Summary of local context

Priorities: SWLEP aims to promote and develop Swindon and Wiltshire as the perfect location for businesses to develop and thrive. In order to achieve this, our priorities include:

  • Encouraging inward investment
  • Stimulating growth in our local economy
  • Creating jobs and skills
  • Building upon our existing economic infrastructure

SWLEP has a strong vision to develop a skilled and competitive workforce that meets the needs of employers. By 2020 a significantly increased number of young people in the SWLEP area will have high aspirations with above national average attainment, progress to Higher level qualifications through attending University full time or through a Higher Apprenticeship and will study STEM subjects/progressing to STEM careers. SWLEP aims for all 16-19 education and skills provision to be good or outstanding and the highest quality academic teaching to be working in tangent with equal value/equal quality Vocational Education and Training. Outstanding leadership and management of schools and colleges will sit alongside the committed and sustained involvement and investment of business into all stages of education, providing resources, expertise and aspirational opportunities.

Key sectors and employers in the region:

The SWLEP economy is as innovative as it is diverse, hosting world class companies in a range of sectors and internationally recognised research and development organisations.

In the SWLEP area economic projections through to 2020 forecast jobs growth at 5.1% for the UK; 7.2% for the South West region; and even higher at 8.9% for Swindon and Wiltshire. This equates to the creation of 30,000 new jobs requiring Level 4 plus skills in the SWLEP area, and with the replacement of staff, 83,800 jobs requiring Level 4 plus skills. The driver of growth will be a move towards larger numbers of individuals employed in more skilled and higher value-added roles in the following priority growth sectors:

  • Advanced manufacturing including automotive
  • Health and Life sciences
  • Digital technologies
  • Finance and professional services

There are approximately 25,400 businesses across the SWLEP, 22% in Swindon and 78% in Wiltshire.
Swindon is a growth town on the M4, with an economy which ranks amongst the top 5 UK cities for performance. Swindon offers pleasant neighbourhoods, exciting Town Centre regeneration, and breath-taking countryside. Swindon hosts successful high value sectors including manufacturing engineering, advanced electronics, financial and professional services, pharmaceuticals and communications technologies. Innovation is strong in Swindon and Wiltshire making it one of highest patent application areas and is home to UK’s first commercial scale solar-powered hydrogen production and refuelling facility. The Life science sector employs in excess of 2,500 people in Swindon and across the SWLEP accounts for nearly 3% of all employment (over 8,200 employees).

Wiltshire prides itself on nurturing an innovative and productive environment, with high growth companies developing the latest scientific, technological, medical and creative breakthroughs in both the UK and the world. The County has a strong entrepreneurial spirit with excellent business start-up and survival rates, the result of an environment conducive to business development, the available workforce, an entrepreneurial spirit and the quality of life that can be achieved in the area. Key sectors include Advanced manufacturing and engineering, Health and Life sciences, Digital, Financial and other business services.

Existing programmes or activity in the area:

The SWLEP and two Unitary Authorities are committed to supporting successful transitions from education into the world of work with a number of initiatives such as:

  • The Wiltshire Skills 4 Success Programme – Supports young people in Wiltshire with employability and informal skills development and coordinates business engagement in education.
  • Swindon Learning Gateway – Supports young people (16-18) in Swindon who are considering leaving education to find alternative training and support to further develop their skills.

The websites "Your Choices" and "Learning Pathways" provide comprehensive access to information regarding all local, post 16 provision.The additional Swindon Interactive website supports users to prepare for and succeed in employment and the Work Wiltshire website provides information to help those seeking to up skill, looking for work, starting a new job, looking for a new career or facing job loss.

Project IMPRESS – Provides in-work support to those 16 years + in Wiltshire to make and sustain a successful transition from education or unemployment to employment.

Local level Apprenticeship growth plans/ambassador schemes, Risk of NEET Indicator tools and Youth Engagement Workers/Early Help Services are in place across the SWLEP to support young people and those who are NEET/at risk of NEET.

Key stats

  • 30% employers offering work experience
  • 17% employers offering work inspiration
  • 23% 17-18 year olds poorly prepared for work (employer reported)
  • 31% 16 year olds poorly prepared for work (employer reported)
  • 5.2% 16-17 year olds NEET
  • 3.7% 18 year olds on apprenticeships
  • 31% A-levels that are STEM
  • 42% of STEM A-level taken by women
  • 56% pupils 5A*-C GCSEs
  • 9% pupils on Free School Meals


Organisations funded

EBP West Berkshire
St Helens Chamber
WorldSkills UK

Swindon and Wiltshire


Scott Green 
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Enterprise Coordinators:

  • Thames Valley Berkshire  LEP

    Nicola Randy

  • Thames Valley Berkshire  LEP

    Steven Haines

  • Thames Valley Berkshire  LEP

    Katie Cross

  • Auriel Chandarana