Wolverhampton to get a new major employer

A major new industrial employer for Wolverhampton is shortly to be announced by the city council.

Tim Johnson, left, Councillor Ian Brookfield and Councillor Steve Simkins at the Business Breakfast event
Tim Johnson, left, Councillor Ian Brookfield and Councillor Steve Simkins at the Business Breakfast event

Wolverhampton Council chief executive Tim Johnson revealed this at the Wolverhampton Business Breakfast event held at Grand Station as part of Wolverhampton Business Week and attended by more than 200 business figures.

He detailed a range of projects that were already delivering for the city including i9 and i10, the restoration of the Civic Halls and the i54 business park.

"The i54 is the most successful enterprise zone in the country in terms of investment and jobs created. We are positioning for a major occupier announcement there," he said.

Mr Johnson said fresh public and private investment in the city was giving people confidence to invest further in the city.

Council leader Councillor Ian Brookfield outlined a range of investment and new development opportunities that were coming on stream for the city.

"The city is at a crossroads and needs continued support to build our City of Opportunity," he enthused.

Business Week has already seen the announcement of Legal & General Modular Homes as the preferred development partner to build the 400-home Canalside South development.

Councillor Brookfield said it was "a huge step forward for he city" and the council was also working with the University of Wolverhampton to leverage £20 million private investment to develop a green innovation corridor.

He said it would be a fantastic fit with the new Investment Zone that would take in Wolverhamptom.

The city is also seeking £20m in Levelling Up funding for a multi-agency health and wellbeing centre to tackle health inequalities.

Councillor Brookfield said the council's plan was to maximise opportunities and work in partnership and collaboration with businesses that would create jobs and the Government.

He said one of his priorities was to reduce youth unemployment in the city.

"The city still has huge challenges around youth unemployment, but we are making progress," he added.

£3m has already been invested in the Wolves to Work programme aimed at the 18 to 24-year old age group.

The council was also working with the West Midlands Combined Authority and West Midlands Growth Company to offer support to businesses and in the summer had opened the new state-of-the-art IGNITE business workspace in the heart of the city centre.

Chairman of Wolverhampton Economic Growth Board Scott Thompson, who is managing director of city-based Thompson Group, said there was passion in the city's business community to seethe city go forward and grow.

"Wolverhampton is the city of opportunity and we as businesses have a chance to make a difference," he added.

He urged businesses to use local suppliers and take on more young people.

Wolverhampton Business Champions chairman Stuart Mclachlan said the group's members, including Jaguar Land Rover, Wolves and the Grand Theatre, were working closely with the council to build on the exciting and positive things that were being done in the city.

The chairman of Wolverhampton Towns Fund Board, Ninder Johal, said: "This is an entrepreneurial city. We need to continue to push that message. Too often we don't shout about how good we are."

"This is an amazing city and there is nothing to stop if achieving its potential," he added.

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