News & Features

Skills to match growth, confidence and opportunity in Torbay

TDA works with businesses across Devon and Somerset to support their start-up and growth. A focus on Torbay shows how the area is reacting to the current business environment and planning for the future.

In partnership with the Torbay Business Forum, TDA develops the Torbay Business Survey to collect the views of the business community to help shape the support they deliver. The survey results reveal the business plans and projections for 2019, their key focus or market and their challenges.

For most, it appears the year ahead is positive with 42.6% looking to expand their business and 7.2% looking to new markets. However, the largest concerns raised were the local economy and staffing and skills.

TDA is addressing these concerns by bringing investment to Torbay, which is creating jobs, attracting more skilled workers and bringing regeneration of key sites.

In Torbay, TDA supported over 120 businesses with growth support in 2018 and is working with 48 potential start-ups already in 2019. This support has seen businesses across Torbay create jobs, reach new markets, including exporting their products overseas, and expand their premises.

64.1% of businesses think their turnover will increase this year, with 50% of businesses experiencing an increase over the last six months. Over a quarter of the businesses believe they will recruit new staff in the next six months.

Skills and employment continues to be a key challenge for Torbay businesses. Torbay’s Apprenticeship Working Group continues to work with employers, education providers and young people to realise the potential of apprenticeships and help business find the skills they need.

Earlier this year, ten targeted events reached over 1,000 people leading to 100 direct enquiries about apprenticeships. TDA and its partners continue to work with local businesses to make the best use of the Apprenticeship Levy and the Torbay Apprenticeships Fair on 10 July will further support employment and skills options for local businesses.

Torbay is home to a world class photonics and microelectronics sector which the Government recognises as a high potential opportunity because of its global offer. With direct access to a core of the UK’s highly skilled professionals and the ability to collaborate with world leading research institutes, the arrival of EPIC is shining a light on the scale and opportunity of this sector.

EPIC is an Electronics and Photonics Innovation Centre which will drive forward commercialisation of emerging technologies. The EPIC concept is to provide a state-of-the-art facility for hi-tech businesses to work, collaborate and grow.

There is a huge opportunity to utilise critical light and electronic based solutions for the connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) industry and 5G. The global CAV technologies market in 2025 is predicted to be worth 63 billion. Torbay is well placed to take advantage of this global opportunity with local companies achieving international recognition for their innovation and development of next generation products.

There are also fantastic opportunities in Torbay’s Fishing, Tourism and Life Science industries.

To find out more about Torbay’s key industries visit

To book onto Torbay’s Apprenticeship Fair visit