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Commerce and Industry

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LEP Announces New Defence and Security Board

Oliver Tasker (L) from Wilkin Chapman has joined the LEP's Employment and Skills Advisory Panel. Julian Free (R) CBE chairs the LEP's new Defence and Security Board.

The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership has created a new Defence and Security Board to support one of the area’s most important sectors.

Thanks to Greater Lincolnshire’s historic links with the RAF and long-standing history in engineering and manufacturing, the defence and security sector was identified in the LEP’s emerging Local Industrial Strategy as a major opportunity for economic growth.

The Board, which met for the first time today (Thursday), is chaired by Julian Free CBE, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, with support from Vice-Chair Alison Ballard, Head of Audit at BAE Systems.

Julian was Commanding Officer of the 26th Regiment Royal Artillery and Commander of 4th Mechanised Brigade. He served with the British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan and was appointed Commandant of the Joint Services Command and Staff College in 2014. 

The Board aims to influence the Government’s policies to locate more defence and security activities in Greater Lincolnshire, establishing which of the sector’s capabilities should be priority focuses.

It will also seek to establish the size and demographic of Greater Lincolnshire’s ex-defence and security population.

The Defence and Security Board consists of 12 representatives:

  • Julian Free – Chair of Board, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Lincoln, LEP Director
  • Alison Ballard – Vice-Chair of Board, Head of Audit at BAE Systems, LEP Director
  • Suraya Marshall – Air Commodore, Commandant Royal Air Force College Cranwell, LEP Director
  • Kevin Longman – Director of European Programmes, Northrop Grumman Technology Services
  • Harry Leyland – Chief Engineer, Leonardo
  • Tony Burnell – CEO, Metis Aerospace Ltd
  • Dominic Smith – Director of Operations, Eagle Eye Innovations Ltd
  • Tom Marsden – Director of Strategic Growth, Lincoln College Group
  • Kelvin Truss – Head of Strategic Engagement (Air), Lockheed Martin UK
  • Nicholas ‘Flash’ Gordon – Director, TEPIDOIL Ltd
  • Steve Kilvington – Group Captain and Station Commander, RAF Waddington
  • Councillor Richard Davies, Lincolnshire County Councillor and Director, Agincourt Technologies Ltd

Julian said, “The Greater Lincolnshire LEP is establishing a Defence and Security Board to promote the region’s ability to enhance, develop and support Government programmes and private industry in this high-tech, high-value sector. 

“The aim is to establish Lincolnshire as a national defence and security production and service hub, drawing on its strong engineering and innovation tradition, high-skilled workforce which is augmented by significant numbers of well-qualified ex-military and civil service personnel, the University of Lincoln’s research and development capability, and an increasing concentration of large, medium and small defence and security enterprises in the region. 

“The basing of the UK and NATO Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Force at RAF Waddington provides just one example of the high-tech capabilities being supported by national and local companies providing innovative new capabilities, research and development, service and maintenance, logistic and supply chain facilities. 

“As these companies connect, expand and better understand the wider defence and security requirement and the other capabilities located locally, we will see greater public and private inward investment and the creation of more high-value, better-paid jobs.”

In a separate appointment, Oliver Tasker, a Partner at Wilkin Chapman, has joined the LEP’s Employment and Skills Advisory Panel.

The Panel comprises volunteers representing employers, the public sector, and training organisations. It is employer-led to ensure that work is driven by the needs of employers and that future skills provision meets the needs of employers and the local economy.

It oversees the delivery of the LEP’s skills and employment schemes, including its work with schools to highlight the growth of exciting careers in sectors such as defence and security.

Oliver said: “It’s a great honour to be appointed to the Greater Lincolnshire LEP Employment and Skills Advisory Panel. I am passionate about promoting and enhancing the reputation of the Greater Lincolnshire region and this position represents an ideal opportunity to play a key part in influencing national policy for the benefit of our area.”

He added, “I am aware of the challenges that businesses face both in my position as Partner at Wilkin Chapman Solicitors, a prominent employer in the region, but also through advising local businesses on employment law issues. This will help me share key insight to ensure Lincolnshire businesses thrive and succeed through securing a skilled workforce for the future.”

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