Labour Market Bulletin


Welcome to the fourth Quarterly Labour Market Report

Welcome to the fourth Quarterly Labour Market Report from Warwickshire Means Business – part of our commitment to keep you fully updated on the very latest Labour Market trends in the county.

This report combines a wide range of data sources to illustrate Warwickshire’s labour market trends up to the latest quarter. The Quarterly Labour Market Report gives insights and analysis into employment and unemployment, economic activity and inactivity and real-time demand in the current labour market (based on advertised job vacancies). The information presented is available at district/borough level as well as for the sub-region and the wider West Midlands area.

All labour market research is collected and released every January, April, July and October and we will be bringing it to you here as soon as we have it to keep you right up to speed with everything you need to know about employment trends in Warwickshire. We will also include any relevant business headlines associated with inward investment and additional data indicators, depending on availability.

New to this issue is a special article in which we explore how Warwickshire’s spatial labour market is working together to achieve sustainable growth. We hope you find this information useful as you plan for your business for the rest of 2017 and beyond. Our next Quarterly Labour Market Report will be published here in January.

Natalie Maposa, Economy and Skills Group, Transport and Economy Business Unit

QLM Summary


The latest data released from Q3 shows that Warwickshire’s labour market continues to thrive, which is great news for businesses and residents alike. The employment rate is shifting positively upwards, consistently outperforming regional and national averages. Data suggests that this trend is being fuelled by strong job demand amongst businesses with a higher-than average share of jobs advertised in need of high-skilled occupations.

On the supply-side, the high employment rate has contributed to a growing labour force participation rate which implies that the labour supply available locally is increasing. About eight in ten working-age residents in Warwickshire are economically active which, if the trend continues, will lead to resilient growth, living standards and wellbeing. As more of the population are re-entering the labour market for work, the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants also continues to fall.

With opportunities in the labour market, also arise some potential threats. Data suggests that full-time employment is falling in unison with a rise in temporary jobs advertised and there are emerging skill shortages in lower-skilled occupations. However, short-term labour markets shifts are common and will be compared against longer-term trends throughout the report.

The following summarises Warwickshire’s key labour market indicators.

Table 1 v 2

Labour market variations in Q3:

  • 7% increase in the employment rate
  • 22% growth in job vacancies, equivalent to increase of 8,044 advertised jobs from the previous quarter
  • Number of JSA claimants continues to fall quarter-on-quarter (-4%)
  • 4% rise in the labour participation rate

Labour participation is measured by the proportion of the working-age population who are economically active. This includes both the employed and unemployed as both groups actively engage in the labour market.

Latest annual data releases:

  • Over 285,000 people in employment in Warwickshire. 3% employment growth during 2015-16, exceeding regional and national averages (+10,400 jobs filled)
  • More than 27,000 businesses registered in Warwickshire this year. 3% increase in business activity from the last year, falling slightly short of regional and national averages (+900 new businesses)

Labour Demand


Table 2 v 2 Employment

Source: Annual Population Survey (APS)

Warwickshire’s working-age employment rate currently stands at 78.7%, an increase of 1.7% from the previous quarter. The employment rate in terms of its size and growth has historically surpassed both regional and national levels and continues to indicate a strong local labour market. A growth rate six times faster than the national average is mainly driven by high employment growth in Nuneaton & Bedworth where the proportion of working-age residents has increased by 8.4% over the last year. In addition, more than 80% of working-age residents are employed in North Warwickshire (85%), Rugby and Stratford-on-Avon. As highlighted in the previous issue, Warwickshire is currently fluctuating around its full employment position. This is defined as a position in the economy, where all available labour is fully utilised and in work i.e. zero cyclical unemployment.

What is driving a high employment rate in Warwickshire?

Figure 1: Full-time employment over time (2011-17)


employment graph

Figure 2: Part-time employment over time (2011-17)

graph 2 employment

Source: APS

Figures 1 and 2 highlight Warwickshire’s changes in full-time and part-time employment relative to the national average over the last five years. Both graphs show that Warwickshire’s full-time employment rate has generally accelerated at a faster rate (3%) compared to part-time employment, particularly during 2014-16. In contrast, England only saw marginal growth averaging 1% over the same period. With more than 80% of Warwickshire’s working age population in full-time employment last year, the latest data highlights that the proportion of full-time employment has shrunk whilst part-time employment has risen considerably for the first time in three years. North Warwickshire and Warwick particularly saw the largest growth in part-time employment over the last year, of 9.7% and 4.1% respectively.

