Leading education specialist joins Marches Local Enterprise Partnership

August 29, 2023

A highly experienced manager and academic has joined the board of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.

Dr Simone Clarke, who is Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education and Students at Harper Adams University in Edgmond, Shropshire, was formally appointed to the role at the partnership’s latest board meeting.

She will take on the board’s higher education champion role, as well as working with the other board members on the LEP’s strategic and policy matters.

LEP chair Sonia Roberts welcomed Simone’s appointment. She said: “I’m delighted to welcome Simone to the LEP board. She brings a huge amount of high-level experience and expertise gained across the higher education sector and I know she will be a tremendous asset to the team.

“Our universities and colleges have a major role to play in the growth and development of the business sector in the Marches region and it is vital that we work together for a common purpose. I know Simone will be key to making sure everyone achieves success.”

Dr Clarke joined Harper Adams in 2020 and has spent more than 25 years in higher education management. She achieved a first-class honours degree in history at Aberystwyth University before completing her PhD at the same university.

Dr Clarke said: “I am delighted to join the LEP at such a critical moment for the organisation which is offering strategic leadership and funding for our region to enrich and develop its economic and social life.”

Dr Clarke’s management experience includes governance, research management, strategic and academic planning. She has led successful change management programmes and was the project lead for a Strategic Investment Fund programme of organisational change funded by the former Higher Education Funding Council for England (worth £5.7million).

She also has grassroots business experience as she previously ran her own hospitality business.

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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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