Home / Uncategorized

North East LEP seeks new board member

As Chair of the North East LEP, I head up a board of talented representatives from the region’s private, public and education sectors. Alongside the Leaders and Elected Mayors from each of our seven local authority areas, the board members help to guide the strategy and direction of the North East LEP.

We’re now seeking a new board member who has the passion to help us drive forward the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for the region, bringing economic growth to the North East.

It’s an exciting time to join us here at the LEP, as we continue to make progress towards our target of adding 100,000 more and better jobs to the region’s economy by 2024.

Already, since we launched the SEP three years ago, we’ve added more than 55,000 new jobs to the regional economy and we believe that, working together with the wider business community, we can achieve our ambitious targets for growth.

Our board members are champions for the region and we are fortunate to have some of the North East’s leading figures in business and education already working with us. Their experience, insight, and belief in the North East is vital to our work.

This is a truly exciting opportunity for a representative of the region’s private sector to join the board and we are looking forward to welcoming a new member to play an active role in supporting the economic growth of our region.

So if you have a detailed understanding of the challenges and opportunities which face us here in the North East; proven business experience and a strong insight into a range of business sectors; and the commitment to help us bring more and better jobs to the region, then we want to hear from you.

Board members are appointed for an initial term of three years, with the option to serve up to six years. This non-executive post is not remunerated. A detailed job description can be viewed here.

To find out more about the opportunity, contact Jim Allcroft at NRG on 0191 260 4483 / 07968 862 638 or by email to [email protected]


Andrew Hodgson, Chair, North East LEP

Home / Uncategorized

Building Our Industrial Strategy – a response from the North East

The  recent Green Paper, Building Our Industrial Strategy, sets out Government’s proposed approach to creating an industrial strategy that addresses long term challenges to the UK economy,  aiming to increase productivity and drive growth across the whole country.

The Green Paper aims to identify where proactive Government intervention can:

  • Build on UK economic strengths and extend excellence into the future in order to secure investment and develop markets for UK goods and services
  • Close identified performance gaps between sectors, companies and areas
  • Ensure that the UK is the most competitive place to start and build a business

During a three month consultation period, the Government invited responses to the proposed strategy The North East LEP, working together with the North East Combined Authority and in consultation with business organisations and other partners, put forward a response.

Richard Baker, Head of Strategy and Policy at the North East LEP, introduces the key elements of our response.

The Government proposed that a UK-wide industrial strategy is required if we’re to successfully increase productivity and competitiveness in the UK economy. We welcomed the opportunity to have an input to the proposed strategy

We drew on the extensive consultation and discussions the North East LEP has had with economic partners across the North East region. Much of this discussion has taken place as we’ve worked to refresh the North East’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), which sets out the strategic direction for the regional economy. The timing is important given the decision to leave the European Union, and it is important that we prepare for the opportunities and challenges”

Indeed, the anticipation that a national industrial strategy would be developed was one of the elements which informed the development of the SEP, which sets out clearly evidence of the region’s industrial strengths, innovation and business growth opportunities.

In our response to Government we identified 10 key issues and set out recommendations focused on the following areas:

  1. The importance of the North East SEP in setting a direction for our economy
  2. Measuring success of the industrial strategy
  3. Preparing for leaving the European Union
  4. Sector deals
  5. Promoting and resourcing innovation in the North East
  6. Supporting our business growth ecosystem
  7. Improving skills to drive growth
  8. A long term framework for public investment
  9. Improved infrastructure for enhanced productivity and investment
  10. Robust, collaborative and multi-level governance

We’re making good progress towards the North East LEP’s aim of creating more and better jobs in the North East, driving forward the region’s economy and building on our strengths as a region. It’s our belief that, as the North East SEP is implemented, it will make  a strong contribution to the UK’s overall industrial development and will continue to cement the North East’s position as one of the UK’s fastest growing regional economies. The Industrial Strategy provides a significant opportunity for ensuring it is delivered

Read the full, detailed list of recommendation

Download the North East LEP and North East Combined Authority’s full response to the Green Paper

Home / Uncategorized

North East LEP appoints new senior economist

We have appointed highly experienced professional Victoria Sutherland as its new senior economist.

