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Julie Gilhespie: working for Tees Valley CA

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Tees Valley CA has made huge progress since its creation almost three years ago.

The landmark election of the region’s first Metro Mayor in May 2017 has led to an increasing amount of devolved powers and funding coming into practical effect across a range of sectors, resulting in a growing number of officers, from 60 to 94 today.

These responsibilities from government, covering transport, infrastructure, education, employment and skills, business investment, culture, tourism and housing, give us a significant opportunity to accelerate growth, with scope to make a real difference to the businesses and people of Tees Valley.

And we’ve made good progress. Our officers have been invaluable in delivering one large piece of work undertaken with our local authorities and business leaders, resulting in a ten-year £588m investment plan. The plan outlines our key spending priorities until 2029 and includes the acquisition of our regional Durham Tees Valley Airport, bringing it back into public ownership.

The plan also includes provision for the purchase of more than half of all developable land at the South Tees Development Corporation site from Tata Steel. The development corporation, launched by the Prime Minister in October 2017, is the first of its kind outside of Greater London and the 4,500-acre development site is the biggest investment opportunity in the UK today.

Our education, employment and skills team will soon be responsible for a devolved £29.5m per annum adult education budget. They have also launched the Inspiring our Future education strategy and a £3m TeesValleyCareers.com initiative to engage 1,000 of the region’s businesses with our 100,000 young people.

A dedicated combined authority team was also created to manage the area’s first destination and marketing service in seven years – Enjoy Tees Valley. This has helped the region secure major events, including becoming a venue for Rugby League World Cup 2021, this year’s Great North CityGames and concerts for Take That and Jess Glynne – all set to add millions to the local visitor economy.

We are leading the way in innovation and research. Working with some of the biggest oil and energy companies in the world, we are developing a pioneering multibillion-pound gas-powered energy plant to deploy full-chain carbon capture, utilisation and storage. We also prepared and won a bid t the government to bring hydrogen refuelling stations and vehicles to the region.

This is on top of strategic investment, supporting delivery of projects and business growth across our five boroughs. These include a £22million biologics teaching, training and research hub, the National Horizons Centre, and £45million funding for our two main railway stations, Darlington and Middlesbrough.

We’re helping to deliver a wide range of projects in a fast-paced environment, engaging with a variety of stakeholders and the public. This is a small but diverse and dynamic region demanding a variety of skillsets. Above all, we are looking for the right attitude, determination, ability to work under pressure and a desire to work for the good of our economy and the lives of our residents.

Julie Gilhespie, Tees Valley CA chief executive

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