Dr Andy Palmer CMG
The boss of one of the UK's leading car manufacturers has taken up a high profile role with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
Dr Andy Palmer CMG, president and chief executive officer of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd, has agreed to chair the WMCA Productivity and Skills Commission.
An integral theme of the WMCA’s Statement of Intent, and running through the recently published Strategic Economic Plan, is the need for the West Midlands to close the productivity and skills gap between the region, the UK and other international economies.
To meet the ambitious growth targets and transform the lives of those living in the region the local economy needs to be more productive and its workforce more skilled. The WMCA is looking at how to develop the necessary support for the economy, its businesses, and the people of the region in order to improve their skills, productivity and ultimately people’s wellbeing.
Councillor Bob Sleigh, Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “We are extremely privileged to get such a respected industrialist to help us focus our efforts at increasing our productivity and improving the skill of our workforce. I welcome Andy to his new role and look forward to working with him.
“The commission will be calling for evidence to establish the true extent of the productivity and skills challenge in our region. Only when we understand the causes of the productivity and skills challenge can we make the changes we need.
“The recent skills workshop at Aston University was the first step in deciding on the key lines of enquiry for the Commission to ensure there is a focused approached to making the West Midlands nationally and internationally competitive”.
Dr Palmer said: “The region has a glorious history of innovation and productivity. Even now it is home to some of the most prestigious automotive manufacturers. However, it is clear we are falling behind our competitors.
“As a proud Midlander I could not refuse the opportunity to help the region realise its ambitions. Coming from the automotive sector I know there is no one factor behind the recent decline in the region’s productivity.
“However, with increased investment in public infrastructure and a renewed focus on skills and innovation through the WMCA, I am confident that together we can make a difference to the region’s fortunes over the coming years.”
Jonathan Browning, Chair of the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am very pleased that Andy has been appointed Chair of the WMCA’S Productivity and Skills Commission.
“This is a real opportunity for the West Midlands region to raise skills levels, make a significant contribution to raising productivity nationally, deliver more jobs in the area and take a big step towards reclaiming the title of ‘manufacturing workshop of the world."