Agenda and draft minutes

Economic and Skills Development Partnership - Tuesday, 16 January 2018 8.30 am

Contact: Lizzie Rich  01344 352253

No. Item


Introductions and Membership


The Partnership thanked Julie Rowe and WWP The Key Group for hosting the meeting.


It was noted that the meeting clashed with a Chamber of Commerce meeting, and so many partnership members were unable to attend.


Bob Collis informed the Partnership that Ingrid Dunbar of Maxis and Stephen Chown of Bracknell Forest Council had both agreed to join the Infrastructure Sub-group.


Campbell Christie would be meeting the Financial Business Director at Wellington College to invite him to join the Employment and Skills Subgroup.


Action Points from Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 164 KB


The minutes of the last meeting held on 7 November 2017 were approved as a correct record.


Arising from the minutes, the following updates were noted:

  • There had not been any news from Nancy Lalor regarding Paul Thomas of News Quest supporting the ESDP photo competition.
  • The Council’s Local Plan would be progressing through the Council’s decision making process, and had been published on the day before the meeting Subject to Council approval, a 6 week consultation would be held from 8 February 2018 and the ESDP would be able to engage and make submission to the consultation.
  • Bob Collis was due to meet with Anneken and Andrew to discuss plans for the ESDP Summit in March.
  • Anneken and Andrew had met with Vodafone to discuss a potential contact for the BID, however the contact had since left the organisation and her position was now vacant.


2 Year Plan update


The Partnership discussed the 2 year plan.


It was agreed that the purpose of the plan should be to support the work of the Partnership rather than follow local authority activities. The Partnership’s businesses should lead on more projects and involve the Council as an advising partner rather than the co-ordinator.


It was suggested that the 2 year plan may work to the same timeframe as the Local Plan and economic policy, as the town centre was due to see more change in the coming years.


With regard to progress against the plan actions, it was noted that most actions had been either been completed or were progressing positively.


The Partnership agreed to discuss the plan and its focus at the summit meeting in March. 


ESDP Summit - March 2018


The Partnership discussed arrangements for the summit meeting in March 2018, although the date was still to be confirmed.


It was agreed that businesses preferred the ‘breakfast’ slot, so that attendees could go on to work afterwards.


Partners suggested inviting a keynote speaker, and holding the event at a local ‘venue of interest’ to attract businesses. 


Sub-group Updates pdf icon PDF 332 KB

Additional documents:


Infrastructure Sub-group

Bob Collis presented the Infrastructure Sub-group work stream update.


The possibility of undertaking a business survey would be discussed at the ESDP summit, as there were no plans to undertake a Council business survey.


Key updates included:

  • Submitting a response to South Western Railways’ December 2018 Timetable Consultation to ask for no reduction to the Martins Heron service.
  • Discussing the future of broadband technology and ‘Full Fibre’ in Bracknell Forest.
  • Discussing flexible working at Bracknell businesses.
  • Discussing housing to support business needs.


Employment & Skills Sub-group

James Taylor presented the Employment and Skills Sub-group work stream update.


Key updates included:

  • Encouraging apprentices to join Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). SMEs were reluctant to take apprentices due to the amount of off-the-job training there was.
  • The government plans for T Levels which required 45 days of work experience, which were expected to be problematic.
  • Bracknell and Wokingham College were holding an apprenticeship event on 7 March 2018
  • The Mayor was holding a Business Forum on Apprenticeships on 23 February 2018 from 9:30am – 12:30pm, and all were invited to attend.


BID update


Anneken Priesack informed the Partnership that the BID Steering Group was due to meet on 1 February 2018, at which an update would be given.


Proposed ESDP Photography Competition


Bob Collis updated the Partnership on the proposed ESDP Photography Competition.


It had been agreed that the photo competition would join with the existing competition run by the Council’s Parks and Countryside team. Stephen Chown, Head of Parks and Countryside at Bracknell Forest Council had joined the Infrastructure Sub-group who would lead on this.


The scope of the competition had been expanded to consider the relationship between built and rural environments in the Borough, and the title would be ‘Bracknell Forest: A great place to grow’.


Five prizes would be given, including an ESDP prize winner and student prize winner. Prizes would be sought from business sponsors.


Anneken Priesack noted that she had met with The Lexicon who were reluctant to allow professional photographers with kit to arrive in the town centre, but it was suggested that a courtesy email from all photographers wishing to capture the buildings would help this.


Bracknell Photography Club had already approached The Lexicon for sponsorship support and presentation space, however it was hoped that some collaboration could be found.




LEP Update


James Taylor updated the Partnership on the work of the LEP, on behalf of Campbell Christie.


The 2018 Skills Priority Statement was due to be released shortly.


The LEP had submitted a bid for an Institute of Technology and were waiting for a Government response. However, business demand for this facility was not yet evidenced.


A Careers Cluster Network Working Group was being established for the Thames Valley. London and Cornwall had done this in the past, to match skill sets with ideas.


It was noted that Ofsted now had the remit to assess the careers advice given by every education provider.


Any Other Business


James Taylor updated the Partnership on the merger between Activate Learning Group and Bracknell and Wokingham College, which was planned for August 2018 and would begin influencing the curriculum in 2019/20. It was hoped that the merge would offer opportunities across a wider range of providers. A consultation document would be released at the beginning of February 2018. Partners were reassured that BWC’s e focus on the locality would remain.


Update from the Mayor


The Mayor reminded Partners of her Business Forum on 23 February 2018.


The Mayor also asked the Partnership whether she may join the ESDP following the end of her Mayoral year.


Dates of Future Meetings


8.30am, 6 March 2018, Capitol Building.