News & events
Automotive sector identified as driver of growth in Chichester district
With opportunities for businesses in the automotive industry readily available, and the chance to hire local talent trained by the district’s education providers, Chichester’s long-running association with the automotive sector is only set to grow in the coming years.
Already home to established, world-renowned, companies including Rolls-Royce and the iconic Goodwood Estate, the district is also where a number of car dealerships – both national and independent – and specialist workshops for repair and customisation are located.
Employers are supported by the skills provision from the district’s educational institutions, with Chichester College’s Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle courses allowing students the opportunity to specialise before moving into the workplace. The University of Chichester also offers engineering courses.
Iconic Land Rovers and Range Rovers are being customised within the district, as they are carefully crafted and transformed into bespoke vehicles by luxury designers and engineers Kingsmen Editions and their sister company, Chichester Cars.
Across the UK more than 864,000 people are employed by the automotive sector, which generated more than £100billion in 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Location is likely to be a key decider in where automotive businesses base themselves with an estimated 4,100 cars and 6,100 engines exported worldwide every day – and 1,000 cars distributed to UK dealers and 3,600 engines delivered to UK factories. Chichester, with its close proximity to two major port cities in Portsmouth and Southampton, stands out against other UK locations.
Councillor Tony Dignum, Chichester District Council’s Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration, said: “Some of the UK’s most iconic cars have been – and continue to be – developed, tested and manufactured in Chichester, and we have a legendary race track right on our doorstep – and the opportunity is there for anyone in the sector to become a part of our district’s motoring story.
“Plans are underway to increase availability of space for the sector and our University and College are teaching the next generation of technicians, designers, specialists and experts – not to mention our location to two of the UK’s biggest ports putting you in front of the world.
“We’re open for business and ready to put you in the fast lane.”
Chichester College plays a key role in training tomorrow’s experts and on average trains hundreds of students every year across various automotive trades, including motor vehicle and motorcycle.
The college is also working in collaboration with a consortium of Sussex-based colleges to establish hybrid and Electric Vehicle technology training centres across the region. This project has taken a step forward thanks to the awarding of multi-million-pound funding from the Department for Education as part of the Strategic Development Fund.
Julie Kapsalis, Managing Director of the Chichester College Group, said: “We are extremely proud of our motor vehicle offer at Chichester College.
“Year on year we are training hundreds of students in important automotive trades, teaching them the skills they need to succeed in the industry.
“We build close links with employers, such as Rolls-Royce, to ensure our courses are meeting their requirements, including developing our apprenticeship programmes to improve the skills of their workforce across a diverse range of disciplines – something that Ofsted highlighted in our Outstanding Ofsted report last year.
“Looking forward, we are very proud to be working with colleagues at colleges across Sussex to be building new centres which will provide skills training to support the future of the industry, such as across electric vehicle and other emerging sustainable transport technologies.
“It is an exciting time for the industry and for those looking to work within it.”
The final jewel in Chichester’s crown is the Goodwood Motor Circuit, which coordinates a busy schedule of track days and driving experiences, attracting both business and customers all year round. The Estate hosts three annual headline motorsport events – the Members’ Meeting, Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard and Goodwood Revival – attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area. The Festival of Speed is an essential part of the automotive event calendar and, at the 2021 event, Goodwood launched ‘Electric Avenue – The Road To 2030’ presented by Sky Zero, the home of electric mobility at the Festival of Speed. Proving to be one of the most popular exhibits over the weekend, the exhibition showcased an extensive collection of the latest Electric Vehicles, from the diminutive Citroën AMI to the elegant Pininfarina Battista hypercar, enabling visitors to explore the electric transition coming in 2030.
Adam Waterworth, Goodwood’s Events Managing Director, said: “This year the Festival of Speed returned to the Goodwood Estate for the first time since 2019 and played a big part in providing a platform for our automotive partners to get in front of customers, whether at the event or joining us online from around the world. We continue to attract the biggest global names from the automotive sector and Goodwood is proud to be playing a part in driving growth in the Chichester district.”
Government award £7million funding to colleges across Sussex region for skills training
A consortium of Sussex colleges is to receive more than £7million funding, as part of the Department for Education’s Strategic Development Fund.
Comprised of eight college groups, further education colleges and sixth form colleges across East and West Sussex and Brighton & Hove, led by Chichester College Group (CCG), the consortium will be working collaboratively to boost skills training in sustainable industries.
Bexhill College, BHASVIC, College of Richard Collyer, East Sussex College Group, Greater Brighton Metropolitan Group (GB Met), Plumpton College and Varndean College are working with CCG to deliver five projects:
- Alternative Energy & Hydrogen Technologies (led by CCG)
- Land Management Strategies and Practices for Environmental Land Management Schemes (led by Plumpton College, with Brinsbury College)
- Electric Vehicle Training Centres (led by GB Met)
- Decarbonisation Academies in Sussex (led by East Sussex College Group)
- Establishing Carbon Literacy and Sustainability Awareness (led by BHASVIC)
Shelagh Legrave CBE, Chief Executive of the Chichester College Group, said: “This is a fantastic boost for skills training and development across the whole Sussex region.
