December 2023

Academic staff join the Centre for the New Midlands leadership board

By Anna Fawcett

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Two academic staff from University College Birmingham will be sharing their professional insights to help shape the work of a local think tank, the Centre for the New Midlands (CNM), leading the way to help create a brighter future for the region.

Together Lewis Walker and Deborah Bunce come from distinct backgrounds; Lewis, Deputy Head of the College of Food, had worked across restaurants and hotels throughout his career before turning his hand to teaching, and Deborah is a Civil Engineer of many years’ experience now leading the department for Sustainable Construction. The difference in their career backgrounds is as striking as their passion for improving the employment opportunities and skills base for people in our region.

Lewis Walker spoke about his involvement:

“It’s a huge honour to have been asked to join the Centre for New Midlands, and to contribute towards the People and Skills workstream. I hope to use this platform as an opportunity to champion the region’s hospitality sector, promote University College Birmingham as an outstanding skills provider, and to open up new and exciting talent pipelines for the industries that we work alongside.”

Lewis joins other new leadership members at CNM, which was set up in 2020 as a community interest company to develop and disseminate new ideas and to work collaboratively to discover new solutions for some of the region’s biggest social and economic challenges.

"It is with great pleasure I join the leadership board at the Centre for The New Midlands and I’m looking forward to working with the other members on helping to shape a sustainable, robust future for all aspects of infrastructure in the region."

Deborah Bunce Head of Sustainable Construction

Made up of four workstreams, the Centre is the only independent, non-partisan think tank for the West Midlands. Individuals bring to the Centre their united desire to make the West Midlands region an even better place to live, work, play, study and invest in.

Chris Smith, Founder and Managing Director of CNM said:

“We are thrilled to be welcoming Lewis to our People and Skills Leadership Board at the Centre for the New Midlands. Lewis brings with him a tremendous combination of knowledge and experience across the food and hospitality sectors and also has first-hand experience, through his ‘day-job’ at Birmingham College of Food, University College Birmingham, of working with some of the region’s finest talent and understanding the issues facing the sector”

“We are equally thrilled to be welcoming Deborah Bunce to our Infrastructure Leadership Board, to be chaired by Tim Fawcett (Birmingham Cities Lead, Mott MacDonald). Deborah’s vast experience across industry and academia will be critical to our work in this key area of public policy and we look forward to promoting and sharing Deborah’s perspectives and passion for how we adapt existing infrastructure to reduce its carbon footprint and to meet the needs of a world with a changing climate.”

These workstreams will be bringing professionals and industry leaders together in dialogue to work through the biggest challenges facing the region today, in a manner that is paving the way for forward-thinking ideas, with no party-political agenda.

To find out more about the work of the Centre for the New Midlands and their vision, you can visit here.

Read more about the recent work University College Birmingham has been involved in within the region in our news section.

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