NEPO Building Construction Works Framework Supply Chain Events

The North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) is holding four regional events to give North East companies offering construction-related services the opportunity to meet with the Tier One suppliers from its new Building Construction Works Framework to discuss potential sub-contracting opportunities.

The events will feature one-to-one appoints with the Tier One suppliers, as well as an exhibition area to provide businesses the opportunity to network with the framework suppliers and other delegates.

The events are free of charge, but any businesses wishing to attend must book in advance. The event dates and venues are listed below.

  • Tuesday 29 April, 10:00-12:30, The Wynyard Rooms, Billingham
  • Tuesday 29 April, 13:30-16:00, The Wynyard Rooms, Billingham
  • Wednesday 28 May, 10:00-12:30, Skills Academy for Construction, Gateshead
  • Wednesday 28 May, 13:30-16:00, Skills Academy for Construction, Gateshead


Posted in Buy North East by rachel.travis. No Comments

MPC Decision April 2014

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has today voted to hold interest rates at 0.5% and Quantitative Easing at £375bn. Further details on the decision can be found here.

This matches the view of the North East Shadow MPC, run in partnership between NECC, the Northern Echo and Waltons Clark Whitehill. Further information on that vote can be seen here.

Please give your view by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing

Posted in Economy by ross.smith. No Comments

Guidance on careers advice for schools published

The government yesterday announced their statutory guidance on careers advice for schools. The guidance clarifies the changes to careers guidance and the requirement that in-house support for pupils must be combined with advice and guidance from independent and external sources to meet the school’s legal requirements. To do this schools are expected to work in partnership with local employers and other education and training providers like colleges, universities and apprenticeship providers.

Key Points
•Pupils should receive the advice and support necessary to build and develop their own jobs, and have a clear understanding of potential barriers – whether real or perceived.
•More contact with real employers, enthusiastic and passionate about their own careers, not only inspires pupils but also challenges pre-conceived ideas about jobs.
•Career choices made at school should be based on a clear view of the current labour market and how opportunities may change in the future.
•Every school should engage fully with their local employer and professional community to ensure real-world connections with employers lie at the heart of the careers strategy.

STEM focus
•Schools should ensure pupils are exposed to a diverse selection of professionals from varying occupations which require STEM subjects, and emphasise in particular the opportunities created for girls and boys who choose science subjects at school and college.
•Schools should be aware of the need to do this for girls, in particular, who are statistically much more likely than boys to risk limiting their careers by dropping STEM subjects at an early age.

The formalisation of the statutory guidance on careers advice in schools is welcomed, the lack of real career focused education in schools is not a new issue but this does not mean it is of any less importance. Skills are a key issue and concern for our member businesses and to help rebalance the skills shortages our region faces better provision of career guidance with real business engagement is needed in schools.

NECC recognise the role we can play in linking education with business and as a result of this we have developed a series of linking education with business events which aim to bring schools and businesses from across the region together to share best practice of great initiatives already in place and also to help establish sustainable relations between schools and businesses for future engagement. The first of three linking education with business events ran by NECC took place last week with a great turnout and feedback showing this is the right type of activity to foster collaboration between schools and business.

If you would like more information on this or our future education with business events or to give your views please get in contact by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing

Posted in Business Support Education & Skills by lucy.humphreys. No Comments

UK trade figures for February

The ONS have today released their UK trade figures for February.

Goods and Services

The total deficit on trade in goods and services was estimated to have been £2.1 billion in February 2014, compared with a deficit of £2.2 billion in January 2014.

The total trade deficit has almost halved in the three months to February 2014 compared with the previous three months, from £8.7 billion to £4.8 billion this is mainly due to a narrowing of the trade in goods deficit.

Goods only

In the three months ending February 2014, exports of goods decreased by 2.5% to £72.7 billion. In the same period Imports of goods decreased by 4.7% to £99.0.

To break this down further exports of goods decreased between January and February 2014 by 1.6% to £23.5 billion, Imports for the same period decreased by 2.2% to £32.6 billion.

The news that the total deficit on trade in goods and services is down again from the January figure is a positive trend but the fall in the export of goods highlights the need for a greater support for exporters to ensure that export growth outweighs increases in import levels. Greater knowledge and skills are required to enter markets further afield, and exporters need to be aware of the support available and the prospects for growth by entering these markets. The chancellor’s recent announcements in the March Budget to widen the powers of UKEF and increase their direct lending ability to £3 billion and cutting interest rates to the lowest permitted levels are positive but some resource needs to be channelled to promote their services and offerings.

To find out more or to give your views please get in contact by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing

Posted in Business Support International Trade by lucy.humphreys. No Comments

Labour Plans More Power for Regions and Cities

Ed Miliband has outlined today his plans to provide cities and regions with more powers and funding to help rebalance growth around the UK should the Labour Party come to power in 2015.

The Labour leader has pledged to go further on the Heseltine recommendations and increase funding and powers to enable more joint working between local enterprise partnerships and other bodies responsible for growth in the regions.

The Labour Party announcement comes as Lord Adonis provides his interim recommendations on just how this can be delivered.  More details can be found here.

If you have any questions please leave a comment on this blog or e-mail

Posted in Economy Regional policy by mark.stephenson. No Comments