclear skills (GREEN) is planned at the decommissioned Berkeley power station to provide workforce development training and apprenticeship opportunities. Developing vital skills for STEM as well as specific engineering skills training from September 2015 for young people and apprentices, the plan includes a STEM conference centre and exhibition space to encourage more young people to enter STEM occupations and help create a new generation of entrepreneurs and engineers.

If you have a vested interest in STEM, you may be interested in these further resources:


Generating Genius - Education academic and social commentator Dr Tony Sewell founded Generating Genius in 2005. His vision was to work with high-achieving students from disadvantaged communities throughout their secondary school careers to help them acquire the skills they need to win places at top universities. Find out more here.

Fastershire is a multi-million pound initiative to secure private investment in a new fast broadband infrastructure for Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. It is managed by GFirst LEP, Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council and BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK).

The project aims to deliver higher broadband speeds to rural areas in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire that would not otherwise see improvements because of cost. A contract has been signed with BT and the rollout of the new network will be completed by the end of 2016.

The Local Environment and Economic Development (LEED) toolkit has been produced by the Defra network (the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Forestry Commission), working in partnership with several Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Local Authorities (LAs) and Local Nature Partnerships (LNPs).

The aim of the toolkit is to systematically consider the evidence relating to the local economy/environment relationship in order to reveal opportunities and threats and to consider appropriate responses to them.

The LEED toolkit offers an easy-to-use, technically robust, systematic and proportionate way of making sense of environmental information in relation to economic planning. The toolkit produces accessible, non-technical outputs that assist strategic economic decision making.

GFirst LEP and Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership worked closely together to consult and develop two reports on the links between the local economy and the local environment of Gloucestershire. The two reports that were developed can be found here and here

If you would like to understand more about the LEED toolkit and processes, further guidance is available here.

Over the past 2 years tourism has been managed by the two Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) in the area -  Cotswolds Tourism and Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tourism Association. GFirst LEP is fully supportive of the work of the two DMOs, and considers tourism an important sector for the county.  The tourism sector in Gloucestershire has £1.6 million of European funding (EAFRD) – more money than any other sector has received.  The DMOs are in a great position to lead on tourism at a local level, to manage the local visitor economy and promote the districts of Gloucestershire as a great place to visit.

Gloucestershire’s Economic Impact report has recently been published, showing positive statistics for the Gloucestershire’s economy. Within Gloucestershire, tourism related employment is currently at 8%, with over 25,000 individuals in employment within the sector, totaling £1billion of turnover by those businesses supported by tourism activity. Download the full Economic Impact Report here.

Click here to find out more about the work of the DMOs.

Click here to visit the Cotswolds Tourism website.

Click here to visit the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism website.