An upward shift in part-time employment may be a short-term movement but it can signal different trends. On the demand-side, it can represent strong service-orientated industrial activity with key industries such as accommodation and food typically having a higher-than-average part-time share. Alternatively, firms may be utilising the labour market to employ workers flexibly so they can respond to cyclical threats most effectively. The recent uncertainty around hiring workers full-time could be loosely linked to the Brexit outcome last year. However, in the long term, a rise in flexible, part-time contracts is a contributory factor towards wage stagnation and the productivity puzzle.

On the supply-side, growth in part-time employment may also reflect demographic change, with part-time employment traditionally linked to the under 25s, older workers and female participation. Increases in higher education participation, retirement postponement or childcare responsibilities amongst the population can impact the nature of the employment rate, where part-time prospects may act as an ideal alternative to working full-time. Future changes in the part-time employment rate will be monitored in subsequent quarters of the Labour Market Bulletin.

Job Market Demand

1. Occupation change

Figure 3: Occupation structure of jobs advertised (Q3 July-September 2017)

Table 1 Job Demand

Figure 4: Advertised occupation change by skill level (Q2-Q3)

table 2 job demand

Source: Labour Insight – Level 1: NVQ 1+, Level 2: NVQ 2+, Level 3: NVQ 3+, Level 4: NVQ 4+ qualifications and/or equivalent

Figure 3 illustrates that in this quarter, two thirds (67%) of job vacancies advertised in Warwickshire were for higher-skilled occupations compared to a third for lower-skilled occupations. This is mirrored at the West Midlands region level, although there are slightly more higher-skilled occupations in demand nationwide. Within Warwickshire, just over half (51%) of North Warwickshire’s job vacancies are for lower-skilled occupations due to the high demand for machine operatives and administration/clerical workers. In contrast, Warwick’s occupational demand is very reflective of countywide trends with a large proportion of its vacancies in need of professional occupations.

The quarter-on-quarter changes in occupational demand highlighted in Figure 4 shows that, despite a healthy stock of high-value jobs available locally, the drivers of demand are changing in the short term. Warwickshire has seen a greater upswing in jobs advertising lower-skilled occupations compared to high-skilled occupations. Rugby and Warwick in particular saw only positive growth in level 1 and 2 occupations from the last quarter as a result of a greater demand for elementary workers. On the other hand, a steady contraction in high-skilled occupations is taking place quarterly and annually. A 1.4% drop in demand for level 4 occupations is driven mostly by a declining job share in professional occupations, hitting Nuneaton & Bedworth and Rugby the hardest.

Why is demand for high-skilled occupations falling relative to lower-skilled occupations in the short term?

Growth in job vacancies by occupation is an indicator of employer demand and can help identify potential labour market shortages and surpluses. There are different factors underpinning this change. As the number of graduates continues to rise year on year, this can feed into a growing supply of high-skilled labour. This is good for the economy, but may indicate that there is an overspill of high-skilled workers available to match short-term demand. Nationally, the wage growth in high-skilled occupations has weakened over the last decade compared to low and middle-skilled occupations. This could be a consequence of a labour market surplus. If there are fewer high-skilled jobs available to match the supply of workers, graduates in particular may have to move down the “occupational ladder” to fill low and middle-skilled jobs that were traditionally “non-graduate roles.”

Alternatively, a shrinking demand share for high-skilled occupations may be driven by the extent of skill shortages facing employers. UKCES (UK Commission for Employment and Skills) results show that there is a lesser degree of skill shortage vacancies amongst managerial and professional occupations compared to skilled trades, machine operatives etc.

2. Demand changes by job type

Figure 5: Permanent vs temporary job demand (Q2-Q3)

JMD Graph V2

Source: Labour Insight – note that the graph shows the percentage change in job vacancies from Q2.

