One year on from the formation of its Marine and Maritime Steering Group, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has published a review of achievements in the sector over the previous 12 months.
The report was launched at the Southampton Boat Show at a business briefing session held in partnership with BDO and the British Marine Federation.
Key successes highlighted include securing funding for works to improve access to Southampton Docks, establishment of the national Centre for Maritime Intelligent Systems at Portsdown Technology Park and securing the new Ben Ainslie Racing Head Quarters for the City of Portsmouth.
Investment in skills is a major feature of the LEPs work to support the sector; with the CEMAST Centre now open at the Solent Enterprise Zone, and close to £20m funding secured to bring forward a new Eastleigh College Advanced Technology Block and estates upgrade, as well as an Isle of Wight College Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advanced Manufacturing and Marine Technology.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Brian Johnson, Chairman of the Solent Marine and Maritime Steering Group, said:
A lot has been achieved in the Solent over the last year, but we know that there is much more to do if we are to reach our true potential. We believe we need to keep looking ahead, and this conviction is reflected in the level of support the LEP has focused on the future of the Marine and Maritime sector.
We have invested heavily in developing the skills of our future generations to improve our productivity and continue to be globally competitive, as well as in innovative new technology like Autonomous Systems and Advanced Materials. The work we do today will position the Solent as a global force in the Marine and Maritime sector for years to come and we are already looking forward to building on this initial success in the 12 months ahead.
Key to enabling future Marine and Maritime growth in the Solent will be the provision of suitable employment space and the event also saw the launch of an independent study into Waterfront Employment Sites across the area.
The report, which aims to provide an evidence base to help inform strategic investment and planning decisions, has been published by the LEP and shared with all Local Planning Authorities in the Solent and wider partners in the Solent.