Has Liam Byrne got it right?

Liam Byrne MP

Today in his “One year on” speech, the regional minister Liam Byrne returned to his theme of increasing the number of graduates produced by the West Midlands.

What evidence there is that the planned increase in graduate supply is matched by demand for them from employers is one of the issues that will be explored in the graduate research work about to be published by the Observatory.

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Threat to rural industries highlighted by Lantra

Tom Scotney of the Birmingham Post has highlighted a report by Lantra, the environmental and land-based sector skills council, that warns how rural businesses are being threatened by a lack of migrant workers and fewer younger people moving into the rural sector.

Lantra warns that the rural economies of counties such as Herefordshire and Worcestershire have relied on migrant workers to fill jobs such as fruit picking, but that changing conditions in Europe mean that the region can no longer rely on migrant labour. This, coupled with an aging indigenous rural workforce, has led Lantra to embark on a campaign to encourage young people to consider a career in the rural sector.

Tom’s full article, Lack of migrant workers is real threat to rural industries, is available on the Birmingham Post website.

Crime mapping in the news

There have been a number of articles on the subject of crime mapping published in the Guardian’s Free our data blog over the last few weeks following Boris Johnson’s pledge to introduce crime mapping in London as part of his mayoral campaign.

The articles discuss the arguments for and against crime mapping and a couple look at the experience of the crime mapping in Chicago.

Here are links to some of those articles:

In our region, West Midlands police are already making crime maps publicly accessible through www.myneighbourhood.info, and the government appears set to make such maps available across England and Wales according to a recent BBC news article, Online maps to show local crime.

Sandwell… I know it so well!

Sculpture in West BromwichOur regional resource catalogue has grown rapidly during the past twelve months and it now provides fully searchable access to over 2500 datasets, reports, web sites and other intelligence available. It’s one of the – if not the – most comprehensive catalogues of West Midlands data and intelligence available.

With coverage growing all the time, we are improving the content of the database all of the time. One of our more recent additions is the Research Sandwell website which is a ‘must-visit’ for anyone looking for data and intelligence on the Sandwell area. Continue reading