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06.12.05
Objective One invests in long term gain

Objective One is meeting the challenge of the Monday December 5th announcement of a slowdown in the UK economy by investing for long term success in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Objective One faces an extra challenge, trying to incrementally raise the wealth of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly against a background of global and national economic changes. But the Director of the Objective One Partnership, Carleen Kelemen, is confident that investment is starting to turn the economy around in the right direction, and that this investment is for the long term.

While, in his pre budget speech, Chancellor Gordon Brown partly blamed high oil prices for the national slowdown, the Objective One Programme is investing in restructuring the nature of the economy by encouraging knowledge based businesses, through new IT infrastructure which reduces the need to travel for business, wired quality workspace, skills training and the creation of the CUC.

Ms Kelemen said: "This allows us to reemphasise the importance of investing in the drivers of a more knowledge based economy. Throughout the programme we require applicants to demonstrate sensitivity to our environment and equal opportunities for all. We are investing in smarter working so that we maximise the value of our commercial activities whilst respecting our environment."

The Combined Universities in Cornwall is working closely with businesses to maximise the potential of keeping graduate knowledge in the region. Ways of doing this include the highly successful Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP). UCP subsidises the graduate's wage for a set time and an expert mentor is also provided to advise the business and the graduate. About 70 per cent of graduates remain with the employers when the scheme ends. This has proved highly popular and there are now 92 businesses in Cornwall who have participated in the UCP programme and 124 graduates employed.

Nine business fellows provide a link between businesses and the CUC and businesses have been invited to bid for investment from a CUC research fund.

In his speech the Chancellor set out plans for more combining enterprise with investment in skills and said innovation centres were to be set up around the UK.

Objective One in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is already on that road, via the CUC, with research-related business incubation centres at Tremough and the Knowledge Spa and more being built at Duchy College and the planned Omega Centre, in Pool.

Skills training is also taking place within businesses. Proper Cornish is a Bodmin-based company that has grown from two to 170 employees and makes up to 45,000 pasties every day. Training has helped annual sales grow from £1.4 million in 1995 to more than £7 million and to reduce staff turnover from 23 per cent in 1999 to seven per cent in 2005. Two UCP graduates work in sales and marketing and staff are asking to be trained. "A training strategy is now fully embedded in our business plan and training is viewed as central to our success," said managing director Philip Ugalde.

Finally, examples of "smarter" working include investment from the Objective One Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance Fund (FIFG) to add value to the landed catch and get a better price at market. Last week it was announced that two fishing boat owner/skippers had received Objective One investment to buy fish bins. The bins are fully insulated, stackable cool boxes with sealable lids, used to take ice to sea and help to ensure that fish are properly cooled. Insulated ice bins are a simple and cost effective method of ensuring that fish reach the market in top quality condition.

For further information please contact Clare Morgan of the Objective One Communications Team on 01872 223439 or email: cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk.

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Editor's notes:

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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