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A high-level appointment to promote the importance of developing skills in the region has been made by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Michelle Duggan has joined the organisation as skills adviser, to bring renewed focus to the crucial issue of developing skills for people of all ages and professions in the North East, and to play a central role in creating the LEP’s Skills Action Plan.

Michelle has previously held key roles at the Government Office for the North East and regional development agency One Northeast, and joins the LEP from Durham County Council, where she was Principal Economic Development Officer.

She joins the North East LEP – a business-led organisation to stimulate economic growth in the North East – at a key time in the development of the Skills Action Plan, which is being created to set out a way to allow both the public and private sector build on and improve their commitment to developing skills in the region.

The plan will be created by the North East LEP in collaboration with employers, education and training providers and other key stakeholders. A strong relationship with all partners is essential for the Skills Action Plan to be a success.

Michelle said: “I am delighted to join the LEP and to help put the focus firmly on skills. The Skills Action Plan has the potential to be massively significant in helping to develop skills at every level, and absolutely critical to its success is having the right kind of business engagement. Through doing that, we can start to address the immediate needs of employers as well as the future needs of the economy.

“Skills at all levels are essential to the development of people, as well as economic performance. It is vital we develop the skills of the existing workforce, particularly in our key sectors as well as those of young people to ensure we do not have a skills gap once current workers leave their roles.

“I am looking forward to producing the Skills Action Plan and engaging with businesses across the North East, to ensure that we create something that has a positive impact on the skills of people in the region now and in the future.”

Edward Twiddy, director of the North East LEP, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Michelle to the team, someone who has a huge amount of experience and awareness of the importance of skills in growing economic performance.

“The Skills Action Plan is an important strategy and one we know will have a significant and positive impact on public and private sector organisations. We are committed to making skills an absolute priority and to effectively engaging with businesses, and are confident that Michelle will drive this forward with great success.”

Further information from Christine Holland, Holland PR & Marketing Ltd. Tel 01670 790246 or 07711 698246.

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