02 December 2009

Vice-Chancellor appointed to EEDA board

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan is to become a board member of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

Representing the education sector, Professor Riordan brings his extensive experience in higher education to the EEDA board, whose role is to improve the economy of the East of England. He takes up his appointment on 14 December and will serve for three years.

Vice-Chancellor of the University since 2007, Professor Riordan has been instrumental in driving forward the University’s ambitious growth plans. These include setting up the Essex Business School, the new Southend Campus, which EEDA has also funded, as well as re-launching the Knowledge Gateway (formerly Research Park).

Richard Ellis, EEDA chair said: ‘I welcome Colin’s appointment to the EEDA board. His wealth of experience in the higher education sector and his leadership abilities in new and innovative projects will be essential in helping us improve the skills base in the East of England and support local businesses.

‘Tackling the skills disparities across the region is such an important issue for the region’s economic well-being. We know that strategic investments in skills in Southend, as well as Ipswich and Peterborough, make a massive difference to the economy and local aspirations. We continue to work hard to create new opportunities for local people and businesses.

‘We have worked closely with Professor Riordan on the Southend university facilities, where student numbers have doubled, hundreds of businesses have received support and, as a direct result, there has been investment of £40 million in the High Street from private retail.’

The announcement was made this week by Rosie Winterton, Minister for Regional Economic Development and Co-ordination at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and was welcomed by Barbara Follett, Regional Minister for the East of England.

Barbara Follett said: ‘Colin Riordan's appointment is good news for the economy of the East of England. We need experts like him on our Development Agency’s Board to challenge and shape its vital work. Skills and education are one of the biggest issues facing this region. We have to urgently raise the aspirations of our young people and upgrade the skills of our workforce if we want to continue to compete in an increasingly well qualified world market. I look forward to working with Colin Riordan in these crucial areas.’

Professor Colin Riordan said: ‘I am delighted to be appointed as a member of the EEDA board. I have worked with EEDA on the Gateway building and Clifftown studios projects in Southend and I know the crucial value of partnership working to the success of these investments.’

‘I look forward to using my skills to help to bring businesses and academia closer together for the benefit of innovative companies, employees and the region’s status as a hub for ideas.’

Richard Ellis added: ‘By ensuring that businesses in the region have access to a well-qualified workforce with the appropriate skills, we can drive the economy to the upturn. Supporting the future growth sectors such as bioscience, digital communications and green technologies, is one of our main priorities over the next few years to maintain the region’s global competiveness.’

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