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Do you want to know more about WMCA support for skills?

I continue to be heartened by the interest members demonstrate in all matters relating to skills. Many of you have been in touch with me about skills needs since I first wrote about this last November.

This month, during National Apprenticeship Week, WMCA presented at our Topical Tuesday about its new policy for supporting the uptake of apprenticeships as one approach among many for helping employers meet their skills needs at Entry Level through to Level 4.

As well as a new, much more generous scheme for encouraging apprenticeships for the 19-29 age group, WMCA’s annual skills budget of £164M pays for:

  • Leadership and Management development;
  • Entry Level support jointly with DWP;
  • Bootcamps;
  • Retaining talent/upskilling; and
  • “Multiply” a numeracy skills course.

This month, the Government confirmed another £26.8M of funding for WMCA to run more bootcamps – 12 weeks of intensive training.

I have agreed to run a roundtable for HealthTech employers, with WMCA, on Tuesday morning 16th April at the Matthew Boulton Campus of BMET to unpack these supports and to hear from employers about their specific needs.

Interested in attending? If so, email me now at david@wmhtc.co.uk Allocation of the 30 places available will be on first come, first served basis, so do please get in touch with me as soon as you can.


The February Topical Tuesday featured David Gaughan, Head of Employer Services, and members of his WMCA Skills Team. We had an excellent presentation of all the supports available to employers from WMCA and it stimulated a very intense discussion. The level of interest was so great that the audience agreed that we should continue the engagement at a more detailed session at a later date. Hence, we are arranging an employers’ roundtable about skills on 16th April.

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Our March Topical Tuesday will celebrate International Womens Day, where we will focus on “Empowering Women in Health Tech”, Reena Sidhu, Commercial Enterprise Lead at Health Innovation West Midlands will be talking to us about the different programs they are running and the impact they being felt in the community.
Learn more and register here.

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The Innovative Health Working Group meeting held on 22nd February at Aston University’s new, state of the art Design Factory provided details of Aston’s innovative Students/Employers networking approach to solving businesses’ challenges. The networks are National and Global – we heard about work with Ford and MacDonalds, for example.

The next Innovative Heath Working Group meeting will be in April and will focus on issues around Air Quality, health impacts, and innovative technologies for protecting people from harmful effects. Details coming soon.

We are working with Loughborough University on a project called Interact that is engaging employers in an investigation of what technological changes between now and 2040 mean for businesses in terms of their decisions now on capital investment, skills training and leadership and management. We have helped arrange a roundtable on Wednesday 27th March at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Ansty Park. Health technologies businesses involved in manufacturing, or dependent on manufacturing for their products will find this roundtable incredibly helpful in their planning for future changes. This event is by invite only, if you are interested in attending fill out the form here to express interest.

We will be at the next Cancer Diagnostics Conference at University of Warwick on Monday 18th March 2024, 9.30am – 2.45pm, an in-person event only. This is the third annual diagnostics conference we have been involved in with Warwick and it will focus on cancer diagnostics. We will explore novel approaches to cancer diagnosis using various technologies such as liquid biopsies, imaging and digital pathology. Our regional strengths in these approaches will be showcased and we will consider how best to exploit these developments as we continue to build a world-leading diagnostics enterprise in the West Midlands. If you are interested in this event, it is free to attend but you must attend in person – you must register here.

Medilink Midlands Business Awards 2024
The Medilink Midlands Business awards are a spectacular showcase of the very best collaborations between industry, academia, and the NHS across the Midlands. The awards will see life science companies across the Midlands receive awards from Start-Up to Outstanding Achievement, plus new for 2024, we are introducing a Sustainability Award. 2024 will also mark the celebration of 20 years of Medilink Midlands. The awards are a fantastic opportunity for our sector to come together to celebrate the achievements of the life science companies in our magnificent region. 

Applications are now open, click on the Applications tab to find out more.
Winners are automatically entered in to the Medilink UK National Awards, which will take place later on 11 July in London.*
*note, the Sustainability Award and One to Watch winners are not submitted to the National Awards. Find out more here


My update on HealthTech land availability

Since I reported to you last December about my work with landowners, developers and property managers, I have produced a final report on HealthTech land availability and got all-round agreement to the report’s recommendations.

One recommendation was for the formation of an industry-led forum to be set up to continue to monitor the HealthTech land situation and to alert stakeholders to opportunities and threats early enough for something to be done to address them effectively.

I am convening the first meeting of this new forum on Monday 15th April. Let me know if you want to know more about the forum or if you want to suggest a subject for consideration by the forum. I will keep you posted on the forum’s activities (I am providing the secretariat for the forum).

Strategy roundtable follow up

I circulated the draft “Roadmap” to stakeholders, received feedback and made changes. Now I plan to circulate the Roadmap – comprising a Vision Statement and five specific Missions – to all stakeholders with a view to attracting mass sing-up. Those who support the Roadmap will be evident when we publish the Roadmap on our website this Spring alongside the logos of all the supporters.

