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September 2019

Leader’s blog – 18 September

This morning I travelled to Redcar and Cleveland College for a tour of the college and their impressive facilities.  As part of the Stockton Riverside College group they provide a huge range of courses to suit different people from school leavers to those starting their journey into higher education.  It was great to speak to Campus Principal, Jason Faulkner, about the college’s educational offer and find out more about the apprenticeships and training opportunities they provide across the board.

On Thursday morning I will have my regular catch up meeting with Julie Danks and Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall where we will discuss emerging issues within the authority and across Stockton-on-Tees.

Following this I will join Shona Duncan, Head of Education, Employment and Skills at Tees Valley Combined Authority to go over the business ahead of the Tees Valley Combined Authorities’ Education, Employment and Skills Partnership Board meeting on Monday.

Later that day I will meet with Garry Cummings, the Council’s Director of Finance and Business and Councillor Mohammed Javed, Chair of the Task and Finish Group which is reviewing ‘Smarter Working in Stockton – Accommodation and Buildings’ to discuss the outcomes of the review and the committee’s draft recommendations.

I will also join members and senior officers at the Informal Cabinet Briefing where will we discuss items coming before the next Cabinet in October.

Friday will see me meet Steve Rose, Chief Executive of Catalyst for our regular catch up. We have a rich voluntary, community and social enterprise sector across Stockton-on-Tees and it’s always good to meet with Steve to talk about how we, as an authority, can continue to work with and provide support to the VCSE sector.   

On Friday afternoon I am expecting a visit from a Japanese economics professor, Mr Nozawa, who is doing a piece of academic research into City Regions in the UK. He has chosen the Tees Valley and the Combined Authority as one of his case studies and I am pleased to be able to help him with his project.

Monday will see me focus my mind on education issues and the skills agenda as I attend the Tees Valley Combined Authorities’ Education, Employment and Skills Partnership Board at Cavendish House. We have a busy agenda including items on the local industrial strategy, skills advisory panels and digital sector skills.

I am looking forward to a visit to Preston Park Museum and Grounds on Tuesday where I will meet some of the gardening volunteers who work hard to keep the grounds looking lovely.  Preston Park recently created a wild display border for the Harrogate Flower Show so I’ll be interested to learn more about their ‘rewilding’ project which they hope will see some areas of the park’s borders return to nature.

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