Multi-million pound project aims to help 1,500 people into work

Thursday 23rd January 2014 12:00 am

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WEST Devon is set to benefit from the historic City Deal for Plymouth and the South West Peninsula which could see £296-million pumped into the region over the next 15 years.

 Through the deal, approved by the Cabinet Office, local businesses in the district will benefit from extra support and young people from the South Hams will be helped along the path from learner to earner.

 The flagship proposal of the deal seeks to unlock land at South Yard in Devonport for a marine industries production campus allowing the region to play to its strengths in the field of marine technology and research.

 West Devon Borough Council leader Cllr Philip Sanders was among a host of partners who signed the historic deal on Friday, January 17 at Princess Yachts in South Yard.

 He said: 'City Deal is great news for the whole region and this much-needed investment comes at just the right time.

 'Businesses in West Devon will be able to benefit from funding and support aimed at helping them develop and grow.

 'Our young people will be able to get help and support in finding a job, particularly where they have been unemployed for six months or more.

 'West Devon also has much expertise which could be used to help support and supply the exciting project at South Yard.

 'I look forward to seeing how City Deal will play a role in transforming the fortunes of our region over the next 15 years.' 

 Tavistock and Okehampton are also included in the City Deal as areas where employment sites are available for businesses able to supply the marine industry without having to be right next to the waterfront.

 However, City Deal could benefit other development sites in the borough, as well as many businesses through the provision of business support and help for young people to access future job opportunities.

City Deal's three main proposals are Devonport's South West Yard, a substantial business support package and investing in the skills of the next generation.

Plymouth City Council and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise are to begin detailed discussions with the Ministry of Defence over potentially releasing land at South Yard.

This could provide a prime location for the marine industry due to its close proximity to other companies in the sector and has access to deep water which is needed for marine research, development, and testing.

 In return, the peninsula partners will fund the development and infrastructure needed to clear the way for up to £60-million of private sector investment.

Business growth support will be supercharged to the tune of £24-million of private and public sector money to help existing businesses flourish here as well as attract new investors.

There will be an array of practical initiatives which fill recognised gaps of support for the area's 25,000 businesses to ensure their products and services reach the right markets, that companies maximise export opportunities and enjoy tailored support.

The project aims to help 1,500 young people into work, thanks to a package of initiatives which aim to give the next generation skills.   

The deal will see the biggest wage progression project in the country with career coaches and intensive support for young people to graduate from learner to earner, tackling the region's higher than average percentage of young unemployed.

The Plymouth and Peninsula City Deal is supported by a wealth of agencies including West Devon Borough Council, Plymouth City Council, Plymouth University and Princess Yachts and Plymouth Marine Laboratories.

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