The quarterly changes in job demand by employment type are highlighted in Figure 5. Generally, there has been faster growth in temporary job vacancies relative to permanent in the short term. Warwickshire saw an increase of 25% in temporary job demand, doubling regional and national averages. This is driven by a sharp rise in temporary jobs in Warwick district (37% equating to an increase in over 200 jobs) and Nuneaton & Bedworth. Further analysis shows that the short-term temporary job growth experienced in these areas is fuelled by an upward shift in higher-skilled occupations. However, across Warwickshire a different trend emerges; lower-skilled occupations are contributing most to the rise in temporary job demand.

Why is there a short-term rise in temporary workers?

Temporary workers are typically associated with seasonal industry demands and business confidence. A short-term rise is not a major concern for Warwickshire’s labour market, as employers from certain industries can face increased demands over the summer months, although, over the last decade, there has been an increasing movement away from permanent employment towards temporary employment as the UK economy recovered from recession.

If the trend was to continue, this could hint that employer confidence in the strength of the economy is low, given Brexit uncertainty and business implications of the recent interest-rate rise. Alternatively, an increase in temporary jobs advertised may reflect the supply of labour available locally and their changes in preference. Jobs may be filled by younger workers who need flexibility, older workers who’d like to postpone retirement and those desiring to become self-employed. The advantages of flexible working and the ability to work independently contribute to the strength of the “gig economy.”

3. Current skills demand

Table 3 Top 5 skills

Source: Labour Insight

In terms of quarter growth, Warwickshire has seen a sharp increase in demand for knowledge-intensive skills, as represented in the table above. Over 7,000 new jobs advertised were in demand for business-related skills, followed by industry knowledge and Information Technology. Popular business-related skills include: Management; process and analysis; and strategy. The growth in IT skills (+3,000 jobs advertised) across Warwickshire bucks the nationwide trend of a fall in demand for these skills. Drilling down to district and borough level, the skill sets in demand by employers reflect prominent industries in each area. Rugby in particular saw the fastest growth in demand for supply chain and logistics whilst skill sets such as engineering, finance and business rank highly in each area.

Further analysis shows that in the last quarter Warwickshire had a higher than average concentration of job vacancies requiring the following skill sets: Customer and client support, legal and manufacturing, at least doubling the share of demand at national level.


Industry Performance

Figure 6: Business and employment share by industry in Warwickshire

Graph 1 Industry performance

Source: BRES 2016; ONS Business Count 2017

Figure 6 compares industry share in Warwickshire by the number of businesses registered and employees per sector. The latest data highlights a strong business base in professional, scientific and technical activities, equating to a share of one in every five businesses (22%). However, employment statistics show that this sector only contributes 8% to total employment, implying that there is a predominately high number of SMEs operating in this area of the economy. These businesses are typically characterised as self-employed consultants, linking back to the previous findings of a growth in high-skill temporary jobs advertised.

The wholesale and retail sector is an important industry to Warwickshire’s economy, in terms of its size. Business data shows that 13% of Warwickshire’s registered businesses are currently in this industry, but represent a greater share of employment (17%). The over-representation of employment is also found in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors and therefore concludes that there are fewer small businesses but a higher concentration of large employers in Warwickshire.

Table 4 Industry performance

Source: BRES 2015-2016; ONS Business Count 2016-2017

Table 4 identifies Warwickshire’s current growing and shrinking sectors. In terms of businesses, transportation and storage (9%) and administration and support services (8.5%) have seen the fastest growth in businesses registered over 2016-17, which could suggest a forthcoming increase in employer demand as firms will look to hire staff. Business growth is a healthy contributor to job growth and feeds demand. The more jobs available locally, the better the future take up of local workers and therefore the more self-contained the labour market will be. In contrast, the business base for wholesale and retail has slightly contracted since 2016 (-0.5%). There are now fewer employers compared to last year.

In terms of employment, healthcare (+22%) and accommodation & food (+10%) continued to drive Warwickshire’s upward shift in employment with considerable increases in jobs filled during 2015-16. However, declines in professional activities (-4%) and construction (-17%); suggest that a large proportion of smaller businesses are choosing to hold off on expanding their workforce.

