West Kent Conference – Thursday 26 April 2018

Mercure Hotel, Pembury, 8.30am-2.45 pm


The West Kent Partnership is working closely with Best Business Events on the forthcoming business show which is being produced as part of the Grow Kent series of business events.

The WKP is hosting Inspiring our future workforce, an interactive Panel session focused on the West Kent Enterprise Adviser Network. The session is to be chaired by Nicolas Heslop with panellists from Careers & Enterprise Company, Simon Harris – our Enterprise Coordinator and Cath Brunger from AXA PPP who is Enterprise Adviser to Oakley School. Businesses will hear how they can become involved with the Network and the benefits to their business.

The conference includes inspirational speakers with positive messages for West Kent businesses including

  • Phil Eckersley, Agent for the Bank of England – an economic update
  • Kim Arnold – How to overcome marketing overwhelm
  • Jonathan Neame, Chief Executive Shepherd Neame and Chairman, Visit Kent
  • Grants and free business support in West Kent
  • West Kent Entrepreneur Panel hosted by Jane Ollis IoD Kent Chair
  • Barnaby Wynter – Supercharge your brand
  • Katie King – Preparing for Artificial Intelligence

Hot breakfast rolls, morning refreshments and sandwich lunch are all included in the £27 cost. Registration is free to West Kent Enterprise Advisers and their guests. Register. The event is sponsored by Gatwick Airport.

West Kent Skillsfest

A dynamic, interative skills event for West Kent schools

1250 students aged 14-19 from across West Kent will have the opportunity to attend the West Kent Skillsfest 2017. This exciting event will be taking place at Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells on 10 October 2017 where young people will be able to make the most of the interaction with employers and the specialist workshops available.

WK Skillsfest 2017















West Kent Enterprise Adviser Network – launch and lunch

MAC Theatre, West Kent College

Bridging the gap between employers and education – Businesses sought to inspire young people

The Enterprise Adviser Network is a national network that connects schools and colleges with employers and careers programme providers to work together to create meaningful encounters with the world of work for young people.

This event will provide information for businesses and schools on this exciting new initiative in West Kent and the many ways in which businesses can become involved News Release WKEAN June 17


Careers-Enterprise-Logo-RBG JPG

Partnership delivers jobs and training opportunities

West Kent Jobs and Training Fair on Thursday 30 March
Jobseekers in West Kent will be able to meet up with local businesses and training providers to access available jobs and courses at the Fair.  It takes place at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge from 10am to 2pm and has been arranged by the West Kent Partnership, Jobcentre Plus, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Sevenoaks District Council.

The Jobs and Training Fair will be opened by Chairman of the West Kent Partnership, Nicolas Heslop who says

The West Kent Partnership is working to reinvigorate communities and improve prosperity of businesses and residents.  The Jobs and Training Fair is an excellent initiative that supports this with more than 25 local employers and training providers exhibiting a wide representation of job opportunities and courses. 

Business as usual for West Kent LEADER

Funding Available to Help Rural Businesses to Grow 

Businesses and communities in the rural areas of West Kent will continue to have the opportunity to benefit froM LEADER grant funding totalling nearly £1.5 million until 31 March 2019.  This news follows a period of uncertainty following the EU referendum last year.

Grants provided to rural small businesses, farmers, foresters and communities are towards capital projects that create jobs and grow the rural economy. So far, 12 projects in West Kent have been supported and funding of £290,000 awarded, to assist with the creation of 18 jobs. Projects funded so far have included a village community shop, irrigation equipment for soft fruit and asparagus, timber harvesting equipment, a gin distillery, farm diversification projects and a winery.

More information at West Kent Leader

Celebrating business excellence

The West Kent Partnership has teamed up with Times Local Newspapers to deliver the Awards for 2017
Enter here 

Entries are now open until 13 April to businesses in the boroughs of Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge & Malling and Sevenoaks District.

Chairman of the West Kent Partnership, Nicolas Heslop says

The Partnership is delighted to be working with Times Local Newspapers to recognise and celebrate business excellence through these Awards.  Businesses in West Kent are innovative and enterprising and the West Kent Partnership is working to ensure they are supported to succeed by having access to a skilled local workforce and business support initiatives.  Investment in the local economy and infrastructure is vital to business growth and as the economic partnership for the area we represent the needs of the West Kent economy within Kent, the South East and to Government.

£6.165M cash boost for West Kent to help create local jobs and growth

West Kent is to receive a further £6.165M of government cash to help create jobs, support businesses and create new growth opportunities.

Andrew Percy MP, Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government, who has responsibility for local growth, today announced a government cash injection of £102 million for capital projects for the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), which covers East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock with a number of West Kent projects are set to benefit.

Minister, Andrew Percy said: ”From Southend to East Sussex, today’s £102 million investment will support the delivery of new homes and jobs right across the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

“In fact right across the South East, people will benefit from £492 million extra investment thanks to these Growth Deals to create jobs and infrastructure projects of the future.

“These growth deals are a crucial part of our efforts to create an economy that works for everyone, and will ensure every region of the country has the chance to realise its full potential.”

The package of projects to be funded through this round of Local Growth Fund will improve educational attainment, create new jobs and provide the enabling infrastructure to support the delivery of new homes and employment, and will leverage an additional £112m in private sector funding.

The West Kent projects to receive funding are:


·       Fort Halstead redevelopment, Sevenoaks (£1.53m)

·       Leigh Flood Storage Area, Tonbridge (£4.635m)


Peter Fleming, Leader of Sevenoaks District Council, said: “We are pleased that both SELEP and government has seen value in the Fort Halstead project.

“Since DSTL announced they were leaving six years ago we have been working tirelessly with the new owners to make sure the site remains employment led.

After a planning appeal a government inspector agreed and therefore alongside 450 homes any development will have to both resupply the lost jobs and see these delivered in advance of the housing. The funding will allow SDC to work with the owners to help bring these jobs forward, allowing the Fort to remain a major employment site in the district into the future.”

Nicolas Heslop, Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, said: “This funding will give us and local people more certainty on the future of flooding in the area.  Knowing that we will be able to deliver much needed measures to increase the capacity of the Leigh Flood Storage Area and in turn reduce flood risk will see significant growth to business and property within communities along the River Medway and this will give peace of mind and a huge boost to those who have been affected by flooding in previous years.”

For more information on Growth Deal projects please visit www.southeastlep.com.



FREE SEMINAR – Improve your sales and win more business

When: Tue 28 February 2017, 09:30 – 12:30
Where: Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Gibson Drive, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4LZ

Winning more business is key to the growth of your business but do you have the right skills and experience to do this effectively?Understanding the need for a sales process, what it is and how to improve it are essential if you want to increase your sales and profit.You also need to understand the importance of each stage of your sales process and the critical success factors that will help you to increase your sales and improve your business