“Businesses have been struggling to recruit people with the right skills, and while colleges do a fantastic job in skills training, there are some industry gaps where the right equipment or expertise may not be available to deliver the best training.
“Working collaboratively with partners at other colleges across the whole of the Sussex region reflects the need to develop a region-wide approach to improving skills-training and will hugely benefit young people and employers in our local areas.”
Development, writing and submission of the bid was co-ordinated by Dr Tim Strickland, Consultant Chief Executive of FE Sussex, the consortia company of the post-16 colleges in Sussex. He added: “All our member colleges are proud to have been selected to be part of this large scale multi-faceted project, the development of which shows the advantages of working together for the benefit of students and employers.
“It will enable Sussex colleges to place the Green agenda at the heart of today’s teaching and learning and give students and employers the knowledge and skills of tomorrow.”
The funding has been awarded by Government for Local Skills Improvement Plans and development fund pilots. It is part of a £65million fund which is being distributed across the country and
The funding will support the curriculum offered by colleges with a focus on long-term skills priorities of local areas.
Independent retailers in Chichester District invited to access free online training
Independent retail businesses across Chichester District are being invited to take up free online training which will cover ten key subjects.
The training has been made available thanks to a joint project between all the district and borough councils in West Sussex, and is being led by Horsham District Council. The training has been developed by the company Digital Islands under the West Sussex Retail Hub banner, and has been paid for thanks to a joint bid to the West Sussex Business Rates Pool.
In the past, Chichester District Council has organised face-to-face training for independent retailers, but as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this has had to be changed and delivered remotely instead.
Independent retailers will be able to access the following pre-recorded modules, each presented by a specialist expert:
Measuring sales, tracking profitability
- Key steps for creating a marketing plan
- The importance of business planning
- Employing staff: an introduction to HR for small businesses
- Using social media for business outcomes
- Card payments and electronic point of sale
- Understanding today’s customer
- Creating an exceptional customer experience
- Developing a quality customer experience for the modern independent retailer; and
- Developing new business models that work effectively and efficiently.
Businesses will be able to access the training from Monday 12 July at their own convenience by going to https://www.westsussexretailhub.co.uk/ and completing the required registration details. Businesses will be free to pick and choose the modules of most use to them. The modules will be available for the next two years and there will also be downloads and useful resources for businesses to keep.
An online launch event using Zoom will also be taking place on Monday 12 July at 6pm which businesses are welcome to attend. There will be the opportunity to hear from Mark Smith, Operations Director of sportswear company Sweaty Betty as well as an overview of the different training modules from each of the experts. There will also be a question and answer session for businesses to take part in.
To attend the launch event businesses should go to
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84939047888?pwd=bmhHSG91ZHdxM3Z4aUlZR0ZlVGVVUT09 and use the following details: Meeting ID: 849 3904 7888 and Passcode: 138701
“This training is being provided as part of our council’s ongoing support for our district’s independent retailers and has been made available following extremely positive feedback from those who have completed similar face-to-face training that we have organised in the past,” explains Councillor Tony Dignum, Cabinet Member for Business, Growth and Regeneration at Chichester District Council.
“Collectively, independent businesses are a major employer and are vital to the economy and to our high streets. We are keen to keep supporting businesses following the pandemic, and we hope that businesses will find this high-quality training package extremely relevant and valuable. We hope it will give businesses lots of practical information which they can use to enhance and boost their business for the future.
“As well as providing access to training opportunities our council also offers a range of support for independent businesses in the district including information and advice about grants and networking opportunities.”
People can find out more about Chichester District Council’s business support by visiting http://www.chichester.gov.uk/businesssupportandadvice
6 July 2021
Quality of life message at heart of Invest Chichester launch
A new inward investment campaign has been launched by Chichester District Council targeting employers looking to put a work-life balance at the heart of their business.
The launch of Invest Chichester coincides with a return to the workplace for many employees who had been working remotely for the past 15 months and responded to the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic by putting increased importance on both mental and physical health as they prioritise quality of life.
Many employers have recognised the shift in emphasis, providing increased wellbeing opportunities to support, retain and recruit talented staff – moving social events online, delivering more regular catch ups and activities to improve mental health – from mindfulness and yoga to company-wide timeouts from the screen over lunch.
And Invest Chichester is looking to attract those who are placing a greater importance on wellbeing and leisure time – by showcasing the district’s rich culture and heritage which, alongside its open spaces across the South Downs and Chichester Harbour and coastal towns, offer an unrivalled quality of life.
Chichester can provide more space for those who have moved, or are consider moving, out of smaller accommodation in urban centres and heading for more affordable properties outside of major hubs.
It also boasts impressive connectivity – central London is around an hour and a half away and there are three international airports within 90 minutes away – Heathrow, Gatwick and Southampton. Looking to the coast, Portsmouth and Southampton, two of Britain’s largest port towns are 20 and 45 minutes away respectively. The district is also home to major, well-established, employers including Goodwood, Natures Way Foods and Rolls Royce.