Labour Supply

Labour Market Participation

Table 5 labour market participation

Source: APS

Economic activity is a measure of labour participation and remains an important driver for the future supply of labour available locally. Economic activity includes those of working-age that are both employed and unemployed. Table 5 summarises the latest changes in labour participation and shows that 81% of Warwickshire’s population is actively engaged in the labour market – comfortably exceeding regional and national averages of 76% and 78% respectively.

At district and borough level, North Warwickshire enjoys the highest economic activity rate of 86%, where the proportion of working-age population actively engaging in the labour market has grown by 6% from last year. In contrast, Nuneaton and Bedworth currently has the lowest rate of 77.6% but is picking up from a long-term post-recession drop in economic activity. The number of working-age residents who are economically active has increased nine times faster than the county-wide average and overtakes all other areas. This suggests that the labour supply is increasing overall, which is good news for the labour market if the demand is met.

Why is there a high labour market participation rate and what are the wider benefits?

A high labour market participation rate may be driven by demographic changes and/or job demand. High workplace earnings offered by employers to attract skilled workers may act as incentive to rejoin the workforce. Alternatively, economic inactivity rates are contributed mostly by changes in the proportion of full-time students, residents aged 65+ and females. Changing preferences towards childcare, higher education participation and retirement can also alter the labour participation rate.

The benefit of a high labour participation ratio is that there is a larger supply of labour available locally, benefiting businesses and the wider economy. The long-term unemployed (including out-of-work benefit claimants) who are encouraged back into work can help boost household incomes across the wealth distribution. This increases disposable incomes and overall fuels improvements in business revenues, living standards and economic wellbeing. A growing labour force participation rate is good for Warwickshire, given a rising ageing population; and reflects a highly skilled population.

JSA claimants

Figure 7: Changes in Jobseeker’s allowance(JSA) claimants over the last year (Sept 2016-Sept 2017)

Graph 1 JSA

Source: NOMIS

Jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) claimants can be a proxy for unemployment; although it is worth noting that because the sample size is small and not every person unemployed claims JSA, Figure 7 may not show the wider scope of unemployment.

Over the last year, Warwickshire has continued to see a decline in the number of JSA claimants; an 11% annual decrease and 4% drop over the last quarter. This parallels the trend seen at national level, where the proportion of claimants fell by 13%. Stratford-on-Avon similarly followed county and national shifts with a slightly bigger drop in claimants (16%). This generally suggests that more claimants are re-entering the workforce, which encourages a stronger and more efficient labour market if there are good quality jobs to be filled.

North Warwickshire and Rugby are the only areas in Warwickshire to see JSA claimants plunge by over 30%. Rugby currently has more than half the number of claimants compared to a year ago. In contrast, Warwick experienced a single gain in JSA claimants of 11%, although at this stage, it is uncertain whether the trend will continue over the medium term or whether it is a seasonal change. JSA claimant patterns will be monitored in the future and the drivers underpinning unemployment will be discussed in future issues of the Labour Market Bulletin.

Special Article

Examining Warwickshire’s north and south labour market: A cohesive future

It is no secret that a “north-south divide” exists in Warwickshire with historical underpinnings having driven the vast specialisation of traditional production industries in the north and growth in knowledge-intensive service industries in the south of the county. But recent trends show that Warwickshire’s economy is becoming increasingly inter-dependent, which is contributing to a robust and healthy labour market.

Table 6 labour market indicators

Note: Northern Warwickshire includes North Warwickshire, Nuneaton & Bedworth and Rugby. South Warwickshire includes Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick.

Table 6 brings together a range of different labour market indicators to assess whether there are stark differences in Northern Warwickshire’s labour market compared to South Warwickshire’s. Northern Warwickshire currently has a higher working-age employment rate of 79.8% with faster quarterly and annual growth of up to 4%. This represents an area of the labour market where there are improvements in economic slack, having seen the strongest growth over the last year.

