The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) formally launched Maritime UK Solent at the Maritime UK Awards, held in Southampton at the end of September. Maritime UK Solent is a new business-led body that will bring together the array of maritime assets based in the Solent region, to promote and strengthen them so that the area continues to be at the forefront of pioneering developments in the sector.
Kevin George, Solent LEP Business Director and Maritime Lead said:
“We’re grateful that Maritime UK Solent began its journey side-by-side with partners from right across the breadth of the sector and the nation, and the Maritime UK Awards was the perfect opportunity. We recognise how critical it is that the country’s world-leading maritime regions continue to work closely together in order to perform outstandingly well on the international stage. We’re looking forward to continuing to forge strong alliances, both here in the Solent and more widely.”
The LEP made its announcement at the first Maritime UK Awards hosted by the LEP and encouraged attendees to become founding members to champion and re-emphasise the Solent’s position as a globally significant maritime hub.
The Solent LEP region has 340 miles of coastline, three islands, three peninsulas, two major international gateway ports, and a rich maritime heritage. Boasting a powerful £5.8bn maritime economy, Maritime UK Solent will re-emphasise the Solent’s position as the globally significant maritime hub.
The LEP is investing £183m to drive growth across its coastal communities, in a range of projects including:
- £7.5m in Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering refurbished training facilities;
- £10.9m in the Isle of Wight College’s Centre of excellence for composites, advanced manufacturing and marine (CECAMM) an industry-led skills centre that develops specialised skills for 600 students annually;
- over £250,000 towards MHI Vestas Offshore Wind to develop a comprehensive program of training on the Isle of Wight;
- £5m toward establishing an Innovation and Collaboration Hub (ICH) as part of the £23m National Maritime Systems Centre (NMSC) redevelopment at Portsdown Technology Park by QinetiQ;
- and £1.8m towards Portsmouth Naval Base Marine Engineering Centre ‘Thunderer’ – a facility for Level 3 and 4 apprentices, and for up-skilling and re-training existing workforces.
It has also invested in smaller and medium sized businesses (SMEs) with £1.6m leveraging around £6.5m for the maritime industry in the Solent, generating over 125 jobs and safeguarding a further 157. This has included support for ground breaking SMEs such as Lewmar which manufactures, designs and distributes a wide range of products to the world’s sailboat and powerboat building industry, and which was a winner in the Boat Builder Awards 2018.
Stuart Baker, Assistant Director at the Solent LEP and Chair of the Maritime UK Regional Cluster Council said:
“Through Maritime UK Solent we will convene the area’s key maritime stakeholders to champion the Solent as the leading maritime cluster, developing international links through representation at targeted maritime events and trade missions. It will bring the sector together through regular events to improve integration, knowledge exchange, and supply chain links.
“We are inviting people to become founding members to help us champion and underscore the Solent’s position as the global maritime hub.”
For more information on the Maritime UK Solent body visit www.solentlep.org.uk