The Council has identified opportunities for businesses across numerous sectors including industrial and logistics, creative and digital, as well as tourism and leisure. Across its new campaign, Chichester District Council will be showcasing the space and assets on offer, as well as supporting businesses in moving to the district.
And there’s benefits for employees too – the opportunity to be part of a growing economy with outstanding schools, providing an unrivalled work/life blend.
Cllr Tony Dignum, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration at Chichester District Council, said: “We want businesses that are new to the district to discover what it has to offer, and we want those already living and working in this wonderful part of the world to benefit from the investment that we hope to attract.
“Chichester District has so much to offer and our doors are open to businesses looking to make a change for the better and locate here, grow, and thrive.
“There’s no better time than now to get in touch and start a conversation and enjoy the benefits those of us lucky enough to be here already do.”
Stephanie Jones, Head of Communications at Natures Way Foods, said: “We’re lucky enough to have a long history of working in the district and have the best of town, country and seaside living on the doorstep of our four sites.”
Mark Minchell, Director, Fludes, said: “Chichester has a strong commercial offer across all subsectors and has been remarkably resilient throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The district’s appeal largely lies in the work-life balance it affords businesses and their employees and a core strength lies in its industrial and logistics hubs where requirements remain consistent in an ever-growing market.”
For more information on Invest Chichester and if you’d like an introduction to the district, email email@example.com
25th June 2021
Mandy McKenna has moved her thriving online business; Mandy McKenna Designs, into one of the district council’s pop up shops in Crane Street, Chichester, and will be welcoming customers between 30 May and 29 July 2021.
Like many who have taken advantage of the council’s Pop Up Shop initiative, Mandy is looking to test the market and get experience of being on the high street.
Mandy says: “I am so looking forward to adding my ‘Taste of Colourful Art’ shop to Chichester and meeting local residents, adding my passion for floral art in a variety of mediums. People can visit my website: Mandy Mckenna Designs , to find out more about my business and for a list of COVID-safe pottery and design sessions which I will be running in my pop up shop until July 29. In the shop I have my full range of pottery and artwork for sale. I am at my happiest when I have a paintbrush in my hand!”
The Pop Up Shop initiative was launched in January 2020 to help support small and start-up businesses in the Chichester District. Using premises owned by the council, the scheme offers affordable temporary spaces for smaller enterprises. This gives local entrepreneurs the opportunity to trial business concepts and trade in a high street location without the commitment or cost of a longer-term lease.
Victoria McKay, Divisional Manager for Property and Growth at Chichester District Council, said: “Pop up shops offer an excellent opportunity for local entrepreneurs to grow their business and talents in the historic streets of Chichester. Despite the pandemic, a wide range of businesses have been starting up in the district, which is really positive and demonstrates confidence in the local economy. Equally, we’ve been delighted to see so many people in the district who are keen to shop local, spend local and support their local businesses.”
Businesses that have already tested the water as part of the council’s Pop Up Shop initiative include a baby equipment and clothing retailer, art galleries and an ice cream parlor.
Pop up shops offer a range of benefits and the council’s scheme aims to:
- provide affordable retail space for independent and start-up businesses;
- draw in new customers and trade;
- enhance the appearance of retail areas;
- encourage the public to shop local, spend local, support local, during the pandemic; and
- help meet the aims of the Chichester Vision by improving choice and offering more opportunities for independent shops.
By following Government guidance, visitors to the high street can remain safe and support the new pop up shops.
Victoria McKay, Divisional Manager for Property and Growth at Chichester District Council, adds: “I would really encourage people to visit our fantastic high streets in Chichester, East Wittering, Midhurst, Petworth and Selsey, to see the variety of shops on offer and to support our local businesses. We encourage people to help keep themselves and others safe by following current Government coronavirus guidance.”
People can find out more about the Pop Up Shop initiative by visiting: Business advice & support. There will be another opportunity for small and start up enterprises to apply for the scheme later this year. The council is encouraging people to support local businesses across the district as part of the support local scheme. People can find out more on the website: Shop Local, Spend Local, Support Local.
22 June 2021
Find Out About the Chamber - 30th July 2021
Are you thinking about joining the Chamber? Would you like to learn more about it?
Join our Chair, Gareth Sear who will talk about the reasons for joining the business community of the Chichester District Chamber and how it can help your business to thrive.
7 Ways to Grow Your Business - 11th August 2021
This webinar will cover the key areas in your business that you can influence and the strategies you can adopt to achieve growth and improvement.
Join Penny Rowden for a 60 minute complimentary webinar
The Business Hothouse offers free support to pre-start and established businesses in the Coast-to-Capital area. From workshops to grant funding, they can provide the expert guidance to get your business growing. For more inforamtion, please go to their website
How to Write an Effective Business Plan - 3rd September 2021
How to Start a Start-up - 7th September 2021
How to Start a Startup for pre-start and early-stage businesses - 25th September 2021
Two, six- hour expert-led sessions that combine to give you all the knowledge you need to get that business idea going or start-up growing.