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The Earl of Wessex tours GBSLEP-funded projects on visit to Birmingham

HRH The Earl of Wessex visited the Centre for Clinical Haematology and the National College for High-Speed Rail in Birmingham today (Thursday 28 June) – two projects that have received a combined £10 million in funding from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP).

At the Centre for Clinical Haematology, HRH was given a tour of the facility, which reopened in January 2018, to witness the impact the Centre has already had for patients, staff and on the global fight against the disease. A plaque was unveiled to commemorate the visit, which was organised after the Centre had a £3.4m redevelopment to double its capacity for blood cancer patients, ground-breaking clinical trials and specialist research nurses in 2017.

The funds to ensure this transformational project was possible came from GBSLEP, which granted £2.4 million towards the facility. The other £1 million was raised by blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia during 2017 through a combination of trust and foundation applications, major fundraising events and campaigns and generous donors.

Tim Pile, Chair of the GBSLEP, said:

Today’s visit by HRH The Earl of Wessex allowed us to highlight one of the region’s real success stories in the life sciences sector.

“GBSLEP’s support for the pioneering Centre for Clinical Haematology will provide a major boost to the local economy. It is creating 75 new jobs and ensures that – by being at the forefront of innovation in global healthcare – Greater Birmingham’s thriving life sciences sector remains attractive to investors, businesses and talented workers from across the globe.”

HRH The Earl of Wessex also visited the National College for High Speed Rail to learn more about its efforts to tackle national skills shortages in the rail, engineering and infrastructure sectors.

The employer-led college, which opened on Lister Street last year, is backed by Government and tasked with helping to plug the skills gap in engineering and related disciplines. The National College for High Speed Rail is also working towards improving diversity within the sector – especially by encouraging more women and underrepresented groups to consider careers in construction, transport and infrastructure.

Tim Pile added:

“GBSLEP’s £7.5 million investment into the National College for High Speed Rail is helping to deliver the rail engineers of the future, stimulating sustainable and long-term economic growth and benefits to Greater Birmingham and Solihull.

“Today’s visit to the College by HRH The Earl of Wessex helps to underline the significant impact that HS2 is already having on the region. It also demonstrates how GBSLEP funding is helping to address skills shortages in the engineering sector, giving our young population a pathway into working on one of the Europe’s most important infrastructure projects.”