Victoria will lead the LEP’s work to analyse the North East’s economic performance, to ensure that decisions and work programmes are based on solid statistical data and trends.

She has an impressive track record in carrying out economic development research, evaluation and strategy development for national, regional and local bodies in her previous role as Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow’s Training and Employment Research Unit.

Victoria’s clients included the European Commission, Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and local authorities.

Victoria has worked on high profile projects across Scotland over the past 18 years, including helping develop a skills investment plan for the Scottish tourism sector, reviewing the market for micro-finance and evaluating the impact of the European Social Fund.

Victoria, who is moving from Glasgow to Northumberland, said:

My role at the North East LEP is to help develop a stronger understanding of the trends that underpin the changing regional economy.

I’m here to help the LEP and its partners make effective use of  the evidence base in deciding about how best to grow the North East’s economy.

I’m joining the team at a key stage with the launch of the refreshed Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) last month. The SEP provides a clear vision for the North East economy and economic evidence will have a strong input into helping achieve its vision.

Born in Ayrshire, Victoria went to school in Kent and graduated with an MA (Hons) in Economics from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

She also worked as a research officer with the Combat Poverty Agency in the Republic of Ireland – a programme of work which helped influence Irish government policy on tackling poverty and social exclusion.

Helen Golightly, North East LEP executive director, said:

Victoria’s extensive experience of working with major public sector organisations will help us and our partners further develop our evidence base, better informing our decision making.

We are delighted to be able to introduce her skills to our team which will be of great importance as we make fresh investments into the region and work with partners to design programmes and interventions which can deliver more and better jobs.


Home / Uncategorized

North East LEP Budget reaction

Richard Baker, North East Local Enterprise Partnership Head of Strategy and Policy, today gave his reaction to The Budget delivered by Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

“The Chancellor was able to report optimistic and positive longer term forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility, but is clearly cautious about the risks to the economy of shorter term uncertainty,” said Richard.

He added: “We welcome the continuing focus on building productivity and employment.

“The announcements on technical skills and lifelong learning are the right focus to ensure that our labour market can respond to changing technologies and demographics, following on from the Autumn Statement focus on innovation and infrastructure.

“The announcement of £270m from the Autumn Statement’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund into new technologies such as robotics, biotech and driverless vehicles will present specific opportunities for our North East economy.

“These themes are identified in the North East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan, as is the opportunity for securing additional funds towards enhanced broadband and 5G connectivity.”

Home / Uncategorized

North East LEP board discusses Industrial Strategy with minister

Energy and Industry Minister Jesse Norman met with North East Local Enterprise Partnership board members and toured a leading manufacturer today in a visit to discuss the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper.

LEP Chair Andrew Hodgson told the minister in the meeting at subsea specialist SMD’s Wallsend base how priorities in the region’s Strategic Economic Plan anticipate many of those in the Government’s proposed industrial blueprint to fuel new UK economic growth.

The minister was visiting the North East as part of a series of meetings with businesses and LEPs across the country to outline the Government’s Industrial Strategy proposal.

The Industrial Strategy is a vital part of the plan for Britain as set out by Prime Minister Theresa May.

It will look to drive growth across the United Kingdom, using major new investments in infrastructure and innovation delivery to drive prosperity, creating more highly-skilled, high paid jobs and opportunities.

Energy and Industry Minister Jesse Norman said:

Our Industrial Strategy is at its best when it draws on the unique strengths of different areas and communities across the country.

The North East LEP is clearly focused on investing in areas of world-class business strength in the region. Through our ambitious Industrial Strategy Green Paper, we have committed to supporting growth across the North East and the rest of the UK, using new investment in skills, infrastructure and research to help create better skills, better jobs and better opportunities.

Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Chair and SMD CEO, said:

The LEP board was delighted to seize the opportunity to meet with the minister to learn more about the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

We are encouraged that many of its key aims – for example developing skills and investment in science, research and innovation – align with the North East’s priorities to boost economic growth as set out in our Strategic Economic Plan.

The meeting was an important opportunity for the LEP to reinforce the North East’s crucial economic contribution to the Northern Powerhouse, wider UK economy and how regional business and partners are signed up to the SEP to drive forward new economic prosperity.

Mike Jones, Deputy CEO of SMD and MD of SMD China, talked with the minister about how the Industrial Strategy will impact on business. He said,

As a UK-based manufacturing company with customers worldwide, there is a great deal in the Industrial Strategy that impacts very directly on our business.


For example, one of the main pillars of the strategy is a commitment to invest in science, research and innovation.  In our meeting today we’ve briefed the minister on the progress made by Team Tao; a collaboration between Soil Machine Dynamics and Newcastle University.  Team Tao is the UK’s sole representative in the semi-final stage of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the prestigious international competition which challenges teams to design and build new ways to map the ocean floor at depths and to a resolution never previously achieved.


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates the ocean economy could be valued at US$3 trillion by 2030 so our work has great significance in the context of the Industrial Strategy and the UK’s long-term economic prosperity.


We’ve also stressed to the minister the importance of the UK establishing and retaining trade agreements that enable international businesses such as our own to compete on a level playing field wherever there is a market for our services.


As the UK prepares to exit the European Union and with a new administration in the United States, now more than ever before business and government need to work together to ensure our international competitiveness.

Home / Uncategorized

Derwentside College Principal and Chief Executive joins North East LEP Board

Karen Redhead, Principal and Chief Executive of Derwentside College in Consett, County Durham, has been appointed to the Board of the North East LEP.

Karen joins entrepreneur, Ammar Mirza CBE, as the Board’s newest members following the departure of Jon Vincent and Jeremy Middleton.

Karen said:

I’m delighted to be joining the Board at the North East LEP, particularly in my role as North East representative of the Association of Colleges.

I know first hand the positive impact Further Education colleges have in our region when it comes to preparing learners for the workplace and employment. The work we do aligns very well with the priorities of the North East LEP.

I’ll be acting on behalf of all ten Further Education colleges in my role as Board member to ensure we achieve the goals set our in the region’s strategic economic plan. I’m a passionate believe in collaboration and I’ve always been keen to ensure our curriculum offer supports regional and national priorities.

It’s a very exciting time to be joining the North East LEP Board, particularly as there is so much fantastic work being done to improve skills in the North East.

Having held senior positions in colleges across the region, including three years in her current role as Principal and Chief Executive at Derwentside College, Karen brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Further Education sector.

A software engineering graduate with a Masters Degree in Strategy and Resource Management, Karen has held Deputy Principal roles at Stockton Riverside College, Derwentside College and was Vice Principal at South Tyneside College.

Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Chair, said:

Addressing the skills agenda in the North East is a key part of our strategic economic plan. I have no doubt, thanks to Karen’s skills and experience in this area, that she will play an important role in helping to shape and deliver this work.

“We’re already delivering innovative work in schools and colleges across the North East through the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot. With the support of Karen and the rest of the Board, our ambition is to build a workforce in the North East that is equipped with the skills we need to grow our economy and create more and better jobs.

Derwentside College is the largest provider of apprenticeships in the North East and one of the largest in the country. Additionally, it is the largest regional provider of higher apprenticeships. It supports its learners, both school leavers and adults, to progress into sustained employment and build successful careers.

Further Education colleges across the North East provide high quality technical and professional education and training for young people, adults and employers. They prepare students and apprentices with valuable qualifications and skills for the workplace enhancing life chances, enabling social mobility and improving productivity.

