A new forum that will address key issues facing Cumbria’s economic growth has met for the first time and includes representation from Furness College.
Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s (CLEP’s) Futures Forum consists of 16 people aged 18-35, who are committed to making sure that their views and that of their peers seriously influence Cumbria’s economic strategy and investment decisions.
The Forum will develop proposals as to how key issues could be addressed, for consideration by the CLEP Board and other governance bodies.
As well as having a say on all aspects of the economic agenda, Futures Forum members are set to receive developmental support, including mentoring, to help them to progress in their careers and equip them to operate at Board level.
Liam Edgley, who is the Student Liaison Officer at Furness College in Barrow and a former Barrow Sixth Form College and Chetwynde School student, is a member of the board.
He said he applied for the LEP role in the hope it would give him a chance to really make a difference and promote youth involvement and empowerment at all levels of decision-making in Cumbria.
“I’m thrilled to say that so far it’s lived up to that! There was such a keen buzz amongst the Futures Forum at that meeting and I know that we’ll be able to make a difference and really benefit Cumbria as a whole. I really look forward to working with my fellow Futures Forum members,” he said.
Andrew Wren, Principal and Chief Executive of Furness College and the CLEP Board Member responsible for championing diversity, said: “We had an excellent first meeting and I was genuinely delighted by the energy, enthusiasm and commitment to making a difference to Cumbria that the Futures Forum members showed.
“We were clear that we wanted members to be as representative of our geography and economic sectors and be well balanced in terms of age and gender and it was evident that we have achieved this”.
He added: “I have agreed to Chair the Forum until members have decided how they want to take this forward themselves.”
Jo Lappin, CLEP’s Chief Executive, said: “On the basis of our inaugural meeting, a clear agenda for action is already developing, with members really keen to explore how they could support CLEP’s work on promoting Cumbria as a great place to live, work and invest; innovation and net zero carbon and clean energy generation. The next meeting will focus on developing thinking around these themes.”
“The Forum will also have an important role in considering CLEP Board papers in advance of each Board meeting, so that their views can be fed back to the Board. I am very much looking forward to the next meeting in March”.
Photo from left (seated): Mitchell McCombe – Copeland Borough Council, Laura Kay – Fairlight Communications, Liam Edgley – Furness College, Ruth Leahy – South Lakeland District Council, Michael Nattrass – Sellafield Ltd., Tiffanie Blair – CCL Solutions. From left (standing): Jason McAleese – Riverside Recruitment, Karla Thomas – Playdale Playgrounds, Ryan Wilkie – CCL Solutions, Emily Bond – Eden District Council, Adam Turley – Baines Wilson, Sophie Hodge – Carlisle Diocese, Daniel Hamilton – Cumbria County Council, Lexie Barton – Lake District Estates, Thomas Shaw – Law Student, Asia Connor – Mountain Goat.