New research on economic inclusion in the West Midlands

Cover of economic inclusion baseline reportThe Observatory’s Economic Inclusion team has published a Baseline Report on Economic Inclusion (PDF, 2.16MB) pulling together regional analysis of key issues relating to worklessness, unemployment and economic inclusion in the West  Midlands.

This is the first comprehensive review of these key issues at regional level and the analysis enables consideration of the scale and distribution of worklessness problem within the region.

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Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands seek local improvement advisors

Improvement & Development Agency logoImprovement and Efficiency West Midlands are recruiting local improvement advisors to help advise and support Local Strategic Partnerships around the following specialisms:

  • Adult health and wellbeing
  • Financial management
  • Data sharing
  • Climate change and environmental leadership

Person specification and application forms are available from the Improvement and Development Agency.

Closing date: 5pm on 15 April 2009

Impact of the recession on environmental technologies sector

Wiring cables on building course at Stourbridge CollegeThe Observatory’s skills team is working on a skills review of the environmental technologies sector (such as renewable energy, pollution monitoring and waste management) on behalf of the Learning & Skills Council, Advantage West Midlands and local authorities in the West Midlands.

While we expect to publish in summer 2009, we can report now on emerging findings from our online survey (PDF, 295KB) relating to the impact of the recession for environmental technology firms.
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West Midlands rural areas hit particularly hard by recession

Aerial shot of rural WorcestershireThe Observatory’s Skills Team are working on an assessment of skills and labour market issues in the rural areas of the West Midlands on behalf of the Regional Skills Partnership and the Rural Affairs Forum.

While we expect to publish in April 2009, we can report now on emerging findings relating to the impact of the recession.

Rural areas of the West Midlands have out-performed the rest of the region in recent years in terms of business growth, new business formation and employment growth.

However, there remains a significant dependence on lower value added sectors and industries such as agriculture, manufacturing industries such as food and drink, construction, hotels and catering, and transport.

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Urban bird spotting

Birds on a wireThe OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) project in the West Midlands is currently out and about putting small coloured and metal rings around the left leg of 12 species of birds in Shire Country Park and Sutton Park. This is part of a wider study into the biodiversity of the region.

By finding out where these marked birds are being seen they can answer questions such as:

  1. How far are birds moving?
  2. Where are birds moving to in Birmingham?
  3. Which bird species are moving to and from other patches of Birmingham?
  4. Do birds in parks utilise garden food resources or remain in parks?

 If you see a ringed bird, let OPAL know by submitting a record.

Impact of economic downturn on Herefordshire

Herefordshire PartnershipJust over a week ago, the Herefordshire Information and Research Network held a seminar on the effect of the current economic downturn on Herefordshire.

Presenters at the seminar included Gill Swaithes of Herefordshire Council’s Research Team and Phil Vallely from JobCentre Plus.

For those not at the seminar, the presentations are available from Herefordshire’s website. The presentations provide a useful insight into how the developing downturn is impacting employment, housing, tourism and crime.

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Last chance to register for innovation workshop

There are just two days left to register for the Observatory’s workshop From recession to growth – the importance of innovation in a changing economy.

The full day workshop will be held in the Technology Innovation Centre at Birmingham City University, on 19th March 2009.

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