Home / Uncategorized

Respected businessman Ammar Mirza elected to North East LEP board

A serial entrepreneur acclaimed for his work championing the region’s Asian business community has been elected onto the board of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Ammar Mirza CBE replaces Jeremy Middleton who stood down from the board in September.

Ammar is a leadership, management and business management consultant through his company AmmarM (UK) Limited and has an infectious passion for the North East.

He has helped establish hundreds of new businesses in the North East with interests and investments across a number of sectors.

As chairman and founder of Asian Business Connexions (ABC), a not for profit social enterprise, he has helped make a major social and economic contribution to community cohesion and economic growth.

The organisation connects, supports and promotes Asian companies, using its expertise to deliver best business practice for its members.

Ammar already has two years’ experience as a member of the LEP’s Business Growth Board, where he has worked hard to develop a cohesive business ecosystem that helps firms start up and sustain growth through collaboration with other companies. He said:

I am delighted to play a more active role in supporting the economic growth of our region.  The North East has some incredible strengths and the LEP offers a great opportunity to positively exploit these for the benefit of the whole community.

Since I have been involved in the LEP through the Business Growth Board I have seen first-hand the positive impact, through active partnership working, the organisation has had on helping create more and better jobs.

Through my experience, expertise and network I look forward to making more of a contribution to help create an environment where SMEs thrive.

Andrew Hodgson, North East LEP Chair, said: “Ammar is a highly respected and talented businessman with a deep knowledge of the regional economy through his entrepreneurial activities and promotion of the Asian business community in particular.

“He understands the North East LEP and its strategic economic development agenda and will be a hugely beneficial appointment to our board.”

Simon Hanson, FSB Development Manager, said: “We’re delighted to see Ammar’s appointment to the North East LEP Board which will ensure that the voice of smaller businesses is heard and acted on.

“Ammar brings huge experience and a driving passion to ensure that the North East remains the best place to start, develop and grow a business.”

Home / Uncategorized

New senior appointment strengthens North East LEP and NECA relationship

A top appointment to lead the corporate and strategic management of the North East Combined Authority is strengthening its ties with the North East LEP.

Helen Golightly, the LEP’s Chief Operating Officer, is the new interim Head of Paid Service at the North East Combined Authority (NECA).

Helen is highly respected both at a regional and national level, with more than 25 years’ experience in public and private sector roles leading major investment programmes in business transformation, regeneration and economic development.

Her appointment will cement relationships between the two organisations who are committed to delivering the aims of the North East’s Strategic Economic Plan, which seeks to create 100,000 more and better jobs over the next decade.

The North East Combined Authority brings together the seven councils which serve County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Its ambition is to create the best possible conditions for growth in jobs, investment and living standards, to make the North East an excellent location for businesses to invest and grow, and residents to live and benefit from future economic growth.

The North East LEP is a public private partnership leading and driving the delivery of the North East Strategic Economic Plan. This plan sets out how the region can create more and better jobs to grow the regional economy and secure funding into the North East for major investments.

Helen said: “Both NECA and the North East LEP are focused on growing the North East economy and I am looking forward to working with both organisations to drive the agenda forward.

“My new role is to help both organisations deliver on the key areas of the Strategic Economic Plan, which focus on growing the number and size of our businesses, creating jobs, improving access to and the quality of our skills and investing in transport and infrastructure.”

The appointment was welcomed at this week’s meeting of the NECA Leadership Board.

Councillor Paul Watson, Chairman of the North East Combined Authority and Vice Chair of the NE LEP, said: “Helen’s new joint-role with NECA and the NE LEP is very much part of our partnership approach here in the North East.

“Both NECA and the NE LEP have major strategic roles in the region and this is a ground-breaking appointment.

“By working together more, we can attract more investment, make more health improvements, upgrade our transport networks, and help increase wealth and prosperity for everybody in our region.

“This is a very real partnership that is working for everybody in the North East.”

Home / Uncategorized

Email update

Emails are now working. If you have been in touch over the last week, we will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

Thank you