Coventry wins city deal for engineering investment

By Matthew Bates Tuesday 19 February 2013 Updated: 20/02 16:34

CREATING highly skilled engineers is the aim behind a new government scheme introduced to Coventry and Warwickshire.

The region was announced as one of 20 given new powers under the city deal scheme this week.

Business figures described the news as an economic milestone and said it would help create 30,000 jobs by 2020.

City deals give local authorities more powers to spend budgets in a bid to increase growth. Eight other major UK cities were granted those powers last year.

The region's bid focused around strengthening skill levels in the manufacturing and engineering workforce and encouraging innovation in the sector.

Sir Peter Rigby, chair of the region's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), spearheaded the bid with support of councils.

"I feel the LEP has gained real momentum in recent months and this is a very notable success," he said.

"We now want to turn those plans into reality with the same unified approach which has brought us this Government approval."

Among the plans are providing 5,000 new engineers over the next two years and eliminating an engineering skills shortage by 2020, encouraging one-in-four top local firms to invest in research and development and raising the proportion of workforce employed in key sectors by a quarter.

City council leader John Mutton added: "This is great news and the hard work starts now.

"We must grasp this opportunity to make a real difference to economic activity across the sub-region and we are pleased that the Government has shown faith in our City Deal as we make this become a reality."

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