The next stage afterwards will be for me to develop, with all stakeholders, a more detailed, and comprehensive, “Narrative” for our HealthTech sector, something we can all use when we engage with potential funders, investors and business newcomers.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to know more about this work.

Tech Review WM 2024

Tech WM continues to go from strength to strenght under the impressive ledership of Yiannis Maos as CEO and Martin Ward, its Tech Commissioner. Just at Birmingham Tech Week is always a roaring success in October each year, so too is the Annual Tech Review event, held in the Spring.

This is advance notice that this year’s Tech Review will be held in Wolverhampton on Wednesday 24th April. Watch for details on Tech WM’s website and I will keep you posted in my next e-bulletin.


Calling all exporters and would-be exporters

The UK Government’s Department for Business and Trade, supported by Insider Media, is hosting the Made in the Midlands, Sold to the World Exporter Roadshow, showcasing how you too can start exporting, or build on your existing international presence.

The roadshow will be at Sopwith Building, the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry on Thursday 14 March, 9:00am – 2:00pm.

At this event you’ll hear from businesses that have achieved major growth through successful international sales strategies. Expert demonstrations will show how your business can find opportunities to sell internationally, so you leave with inspiration to drive your export strategy.

The Keynote Address will be delivered by Lord Offord of Garvel, the Minister for Exports, Department for Business and Trade.

To register please go to DBT Midlands’ website.

Rosalind Franklin Laboratory, Leamington Spa

The Rosalind Franklin Laboratory in Leamington Spa closed in January last year having processed about 8.5 million Covid-19 tests during the pandemic. Now the mothballed coronavirus mega lab has appeared for sale on Rightmove.

I have given evidence to the Science, Innovation and Technology Select Committee, written to the CEO of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and contacted the local MP. If anyone else has information about what is going on, or suggestions for uses of RFL, please email me at david@wmhtc.co.uk

RFL really should be a key anchor organisation for our regional HealthTech sector and we must try all we can to maximise its value to our eco system.

Midlands Engine Investment Fund II (MEIF II)

A £400m investment fund to support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses across the Midlands is on course to be launched in February 2024. The fund allocation for Midlands Engine Investment Fund II (MEIF II) is being delivered by the British Business Bank, bringing the total for investment in the region to over £700m since 2017. Read more here.


One Health Initiative

The One Health concept is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment. The synergism achieved will advance health care for the 21st century and beyond by accelerating biomedical research discoveries, enhancing public health efficacy, expeditiously expanding the scientific knowledge base, and improving medical education and clinical care. When properly implemented, it will help protect and save untold millions of lives in our present and future generations.

It has a heavy US influence – see the website here – but you can help to understand if there are any applications for your business by contacting our own UK Export Academy

National Manufacturing Day 26 September 2024

National Manufacturing Day will this year take place on Thursday the 26th September – a chance for Britain’s manufacturers to open their doors and showcase the amazing job opportunities available in our sector. Last year, the second National Manufacturing Day, saw hundreds of companies around the whole of the UK celebrate the things Britain makes and gave people of all ages the chance to experience the sector firsthand.

National Manufacturing Day is a chance for UK manufacturers to give their local community, schools and colleges behind the scenes access to a sector of global importance that plays a pivotal role in the economic life of local communities across the UK. The day itself will be a national celebration of UK manufacturing and a chance to raise the profile of the sector.  

Find out more here.

End of 2023-24 Tax Year

Just a reminder that the current tax year will end shortly and it is worth individuals checking your financial health against the tax allowances available in the current year.

The capital gains tax allowance is falling from £6,000 to £3,000 in the 2024-25 tax year, so you may wish to consider realising a capital gain if you haven’t yet used your annual allowance. You may also consider making any ISA contributions or Inheritance Tax annual gifts (of up to £3,000 per year) before the end of the tax year. There are a tax efficient way to top up your retirement fund, for example, do you have sufficient funds to pay in a lump sum and be able to claim the tax relief? Pension contributions save Corporation Tax if paid from your limited company, or income tax if paid personally.

Spotlight on

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The Binding Site – Under new ownership

You may recall that the multinational Thermo Fisher bought The Binding Site last year for $2M. So how is our region’s biggest diagnostics company faring under its new owners as part of Thermo Fisher Scientific?

Reassuringly, Thermo Fisher has taken time to embed its culture so that no great disruption was experienced in its first year. It is evident that Thermo Fisher has confidence in its new acquisition because there is new investment going in. After reviewing options for growing the manufacturing side of the business, Thermo Fisher decided to develop additional manufacturing capacity at the Broadway property on Fiveways Island, just across the road from the current Calthorpe Road premises.  

I am pleased to report that the Cluster has a constructive relationship with the new owners and I hope to arrange a members’ meeting at their premises in due course. I am certainly getting good vibes about The Binding Site playing a significant role as an anchor organisation in our HealthTech eco system.

I hope you enjoy reading my e-bulletin. Feel free to contact me personally with your feedback and suggestions for future activities at david@wmhtc.co.uk


Executive Chair.

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