Efforts to drive up skills levels in Norfolk and Suffolk are to be led by Claire Cullens, the new chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Skills Advisory Panel.
Claire has experience in the area as chief executive officer of Norfolk Community Foundation and is looking forward to taking over in her new position. During her time in Norfolk, she has been active in the voluntary sector as a Business Mentor for the Prince’s Trust and a governor at the Hewett School in Norwich.
“With a career background working with skills and opportunity and recognising the vital role that skills play in an inclusive economy, I am delighted to take on this role,” said Claire. “I look forward to working with a talented and focused team and making a difference.”
The LEP’s Skills Advisory Panel exists to support the growth of an inclusive economy with a highly skilled workforce where skills and employment provision meets business need and the aspirations of individuals.
It oversees the development of a skills and employment system to help enable business growth and enhance the employment and progression prospects for people working and living in the region.
The panel has four strategic objectives: driving skill progression for the workforce, providing agile and responsive training for key sectors, equipping young people for success and tackling barriers to employment.
Sector Skills Plans have been produced and these will identify the main needs of our sectors, as well as a set of agreed actions to help ensure these are met.
Richard Bridgman, a member of the Skills Advisory Panel, said Claire’s selection as the new chair was a “very astute appointment” by the board.
“Having personally served on the Skills Board myself for many years, her appointment will bring a fresh approach with her skills and wealth of knowledge from her previous and current positions,” he said. “We still have a skills shortage across manufacturing and this post is essential to have a strong chair to help drive and find solutions.”
Outgoing chair Paul Winter said he had enjoyed his two years overseeing the New Anglia LEP Skills Board, but the transition to Skills Advisory Panels was a sensible time to hand over to a new chair.
“In the last two years I have been pleased with the progress we have made in enhancing skills and employability in Suffolk and Norfolk,” said Mr Winter.
“The new Government has rightly highlighted the improvement in skills as being one of its priorities post-Brexit. New Anglia is well placed to meet that challenge. I wish Claire Cullens a successful and rewarding time as chair.”