In comparison, the employment rate in South Warwickshire is slowing down; where there are now fewer residents of working age employed compared to the previous year (-1.55%). These trends have resulted in the north of the county having a slightly higher labour force participation rate of 82.2% relative to 80.7%. The job demand in high-wage sectors (financial and insurance, manufacturing and IT services) is also increasing at a faster rate compared to the south. Job vacancies advertised from these sectors grew positively over the last year (2%) whilst South Warwickshire bucked the trend entirely (-2%), suggesting that employer demand in high-wage sectors is shrinking in the south of the county. As job demand continues to increase from high-wage sectors and the labour force participation rate rises over time, the quality of jobs advertised is improving.

We have emphasised the labour market strengths in Northern Warwickshire but what is happening in the south of the county? Job vacancy demand has accelerated at a faster rate (23% over the last year) which is the main indicator of employer demand. There are currently 51 job vacancies advertised per 1,000 population, doubling the concentration in the north. This suggests that there is high job demand amongst South Warwickshire’s population and that there are many employment opportunities available locally. To some extent, a considerable proportion of job vacancies may also be filled by commuters from the north if the supply of labour available to work continues to expand.

Moreover, employer demand is shifting towards higher skilled occupations (level 3 and 4) with professionals and skilled trades over-represented in job vacancies. A focus on job vacancy share instead of growth rates shows that about two-thirds of jobs advertised are higher-skilled jobs (65%) compared to lower-skilled over the last quarter. This indicates a strong upskilling in the economy and reinforces the significance but also threat of digitalisation in South Warwickshire’s labour market. What is important for the future, is whether higher-skilled advertised job growth picks up relative to lower-skilled growth

Alongside labour market strengths, there are important weaknesses to highlight for both areas which are interlinked. Northern Warwickshire has a higher than average employment rate which seems to be fuelled by increases in part-time and self-employment over the last year (2.2 and 4.1% respectively). Despite the greater flexibility, this implies that there are fewer job opportunities available to work full-time hours which has implications on future wages and productivity.  South Warwickshire has seen high employer demand for higher skilled occupations, but also a simultaneous rise in temporary jobs where there are currently 31 temporary jobs advertised per 10,000 people, doubling the north’s average. In addition, over a quarter (28%) of jobs advertised in the south were associated with STEM skills from Q3. However a rise in JSA claimants in the short term may loosely suggest there is a general labour supply shortage to satisfy employer demand. This to some extent poses a threat to sustainable growth.

So, is Warwickshire’s labour market becoming more cohesive? Based on labour market evidence, there are current strengths and weaknesses in both markets because the north and the south are very interlinked in terms of economic activity and the mobility of businesses and people. Data suggests, however, that the gap is narrowing, which means we are on the path towards sustainable growth in the long term.

There are many upcoming economic opportunities to help further close this gap in the future and Warwickshire County Council will ensure that the economic growth agenda for both the north and south of the region continues to be at the forefront of priorities.

Business Headlines

Business headlines...

The third Rural Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park near Kenilworth has opened, known as Chamberlain House.
The first phase was opened in September 2013 and due to continued demand it has now twice been extended by LaSalle Investment Management, as part of its on-going transformation of Stoneleigh Park.
An adjoining building was converted in 2016 to increase the high-quality serviced offices from 16 to 35. A separate two-storey building, which backs onto the original centre, has now been converted to take the total number to 45.
The original centre was opened in partnership with Warwickshire County Council, who successfully bid for funding on behalf of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership to support businesses and boost employment in rural areas through the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network.

The Wigley Group, a commercial property and construction company, has signed a new sponsorship deal with Warwick Racecourse.
The company has moved from sponsoring races at the Jockey Club course, to a deal which will see its name in the winning enclosure for the next three seasons. The company recently completed the creation of the Coronation Club for Premium members at the course which was built by Wigley Building and Development, the construction side of the business.
The company also announced recently that it would be moving its headquarters to Stockton, near Southam.

A delegation of key figures from the electric vehicle industry in China visited Coventry and Warwickshire to learn more about the EV (electric vehicle) opportunities and R&D supply chain in the UK.
China EV100, a forum of the leading Chinese EV companies were welcomed to the region by the Coventry
& Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the CWLEP Growth Hub, Invest in Coventry & Warwickshire and the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Around 30 representatives from the companies and organisations that make-up the body were given a tour of strategic locations in the automotive and electric vehicle sector across the area. They visited Horiba-MIRA, Geely-LEVC at Ansty Park, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) at the University of Warwick before finishing at the British Motor Museum.

