'Investment in the Workforce' was one the key messages of Wolverhampton Business Week - and in response to that the city's businesses have expressed a desire to forge stronger links with schools.

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It follows on the back of Professor Tony Travers delivering the findings of the independent Skills and Employment Commission at Thursday's flagship Business Breakfast event - attended by around 200 people.

The City Board, which comprises the council, leading business figures, the third sector and key public sector organisations, is now in the process of putting together an Action Plan to act on the findings.

One of the panelists at the breakfast, at GTG Training Academy, was Wiggle Operations Director Nicholas Pink.

He highlighted how important the City of Wolverhampton Council and its partners have been in delivering the company an initial 150 strong workforce containing 80% of employees from Wolverhampton.

He said: "We want to get local people not in work back into work and we want to improve the local area and invest in it.

"We worked with the council, Black Country Chamber of Commerce, University of Wolverhampton and City of Wolverhampton College to help with our recruitment and had more than 1,700 applicants for 150 jobs, which is brilliant."

Earlier in the week key figures gathered at Molineux Football Stadium for the Developers Conference, with the 'Investing in the City' mantra at the fore.

Artist's impressions gave developers first sight of what the City of Wolverhampton Council's ambitious regeneration plans for Westside could look like.

And Strategic Director: Place Tim Johnson updated delegates on the wealth of city centre regeneration projects underway or in the pipeline, amounting to £868.6 million of investment.

Keynote speakers Liam Wordley, Developer of the former Sunbeam Factory, and Henry Gun-Why, University of Wolverhampton Director of Estates and Facilities, spoke about the merits of developing in Wolverhampton.

Wordley said: "The strategy for the city is really solid now so if you have a scheme, building or property, whether it be land or an existing building, you'll soon find out where that fits within the greater scheme - and then get involved and get on board."

Gun-Why added: "It's important for the university to show commitment and leadership, to communicate what it is trying to do, and articulate its vision, pride and ambition - and how it wants to play a part as an anchor for regeneration in the city."

The Arts and Business Reception at Wolverhampton Art Gallery opened up a new world to the business community.

They were able to view the conferencing and meeting facilities available to them at the Lichfield Street venue and learn about how they can loan pieces of art to enhance their businesses.

Sir Nicholas Mander of the eminent Wolverhampton business family was also in attendance to officially unveil the much loved Hepworth sculpture 'Rock Form' on its return to the city.

The 'Investing in Business' message was at the heart of the mid week 'Meet the Buyer' event at Molineux Football Stadium.

It proved a big pull with around 250 suppliers interfacing with some of the city's biggest buyers.

Business Week was wrapped up by the city's biggest ever Jobs Fair as the focus returned to 'Investing in the Workforce'.

Around 1,000 jobs were up for grabs from more than 50 exhibitors at the Molineux Football Stadium event.

Commenting on the Jobs Fair and Business Week overall, Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "Getting people back into work and developing their skills is crucial to the growth of Wolverhampton.

"It was great to see the hundreds of job seekers getting help and advice from the many employers at the Jobs Fair.

"Business Week has clearly shown there is a strong will from businesses to pull together with the city workforce.

"The overriding message is: Wolverhampton is 'Making it Happen'.

  • released: Friday 2 October, 2015