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An interview with: Director of Greater Lincolnshire LEP board, Mandy Watson

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Eleasha Reay Press Releases, AMANDA WATSON

The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has welcomed recruitment expert Mandy Watson as a Director to its board.

Mandy Watson, Founder and Co-Director of Ambitions Personnel, has been added to the board, and brings a specialism in Skills and Employment and her role will also see her shadowing the Employment and Skills Advisory Panel.

CityX spoke to Mandy about her new role and her goals as Director, read below to see what she said:

What are you hoping to achieve as Director of Greater Lincolnshire LEP board?

My goal as a director will be to ensure value for money with the LEP’s investments and schemes. Reducing unemployment will be a priority, so we must work towards creating opportunities for training that will operate as gateways into secure and gainful employment. My other focus, in addition to generating a skilled workforce and talent, is retaining those we already have. The LEP needs to work with Lincolnshire businesses and the community to create these opportunities.

I want Lincolnshire to be on the map as a fantastic place in the UK to live, work and be educated.

How do you think Lincolnshire will bounce back from 2020?

‘Automation’ has long been a word that comes with negative connotations. People believe that it reduces the number of jobs and that stigma has stuck around for too long. I think going forward we must embrace it. We have a fantastic university that has completely transformed since I came to Lincoln in 1990. The recent investments they’ve been making in technology and engineering are a crucial part of how we will improve our economy and retain that exceptional talent for our region.

While automation may reduce the need for some labour, it also creates the need for other work and skilled roles in so many other areas. We must look to retrain and upskill those who will be affected by automation, giving them access to higher-paid, higher-skilled positions. It’s all about bettering our local industries and the people who keep them going.

What challenges is your business facing at the moment?

One of the biggest challenges is certainly the new immigration policies which will come into force in 2021. EU nationals contribute to so much of the UK’s key and essential workforce; however, it has been deemed too low-skilled to allow freedom of movement. Ambitions is going to really be focusing on supporting those registered under the EU settlement scheme to recognise that Lincolnshire is a great place to live and work.

On the other hand, we do need to address the skills shortage in Lincolnshire and work with training providers to ensure highly skilled opportunities are made more readily available to those who look for those positions.

Balancing this will be a complex challenge, but essential for Lincolnshire that we do.

How do you feel about the fact that the agency’s 30th-anniversary celebration couldn’t take place?

We were really looking forward to celebrating such a momentous birthday, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. I’m immensely proud of our incredible staff for their hard work over this challenging time, and we’re looking forward to celebrating next year instead. Maybe 31 is the new 30?

What has this year meant for the recruitment sector in the region?

This pandemic has highlighted which industries are the most resilient. I know for a fact, Ambitions was one of the few agencies in Lincoln to keep our doors open throughout… with distancing and safety measures in place of course!

We’ve seen industries rise and fall throughout this turbulent year, and we can use this experience to future-proof our plans and processes. We can assume that this is a reasonable worst-case scenario for the jobs market and ensure that we’re prepared for any similar downturns in the future.

What is your favourite restaurant in Lincolnshire?

It’s a very tough choice, but I think the White Hart is definitely one of my favourites. We have so many excellent venues and restaurants here it’s hard to choose!