Further investment has been made at tier 1 JLR and Toyota supplier Brose, based in Exhall. More than 30 new jobs have been created following the completion of its £10m paint plant.
Brose UK, which employs nearly 1,000 workers at its two factories in Exhall and Coventry, has signed off the installation of its e-coat line, giving it the capacity to paint more than 3.5m seat structures every year.

The first look of what a new driverless light rail service could look like in Coventry has been unveiled. Early vehicle concepts were presented by researchers from WMG at the University of Warwick. The project is being funded by the government's Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire LocalEnterprise Partnership and West Midlands Combined Authority Devolution Deal.
Project leaders have said the new state-of- the-art rail system, which will be designed and built in the UK, will be cheaper, quieter and more environmentally friendly than anything currently available.
The WMG very light rail project is seeking to to significantly reduce costs by developing a UK supply chain for the manufacturing of lightweight rail vehicles and tracks, enabling councils to install new community rail services and reduce congestion more easily.
These small rail vehicles will have the capability to operate autonomously without a driver which will reduce the operational costs and enable more frequent services for passengers, and combine lightweighting and EV technology carried over from the automotive sector.

The Japanese engineering and testing company HORIBA-MIRA, based in Nuneaton, began construction of its new global skills centre at its technology park, thanks to a £9.5m injection from the Leicester and Leicestershire LEP (LLEP) Growth Deal Fund.
The 24,500 sq ft MIRA Technology Institute (MTI) will be a collaboration between North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, Coventry University, Loughborough University, and the University of Leicester. The centre, which is set to open in September 2018, will help to create specialist skills in some of the new disruptive technology areas such as electrification and driverless car technologies, ensuring a sustainable supply of future technical specialists and engineers. Companies located on the 2msqft MIRA Technology Park campus will be able to access the skills support available from the centre.

An important sector for Coventry & Warwickshire received a significant boost after the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, together with Ukie, a trade body for games and interactive entertainment, announced a two-year programme to grow the games industry and wider digital creative sector in the region. The new programme will build on the success of the gaming and creative cluster in and around Leamington Spa, often referred to as ‘Silicon Spa’. It promises to deliver on many of the recommendations of the report - The Games Industry in Coventry and Warwickshire - a Blueprint for Growth;

Construction has been completed on the first building at Coventry's £700m business district by the city’s station, known as Friargate.
The 13-storey One Friargate will be home to 1,350 city council staff and 300 workers from the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Coventry University and German engineering company FEV Ltd have signed a £30m deal to build a clean transport lab in the city to rdevelop joint research on future powertrain.
The new applied low-carbon technology centre will open next to the recently-launched £7m National Transport Design Centre (NTDC).
Four powertrain test cells will allow researchers and engineers to test and improve performance and emissions on a range of different powertrain concepts, including hybridized, electric, conventional and alternative fuel propulsion systems.

Exhall based Arrowsmith Engineering, which manufactures aerospace components, has secured a $1m order from the US, with the help of funding from the Manufacturing Growth Programme.
The company employs 60 staff at its recently-extended facility in Bayton Road and the company expects to double annual sales to £7m by 2020.

Well Played Games is a new games development studio start-up that has been established at Pure Offices in Tachbrook Road by colleagues who were all previously at Exient in Leamington.
Adam Wells and Rich McClaughry have headed up the creation of the business made up of colleagues who were made redundant when Exient scaled back its UK operation after the Brexit vote.
The team has previously worked on games such as Angry Birds Transformers, which has been downloaded more than 75 million times

Cheese and butter producer Dairy Crest announced a positive first half to the year, with its core brands - Cathedral City, Clover, Country Life and Frylight - all performing strongly.
Cathedral City is the UKs leading cheese brand and is produced at the company’s site in Bermuda, Nuneaton.

