Better Evidence… Better Funding Bids event roundup

The Observatory and Regional Action West Midlands jointly organised Better Evidence… Better Funding Bids, an event held in Birmingham on 19th March.

The aim of the event was to highlight the importance of evidence in funding applications. 50 delegates from a range of voluntary and public sector organisations attended the day.

This post rounds up videos, presentation slides, links and reaction to the event.

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Evidencing third sector funding bids

This is a guest post by Sian McClure, Information & Communications Manager at Regional Action West Midlands.

Regional Action West Midlands was pleased to be involved in hosting the Better Evidence… Better Funding Bids event with the West Midlands Regional Observatory last Friday.

As well as including a great group of delegates, the event meant we could promote our recent research to some new faces. We’ve published some important research over the last 12 months, which includes The economic footprint of the voluntary and community sector in the West Midlands, and a series of briefings on the impact of the recession on the sector.

Securing funding is a perennial issue for the third sector, and forthcoming public sector cuts will only make it more difficult. This makes the use of relevant, timely and appropriate evidence critical to funding applications.

As Manisha Patel and Laura Moore from the Big Lottery Fund, and Pete Cunnison from Lloyds TSB Foundation were clear, evidence needs to match the funders’ priorities. Right now, being clear about funders’ priorities and having the evidence to show how and why your organisation can meet them is more important than ever. In other words, none of us can afford to ‘wing it.’

After Easter, Regional Action West Midlands will publish a seventh briefing under the banner ‘Responding to the Downturn’, which will provide some of this much-needed clarity to third sector organisations.

For more information about Regional Action West Midlands and the work we do to support the third sector in the West Midlands visit www.rawm.org.uk or email sianm [at] rawm.co.uk.

Supporting researchers in the West Midlands

On 19th January 2010, the Local Authorities Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA) and the West Midlands Regional Observatory held a workshop session for local authority researchers in the region.

Around 30 researchers from councils across the West Midlands attended to discuss the new and emerging challenges facing us as researchers, to hear more about the support networks that exist to help us do our jobs better – at national, regional and local level – and to identify some positive actions where support networks could better help the local research community.

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2009 Skills Assessment and regional skills policy

The productivity gap in the West Midlands regional economy appears to be widening, despite a narrowing skills gap.

This was one of the key issues arising at a dissemination event for the Observatory’s Regional Skills Assessment held last Friday at the Observatory.

A range of attendees, including higher education representatives and policy officers from organisations including Advantage West Midlands, Sector Skills Councils, the City Region Partnership and Jobcentre Plus, discussed the implications of the Regional Skills Assessment on policy in the West Midlands.

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2009 Skills Assessment for local organisations and their sub-regions

Improving connections between local and regional evidence and policy will be crucial to the success of the forthcoming Regional Skills Strategy.

This was one message from delegates at yesterday’s dissemination event for the Observatory’s Regional Skills Assessment 2009.

A mix of Local Authority officers, higher education representatives and policy officers investigated how the extensive research undertaken by the Observatory can be used by local authorities and other organisations to plan major pieces of work such as Local Economic Assessments.

As the Skills Assessment will also inform work at regional level, including the forthcoming Regional Skills Strategy and Strategy for the West Midlands, the research can help forge links between the local and regional tiers of strategy and policy making.

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Environmental technologies skills in the West Midlands seminar roundup

Two workers install solar panels on a red roof

The Observatory held an event on 20th January 2010 to present findings from their environmental technologies skills review, which determined:

  • The relative importance of these industries to the regional economy and the profile of the workforce by gender, ethnicity, age and qualification attainment
  • Key developments in the sector, potential market opportunities and drivers of skills change
  • Current and potential labour and skill needs and any gaps and shortages
  • Investment in training and up-skilling by employers
  • The use of publicly funded, private sector and internally run training and any gaps or weaknesses in provision
  • Recommendations and actions to address any issues identified

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Seminars on the 2009 Regional Skills Assessment and the new Regional Skills Strategy

Person wiring cables at Stourbridge CollegeThe Government has published Skills for Growth, a new National Skills Strategy.

This highlights the fact that skilled people are one of the building blocks of successful businesses. Skilled workers can carry out more complex tasks, work more effectively and produce higher value products and services.

They are also better at adapting to changing working environments, enabling firms to respond better to changing global competition and technology. This tends to be particularly effective when businesses use these skills in combination with investment in innovation and technology.

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