Councillor Debra Wicks (Conservative/Hesket Ward) was last night (19 January) appointed as Eden District Council’s Business Ambassador. This is a new role, which seeks to help develop communication and engagement between the business community and the Council, and to promote the forthcoming Apprenticeship Grant Aid Scheme.
Councillor Debra Wicks, said: “I am really looking forward to assisting Councillor Malcolm Smith, the Economy and Planning Portfolio Holder in my new role as Business Ambassador. I will be speaking to representatives of the diverse range of businesses we have in Eden. In common with other areas of the UK, I am aware of the challenges facing the local economy especially as we make a push for growth. Finding ways of funding that growth is not easy in the current climate, but we have a strong entrepreneurial spirit in Eden and a lot of successful small businesses. I am hoping to learn from their experience and spread their good practice to help other businesses improve.
“This year will not be easy economically, but I am determined to work with our partners to make the best of the opportunities available. We have a clear Economic Development Plan for the next two years and I will be trying my best to see that it is delivered.” I recognise the challenges for young people as they move from full time education into the world of work and I will relish the chance to help where I can to improve their chances of an apprenticeship.
Priorities contained in the Council’s Economic Development Plan for the next two years include:
Implementing the Penrith Pedestrian Movement project and other activities through the Vitality of Penrith Group.
Hold four signature events in Penrith town centre per annum
Review and promote regular markets throughout Eden service centres
Marketing the Penrith ‘brand’ and create a dedicated web site for Penrith
Devising a development Plan for Phase 2 of Eden Business Park
Work with the Education Providers to retain and develop the Newton Rigg Campus.
Work with local employers to identify and address their needs and to support the economy. (e.g. promotion of apprenticeships and an employers’ forum)
Develop the rural economy
The Leader of Eden District Council, Councillor Gordon Nicolson, said: “The role of Business Ambassador has been developed with a concise job description to enable the Council to work more proactively with the business community and better understand their needs. It will also drive forward the need for incentives for much needed programmes such as apprenticeship places for local people. Councillor Debra Wicks is a very experienced businesswoman, who will bring a great deal of enthusiasm and skills to the role of Ambassador which will benefit local businesses and the Council.”
For more information about Eden District Council visit www.eden.gov.uk or follow us at www.twitter.com/EdenCouncil
Notes to Editors:
For more Information contact Eden District Council’s Communication Officer tel: 01768 212137.
Biography of Eden District Council’s New Business Advisor, Councillor Debra Wicks
An Eden District Councillor, a Fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management and Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Councillor Debra Wicks, is a conscientious, hard working and enthusiastic business professional who thrives on the challenge of creating and developing new and existing business. To this end, and after being made redundant from her role in recruitment, Councillor Wicks set up Candesco Ltd – her own business consultancy.
Councillor Wicks is an experienced communicator who has held Senior Operations roles and is comfortable dealing with PR, media, budgets, targets, and the management, training and appraisal, of both operational and sales teams. Councillor Wicks’ career history has included working as the:
Sales and Marketing Manager – Carlisle Racecourse – during the development of the new Grandstand. Created and facilitated key events which remain the Racecourses calendar such as Ladies Night, Countryside Day, and Music night. Worked with local business for sponsorship, hospitality etc.
Commercial and Operations Director – Gretna F C (Brooks Mileson) – the club went from Scottish Division 3 to the Scottish Premier League, and played in a Cup Final as well.
Outside of work, Councillor Wicks has led several fund raising programmes – raising over £18,000 for Spinal Research, co-ordinating fund raising to purchase a motor vehicle for a local quadraplaegic gentleman, and most recently devised an event concept, planned and managed the Ready, Steady, Chef event which raised funds for CFM Cash for Kids.
Councillor Wicks has represented Great Britain driving ‘Four in Hand’ in Horse Driving Trials (competing against both George Bowman and George Bowman IV).
Aspirations for the role of Business Ambassador:
In the role of Business Ambassador, working with Councillor Malcolm Smith – Portfolio Holder for Planning and the Economy, Councillor Wicks is keen to work as an effective ‘interface’ between the businesses of Eden and the District Council.
‘Communication is ultimately the key in any relationship – be in between individuals, employers and employees, or local authorities and the business community – and hopefully, in this new role, we can work together to promote Eden for both existing and new businesses”.
Councillor Wicks is also currently chairing the Eden Business Park Review which is looking at the provision of employment land in the Penrith area and how we will attract new business into the area. This is also intrinsically linked to youth employment in the district.
Council roles currently held:
Chair Eden Business Park Review
Vice-Chair Local Economy Review
Member Planning Committee
Member Licensing Committee
Vice-Chair Economy and Environment Panel
Eden District Council Elected Member Business Ambassador Role and Function
To assist the Planning and Economy Portfolio Holder in acting as the appointed representative of the District Council, to understand and liaise with the business community of Eden District and to promote the Apprenticeship Grant Aid Scheme with partners.
The ability to connect with all parts of the business community and partners; to represent everyone fairly, and to balance local concerns with the political demands of the District Council’s corporate priorities.
1.To act as an advocate for the business community and promote appropriate policy responses on behalf of the business community to the Planning and Economy Portfolio Holder and Executive of the District Council.
2. To promote the Council’s Apprenticeship Grant Scheme amongst the business community and work with the Council’s appointed Delivery Agent and partners to achieve the targets set out in the Service Level Agreement between the Council and the Delivery Agent.
3. To act as promoter of the District Council policies amongst the business community and explain the rationale for the development and implementation of District Council adopted policies affecting the business community.
4. To encourage the establishment of an Eden Business Forum (if supported by the local business community) and support local projects and initiatives developed by the Forum.
5. Understand the complex business of local government and services provided both by the District Council and others to the business community and use this knowledge to work in partnership with a range of agencies and interests; developing local action and monitoring service standards in relation to the apprenticeship scheme and the Business Forum.
6. Acquire relevant local intelligence flowing between the business community and the District Council and develop skills to analyse information which in turn can lead to the creation of new policy.
The individual should be creative and self sufficient, capable of using a variety of communication techniques to make and retain contacts throughout the Council and business sector.