Paddy Bradley is the new director of the Swindon and Wiltshire Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP). Paddy succeeds Isobel Brown who had been in the role since June 2013.
Paddy began his post on April 11 after serving over seven years as Lead Commissioner for Economy and Attainment at Swindon Borough Council.
He has a predominantly public sector background having served 20 years in government, with a particularly strong background in education and IT and has worked on projects in both the UK and abroad. For the last 12 years Paddy has been involved on a local government level and was the Chief Education Advisor for Portsmouth City Council before moving to Swindon.
Paddy said: “I’m really interested in making a difference to the whole area as the director of the SWLEP, to extend the scope of my work beyond Swindon. I’m passionate about providing clarity on how money is being spent and I’m keen to talk at events and meet local businesses to engage in their needs.
“I want to be part of the fabric of the local business community, but able to maintain a distance due to the SWLEP’s role in allocating public funds. It’s important to me that I convey there is transparency and independence in the way funds are distributed, but I do want to be there to listen to business leaders’ needs.
“One thing I have identified is the SWLEP needs to get better at communicating and work is already under way to do this. The first step in the process is updating our website www.swlep.co.uk Work is in progress to build a new dedicated resource library for business.”
To offer clarity on LEPs and their agenda we thought we would put together a short, simple guide on what they are and how ours is working for us locally.
What is a Local Enterprise Partnership?
Local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses. They were set up in 2011 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area. There are 39 LEPs in operation throughout the UK and the SWLEP is unique in its structure. It’s the only LEP in the country that is scrutinised by the local councils, Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire County Council.
The Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership
The SWLEP comprises of 14 board members and brings both the private and public sectors together with 11 private and three public representatives. All members have to apply to sit on the board and it is stipulated that the chair and vice chair are from the private sector.
Paddy said: “The main aim is to promote and develop Swindon and Wiltshire as the perfect location for businesses to develop and thrive. In order to achieve this, our priorities include; encouraging inward investment, stimulating growth in our local economy, creating jobs and skills and building upon our existing economic infrastructure.
“SWLEP are currently working on a bid to receive funds from a national pot of £4.3 billion to benefit the local area. The bidding is highly competitive and there will be definite winners and losers around the country, so we need to make our case strong.
“We need to submit a bid that demonstrates both private and public sector backing and support funding from the private sector- not just public money. We’re choosing things that are not just nice to do, but really add benefit including skills development, housing, transport and employment.”
-Helping people on the margins of employment more employable with skills free inclusion.
-Support for SMEs to improve employees skills through the Higher Futures programme
-Up-skilling is a major priority of the SWLEP with 100,000 jobs available between now and 2022 requiring people with NVQ Level 4 or above qualifications.
-Helping SMEs compete
-Support to build businesses / sign new contracts etc
-Growth Hub events and seminar support visit www.wiltshirebusinesshub.co.uk for more information.
-Help with funding access. There is a national £818 million loan pot available for both public and private schemes.
– Support to businesses in the low carbon sector, which helps improve our environment and also supports the competitive advantage of the area by ensuring a secure supply of energy from renewable sources.
“90% of businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire are SMEs employing fewer than 10 people and the SWLEP funds business to business support programmes. We understand that time is precious, but events and seminars are available to support SME growth.” Paddy Bradley
-Improvement to main road routes, for example widening single carriageway roads and building new road networks to open up housing developments and employment land.
-Creating safe routes for cycling and walking within urban environments, making them effective and efficient for business population.
-SWLEP have identified that speed is important, but reliability is key.
-Reinvigoration of urban areas like Swindon, Trowbridge, Salisbury, Chippenham and Devizes
-Investment in digital.
-Investment in cultural and heritage projects
-Addressing the retail offer and making it right for the public and for business profit
To find out more about the SWLEP visit: www.swlep.co.uk