Cumbria Business School: Experts aid academics to address higher level skills need

Cumbria Business School: Experts aid academics to address higher level skills need name

Committed to addressing the future workforce needs of the regional economy and employers, the University of Cumbria and leading business figures are strengthening the delivery of education and development of work-ready graduates. 

A new external advisory board is providing expert advice and support to leaders of Cumbria Business School, which is part of the university’s Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership (IBIL).  

Members are business leaders and senior figures who are bringing their expertise from across a wide range of industries and areas of strategic leadership and operations. 

University of Cumbria IBIL Director (Academic) Dr Karen Hadley said: “One of our university’s primary aims is to help address the higher-level education and skills needs of the county and regional economies and we’re proud to work with employers in developing and upskilling the workforce now and in the future. We’re already doing this in fields including advanced manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, clean energy, rural, visitor economy and professional services. 

“As innovative, successful and emerging businesses and industries operate in our region and on the world stage, the purpose of this new board is to act as a ‘critical friend’ and provide strategic advice, direction and challenge to the Cumbria Business School. Notwithstanding the benefits this will bring to future business graduates, this will support the school in its engagement with the broader business and related community.” 

Board chairman Barry Leahey MBE is CEO of Playdale Playgrounds and a recently appointed University of Cumbria Professor of Practice. 

“The diverse group is looking forward to supporting the Cumbria Business School,” said Mr Leahey. “Members want to help the business school as it develops its deep and mutually beneficial relationships with employers that are seeking more work-ready graduates and helping the region retain future talent. 

“With world-class career, study and research opportunities available to students, graduates and businesses in Cumbria, members recognise the positive impact they can have to our communities across the area. 

“Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and others are revising plans to address the labour and skills shortages in the county. This university is here for Cumbria and we will work collaboratively to address these issues.”  

Jo Lappin, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s (CLEP’s) Chief Executive said “Increasing higher level skills in Cumbria is one of CLEP’s strategic priorities and as such I welcome the University’s creation of a new external advisory board, which will help the Business School to make sure that it really does meet the needs of our economy and businesses. Currently, the availability of skilled people is a major issue for many of our businesses and this initiative can play an important part in helping to address this.” 

The University of Cumbria has one of the highest levels of graduate employability in the country, with 96 per cent of all its graduates in employment or undertaking further study within 15 months of graduating. 


Other members of the new Cumbria Business School external advisory board are (in alphabetical order):


John Barnett, former senior Vice President/Head of Manufacturing Operations, Calsonic Kansei;

Phil Collier, Cumbria and Lancashire Area Leader, Federation of Small Businesses;

Jennifer Cormack, Sales and Marketign Director, Windermere Lake Cruises;

John Coughlan, CEO TSP Engineering; Chair of the Cumbria LEP Advanced Manufacturing Group;

Dr Kate Dixon, Head of Student Recruitment and Portfolio Development, University of Cumbria;

Sue Goble, Chief Customer Success Officer, Sage;

Dr Karen Hadley, Director (Academic), Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership, University of Cumbria;

Joanne Holborn, Partner, Baines Wilson;

Jacqui Jackson, Partner, Thomas Jardine & Co;

Stephen Leahy, Director, Holbeck Ghyll;

Nigel Mills, CEO, Lakes Distillery;

Jayne Moorby, Marketing Manager, Oxley Group;

Tony Price, former chair and managing director, Sellafield Ltd;

Phil Redfern, Managing Director, REACT Engineering;

Ian Sinker, Director (Employer Engagement and Professional Development), Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership, University of Cumbria;

Andy Towler, Managing Director, The Resilience Group.