An ambitious plan to create up to 33,000 new jobs in Berkshire over the next five years has been launched by the region’s local enterprise partnership, LEP.
The plan by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP will also lead to 23,485 new homes being built by 2021.
In the two years from 2015 to today, the total number of jobs in the county grew by 16,400 – with information and communication (more commonly called technology and telecoms) creating 7,300 more jobs.
Now the LEP believes it will ‘unlock’ tens of thousands more jobs through an investment plan that includes an SME ‘funding escalator’, a Business Growth Hub and support for ‘scale-up’ businesses. Much of the focus will be on ‘enhanced connectivity and digital infrastructure’.
Thames Valley Berkshire says it is the UK’s most productive sub-region. The region has already received £17 million under a Local Growth Funds initiative, and a further £7.5m from European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF).
Among schemes funded by the LEP are a £2.5m investment into Slough’s rapid transit programme; £2m invested in Burnham Station in preparation for Crossrail; £2.9m into the development of south Reading mass rapid transit; and £5m into Thames Valley Science Park.
The LEP has also invested in support to upskill people across the region, including for 4,500 young people under its Elevate Berkshire scheme.