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Former Business Owner and Business Support Specialist Join the Cumbria LEP

A FORMER small business owner and business support specialist have joined the Cumbria LEP with a shared vision to deliver the highest quality support to the county’s businesses at a time when it’s really needed.

Naomi Morgan initially joined the team as Business Growth Manager after relocating to Cumbria from the East Midlands, before being appointed to lead delivery of Skills Bootcamps in the region. She will be responsible for implementing this Department for Education (DfE) funded programme, which is designed to meet Cumbria’s skills needs by providing businesses with highly subsidised bespoke training solutions in areas such as Project Management, Logistics Management CPC, Automation & Robotics, Construction Trades, Welding, CAD, Cyber Security, Agriculture and Visitor Economy.

Growing up in Rutland, it was her dream to run a cafe, bake cakes and write recipes. After successfully running a multi-RHS award winning landscape and design business alongside her husband, she decided to take the plunge and set up a successful cafe, bakery and catering business for over 3 years.

Naomi speaks passionately about the guidance and support she received from her mentor in the early days of setting up her business and hopes to share her knowledge and infectious passion for supporting local businesses in her new role as Skills Bootcamp Programme Manager.

Naomi Morgan said:

“Opportunities like this don’t come along often. As a former business owner, I understand that you can spend years building a successful business, but if managers aren't equipped with the right knowledge, skills or behaviours things can go awry.

“I’m excited to be given the responsibility to deliver the Skills Bootcamp programme here in Cumbria and help people gain skills for life, meet skills demands and ultimately help people to get a job or move forward their career with their existing employer.

“People will be aware that there are real challenges in finding people with the right skills to meet the jobs on offer. The Skills Bootcamps are a fantastic way for people to switch up their career or return to the workplace.”

Paul Foster has also been appointed as the LEP’s Head of Programmes, bringing over 20 years’ experience in leading business support programmes across the North West.

Paul previously worked for the Federation of Small Businesses as Development Manager for Lancashire and Cumbria, where his journey supporting local businesses began.

His significant experience will make a real difference in supporting businesses to tackle a range of issues including profitability, innovation, productivity, and investment.

Paul has always been impressed by the LEP’s ability to provide strategic economic leadership in Cumbria and support and guidance where it’s needed most. He is committed to building on this and making sure that businesses continue to receive exceptional support in what remains an uncertain economic climate.

Paul Foster said:

“One of the absolute priorities of the Cumbria LEP is to support and enable growth and development for businesses across the region. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to support our businesses whether this is focused on overcoming the day-to-day issues that they are facing in the current economic climate or proactively plotting their next growth opportunity.

“The LEP team is plugged in to a wide range of opportunities that will help our businesses whatever their need and we are here to make sure that our businesses are aware of these. We are committed to working in partnership with our businesses and other agencies to make sure that Cumbria’s economic potential is fully realised.”

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive at Cumbria LEP, said:

“I am delighted that Naomi and Paul have joined the LEP and we and our businesses will have the benefit of their considerable experience.

It’s not often that you get the opportunity to add expertise and real enthusiasm to your team and Naomi brings both. Her expertise as a former business owner and her commitment to offer real hands-on support will be instrumental as we continue to deliver bespoke solutions to address Cumbria’s skills and labour challenges.

“Paul’s appointment to Head of Programmes is a significant step in helping the region’s small and medium businesses to go from strength-to-strength. I have already seen the positive influence he is exerting, not only on his team but the entire business support unit.

“Naomi and Paul are joining us at a very busy time, where we’re laser-focused on supporting our businesses to both navigate the current economic challenges and move forward their growth ambitions.”

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