The Solent LEP has today announced key developments in its work to support the Solent economy of the future; the creation of The Solent Cluster and new funding to develop skills in the region.
Building on the success of its work to date, which has seen the LEP enable the delivery of nearly 14,000 new homes, 6,000 new jobs, skills support for over 22,000 new learners and nearly £1 billion of additional investment, the Solent LEP working with ExxonMobil and University of Southampton, has established The Solent Cluster - a new partnership between the public, private, academic and research communities designed to spearhead the Solent in becoming a leading centre for low carbon investment that will grow the regional economy, protect skilled jobs, and create new employment opportunities in the energy technologies and industries of the future.
Alongside this, the LEP has also been successful in securing over £1.2m from the Department for Education (DfE) to support skills bootcamps in the Solent. Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks for adults aged 19 or over, and are primarily aimed at delivering flexible training that is co-designed with employers to respond to skills shortages. In the Solent, skills bootcamps will focus on areas including Digital Marketing, Software Development, Maritime Transport and Logistics, Care Services, Creative Business Management and Administration, Green Skills and Catering and Hospitality. Further details in relation to skills bootcamps in the Solent will be released shortly.
The Solent LEP has also confirmed changes to its senior management team as part of delivering the new initiatives. Anne-Marie Mountifield, current Chief Executive of the Solent LEP, will retire from her role as Chief Executive in August 2023 and, working with other founding partners, will continue to support the work of the Solent Cluster. Anne-Marie will also continue in her role as Chair of Maritime UK Solent - the regional cluster for the sector in the Solent established by the LEP to champion the Solent's world-leading maritime capability on a national and international stage. Stuart Baker, LEP Business Development Director and Managing Director of Maritime UK Solent, will be the LEPs nominated director on The Solent Cluster. Following the recent Spring Budget, the Solent LEP is currently awaiting the outcome of a Government consultation on the future of LEPs and Deputy Chief Executive, Richard Jones, will be appointed as acting Chief Executive during this transition period.
Announcing her retirement, Anne-Marie said: "I started my career with Solent LEP in 2010 and I have had a wonderful journey here working with a hugely supportive and inspirational board, great team members, a truly brilliant senior management team and of course fantastic local partners. As someone who was born in the local area, I recognise how privileged and lucky I have been to be given the opportunity to work in a leadership role for an organisation that has led a programme of transformational activity that has undoubtedly improved businesses and communities across the Solent. It is with a great sense of pride that I view the LEPs local growth programme and the investment in jobs, homes and skills that will benefit our community in the years ahead. I am very much looking forward to leading the development of Maritime UK Solent and supporting The Solent Cluster in the next phase of our work to strengthen the Solent economy. Our world-leading marine and maritime sector and our aspirations for decarbonisation are critical components of the vision for the area and I am delighted that we have the strong backing of industry partners in the area to take forward this work in the Solent."
Rachael Randall, Solent LEP Chair, said: "The vision is for the Solent to be a globally leading maritime cluster and at the forefront of innovations to adapt to climate change, with towns and cities that are fantastic places to live, trade and with opportunities for all our communities to flourish. Our work with partners through The Solent Cluster and ensuring we have the right skills across our communities to enable our businesses to prosper will be critical to achieving this vision moving forward. These are the first of a number of positive announcements we plan to make for the Solent economy in the coming months and we believe that there is a very bright future ahead for our economy as we look forward to continuing to work with partners across the area to deliver this."
"On behalf of the Solent LEP, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to Anne-Marie for more than a decade working at the highest level to help shape the future of our local economy. Her commitment to the Solent area has been exceptional and integral to the success that has been delivered in the Solent by the LEP, and we are delighted to be able to continue working with Anne-Marie through The Solent Cluster and Maritime UK Solent moving forward."
Anne-Marie has been Solent LEP Chief Executive since the formation of the company in 2011 and, prior to this, was Chief Executive of the Partnership for South Hampshire where, during 2010, she supported the bid to establish the LEP.
Further information on The Solent Cluster, including the Charter and how organisations can become a member, is available on the Solent Cluster website.
Further information on Maritime UK Solent, including information on the current opportunity to get involved in the 2023 Maritime UK Solent Awards, is available on the Maritime UK Solent website.
Details in relation to Skills Bootcamps in the Solent will be published shortly on the Solent LEP website.
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