Combined authority strengthens leadership team with new skills tsar

Julie Nugent

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) had continued to build its leadership team with the appointment of Julie Nugent as its new director of productivity and skills.

Dr Nugent joins Mayor Andy Street and chief executive Deborah Cadman at the WMCA on the new management team.

She has extensive experience in the productivity and skills sector having held a range of senior roles across government and the further education sector.

She joins the combined authority from the Design and Technology Association, where she is chief executive.

The Warwickshire-based national charity works with schools and employers to promote and develop design, engineering and technology education.

Dr Nugent has particular expertise in financing further education and has led on developing new funding systems for the Skills Funding Agency and the Learning and Skills Council.

Working in the Black Country and Birmingham has also provided her with a keen understanding of the importance of skills in improving economic competitiveness and people’s life chances.

One of the WMCA’s strategic priorities is to close the region’s productivity gap. Ensuring people are equipped with the right skills that match the needs of employers, such as around technology and design, will help to drive economic growth across the region and make the region more competitive.

Dr Nugent said: “I am thrilled to be taking up this role and working with Andy, Deborah and the rest of the team on this ambitious agenda.
“We have an opportunity to build on the West Midlands’ reputation as the workshop of the world to become the engine of the British economy, creating regional jobs, prosperity and economic growth.

“We need to give our residents the skills and training that enables them to benefit from this growth and I look forward to working with the region’s employers, universities and colleges to make this happen.”

WMCA chief executive Deborah Cadman, who has only assumed her role within the past month, said: “I would like to welcome Julie to the WMCA at this crucial time as we grow and focus our capability on improving the lives of people in the West Midlands.

“A key part of that is closing the skills and productivity gap which is why I am so happy to have Julie on board with her excellent industry and education sector background.”