14 January 2022

Dorset LEP welcomes four new board members

Profile images of new board members, top left to bottom right: May Palmer, Paul Gough, Liz Williams, Phil Sayles

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) enters the new year with the arrival of four new board members: May Palmer, Dr Liz Williams, Prof Paul Gough and Phil Sayles.

The new members come from a variety of backgrounds in skills, education, business support, international affairs and housing, and continue Dorset LEP’s legacy for having a varied and business-led Board of Directors.

In playing an active role to help deliver strategies for Dorset such as the Dorset Investment Prospectus, Dorset LEP’s Board represents the views and opinions of Dorset’s business, education and public sectors. As the decision-makers, Dorset LEP’s board members play an important role in the organisation’s successes.

To date, Dorset LEP has secured £170.5 million of government funding which has been invested in 74 projects across Dorset, developing skills and careers education by working with more than 70 schools, while also supporting more than 4,500 businesses grow and expand their offering at home and overseas, adapt to challenges of the pandemic and Brexit, and deliver a series of workshops for SME leaders. Dorset businesses have also been supported in securing more than £1.5 million of Innovate UK funding through its bid writing service.

The new Board members join Dorset LEP at an exciting time as the organisation looks to implement innovate approaches supporting regional strategies, such as the Dorset Low Carbon Opportunities document and Local Skills Report.

Dorset LEP’s new business leader experts

Managing Director of Wimborne-based family-run construction business, Harry J Palmer Holdings Ltd, May Palmer is an experienced business leader in the housing industry. May said: “I am absolutely delighted to take on the role of board member and look forward to supporting Dorset LEP’s ambitions in championing and strengthening Dorset’s economy, and in particular, seeking solutions for affordable housing across the region.”

Dr Liz Williams, from Gillingham, North Dorset, is an international affairs specialist passionate about business, technology and education. She said: “I’m looking forward to supporting Dorset LEP in its ongoing development in improving opportunities for entrepreneurs, SMEs and nurturing the talent of Dorset’s future workforce.”

Professor Paul Gough, Vice-Chancellor of Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), is an experienced international higher education leader as well as a painter, author and broadcaster. On his appointment, Paul shared: “Education, skills and creating opportunity are at the heart of AUB's values and chime with the ambitious programme of work led by Dorset LEP. I am delighted to be able to join forces with such excellent company."

Newly appointed as Principal and CEO of Bournemouth & Poole College, Phil Sayles, also joined Dorset LEP this January, bringing a wealth of curriculum leadership experience and a passion for future solutions to skills and learning to the board. Phil said: ““Having worked with LEPs in two other parts of the UK, I understand and support the great outcomes that they can achieve. I am looking forward to contributing to this in Dorset as a member of the Dorset LEP Board”.

Chair of Dorset LEP, Cecilia Bufton said: “These exciting new appointments are bringing their expertise to us at a crucial time for Dorset LEP. Over the next year our focus will be on levelling up opportunities to drive talent, innovation and productivity in the region as well as identifying investment opportunities to strengthen Dorset’s economy. We’re committed to ensuring people living, working and studying in the beautiful county of Dorset have equal access to affordable homes, education and skills opportunities, careers and business support – our new board members are primed to help us do just that, and I’m delighted to welcome them to the team.”

Emma Hunt and Diane Grannell pass on their Board of Director mantles, having moved on to new ventures.

Cecilia continued: “The dedication and passion of Emma and Diane will be missed by the board and I thank them for the initiatives they have supported, committees, meetings and events they have attended for Dorset LEP and the achievements made possible as a result of their hard work. On behalf of the board, I wish them all the best in their futures.”

Find out more about the work of the Dorset LEP board online and look out for further opportunities to join the board and work with Dorset LEP in the coming months: www.dorsetlep.co.uk/our-board.

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