Fact-finding college tour for new LEP chief executive

November 12, 2021

The new chief executive of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership visited Telford College for a fact-finding tour. 

Rachel Laver said she was keen to see some of the skills projects which have been funded by the partnership

Construction students demonstrated software in the college’s virtual and augmented reality suite, which is being used to help them identify potential hazards before going out on site. 

“I am really keen to understand the skills challenges locally and see how the Investing in our Future Workforce projects, funded by the LEP, are benefitting students and meeting local employer needs,” Rachel said.  

“We have provided £4.97m of Local Growth Funds to improve training facilities across the Marches, of which in excess of £500,000 went towards part-funding the new virtual and augmented reality training suite at Telford College which is a fantastic facility”. 

“It was good to meet up with Graham Guest, who joins our LEP board this month, and discuss how we can work together to address these challenges and develop a comprehensive Local Skills Improvement Plan, which works for students and for employers across the region.” 

The Telford College LEP funded project has delivered 152 apprenticeships and assisted 3,992 new learners by contract completion on 31 March 2021.  

Rachel, who has succeeded Gill Hamer in the new role, was previously director of programmes at Cheshire and Warrington LEP where she managed more than £240 million of funding. 

Telford College principal and chief executive Graham Guest will be officially joining the LEP board later this month as chair of its Skills Advisory Panel. 

He said: “As a further education college, we have a responsibility to respond quickly and effectively to the changing needs of the local business community. 

“I’m looking forward to developing a closer than ever working relationship with Rachel and her colleagues at the LEP, as well as other local business support organisations. 

“It is vital to ensure that our curriculum and facilities here at Telford College are closely aligned with the needs of local employers”. 

“The Government clearly wants to see further education more closely aligned with the needs of employers, playing a pivotal role in the local economy”. 

“Here at Telford College, we’re already doing this. Not only have we aligned our curriculum to the needs of local employers, we’ve also set up a series of specialist skills hubs to encourage closer partnership working – with more on the way.” 

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk | email: enquiries@marchesgrowthhub.co.uk.

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: www.marchescareershub.co.uk | email: info@marchescareershub.co.uk

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact: gary.spence@shropshire.gov.uk

For any finance queries please contact: michelle.hodgkiss@shropshire.gov.uk

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact: Camilla.Mulholland@evelyn.com

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