A leading business figure has predicted that Coventry and Warwickshire can recover from the blow of the Peugeot closure at Ryton - provided that economic support is properly planned.

Brian Woods-Scawen, chairman of the public and private sector Coventry, Soli-hull and Warwickshire Partnership, said that targeted training and investment would see the 2,300 jobs replaced over time. "Tuesday was a very sad day for the workers and families involved but now the challenge is to build the skills

and infrastructure which will allow the sub-region to create the jobs of tomorrow," he said yesterday. "That can only be done if there is the right investment in skills, transport and our two universities.

"People who were employed by Triumph, Massey Ferguson and Herberts found work and there is no doubt that sectors such as ICT, medical technologies, manufacturing and service industries could provide the new jobs.

"This region has undergone great change in the last few years and we have to support the workers in re-skilling and in their job seeking and also be very much aware that this has caused great pain.

"In the short term there is a great need to help as many Ryton employees as possible into training and into work as quickly as possible, and the colleges, universities, ourselves, the Chamber, JobCentre Plus and the local author-ities will all come together to help make that happen.

"Recent announcements concerning the future of the former Jaguar Browns Lane plant show that there can be a future for these sites to create employment.

"We would also expect Peugeot Citroen to help in that end a s socially responsible employers with a considerable heritage in this region.

"Over the medium term I am optimistic that with the right emphasis and investment, the jobs will come.

"We are fortunate in having two very good universities in this area and they are both doing work which will help engineer the change in the economy which will help drive us forward to what could, in time, be a bright future."