GB Warwickshire specialist coachbuilder Coachbuilt GB has moved to larger premises in Nuneaton to accommodate the company’s recent growth. The company designs and manufactures coach-built vehicles accessible to wheelchair users and is a past wimner of the Queen's Award for Enterprise for its innovative

Bell Court, the new leisure and retail development in Stratford-upon- Avon anchored by Everyman Cinemas, announced some new names moving into the development. ASK Italian and, in a first for the West Midlands, Wine café Veeno opened in October.
Everyman cinema, which opened at Bell Court in June and has already attracted 10,000 visitors.
Meanwhile the Ropewalk shopping centre in Nuneaton has recently welcomed Pure Gym and TJ Hughes to the centre. These are the first high street chains to open in the town centre for some time, and together promise to bring with them significant additional footfall to the town centre.

Stratford-upon-Avon-based Rigby Group enjoyed a record-breaking year, with turnover exceeding £2bn for the first time. The company, which operates across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, has said it has published the best set of accounts in its 42-year history.
They include revenue increasing by 21.2 per cent to £2.17bn while pre-tax profit also climbed 22 per cent to £27.9m during the year to 31 March 2017.
The group comprises six core divisions which include technology, airports, hotels, aviation, real estate and finance.

Warwick company R53 Engineering whoseclients include Bentley, McLaren, and the Ministry of Defence, is to broaden its services and develop more of its own products thanks to support from local funding.
The company recently relocated to the Heathcote Industrial Estate after being handed the £35,000 funding from Warwickshire County Council with support from CWLEP Growth Hub and the University of Warwick Science Park.
It allowed the business to move to a larger facility and also for the new premises to be developed with a research and development room, vehicle prototype area and expanded office area as well.

Leamington-based Detroit Electric revealed further details at the LCV show CENEX about its new range of electric cars, following a major investment into the company.
The company also launched a major recruitment drive to fill between 150 and 200 positions by next spring.

A Warwickshire video game developer revealed plans to create 150 jobs before the end of 2017 after securing a new project. Playground Games, which develops the Forza Horizon driving game for Microsoft, has taken an additional 3,000 sq ft at Rossmore House on Newbold Terrace to accommodate its growing workforce, as well as agreeing a new ten-year lease on 20,000 sq ft building.
The company has recently hired a number of developers from North America, China and Europe, and further hires are likely to be similarly international.
"Leamington is a hugely important area for the digital gaming industry and we are the largest developer in the town, and it is important that we keep attracting as well as breeding the best new talent in the industry," said a company spokesman.

Vitsoe, the high end modular furniture company that manufactures designs based on originals by German industrial designer Dieter Rams, recently officially opened its new global HQ and manufacturing centre in Leamington Spa. The company relocated from London to access the dynamic local design and creative community, quality of life and lower cost base that Warwickshire can offer UK and international companies looking for a UK base.
The opening ceremony included a factory ‘open-house’ and a performance from the town’s leading dance company Motion House, who will be using the factory as one of their town centre bases going forward.

A major announcement was made recently by the UK Government of £51m of funding for Connected and Autonomous Vehicle research, through the newly created organisation known as Meridian. The majority of the spending came to the West Midlands and Coventry & Warwickshire, with a further £20m going to Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and London.
HORIBA-MIRA and partner Coventry University were successful in securing funding of £13m towards a total spend of £26m for a new high speed CAV driverless vehicles test facility, the Trusted Intelligent Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) consortium, known as TIC-IT. The facility will allow driverless cars to be driven and tested at high speeds.
WMG at the University of Warwick secured £17.6m towards a £25.3m scheme to set up real-world test environment, between the UK Central, the location of Birmingham Airport, the NEC and the new HS2 station and Coventry & Warwickshire. WMG will be supported by Amey, AVL, Costain, Coventry University, HORIBA-MIRA, Transport for West Midlands and Wireless Infrastructure Group and its test bed will be based on 80 kilometres of urban road.
The funding comes as part of the national strategy to establish the UK as a global-leading centre of excellence for the development, testing and commercialisation of CAVs. This is the first investment by government and industry through a new organisation known as Meridian, based out of the APC (Advanced Propulsion Centre). Meridian is a mobility technology cluster designed to accelerate the development of connected and autonomous vehicles, and will support and grow the CAV cluster already established along the M40 corridor between London and Coventry. The funding will be used to enhance industries' testing facilities and together will help to position the UK as a global hub for CAV development in a market predicted to be worth £51 billion* by 2020.

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