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Chairman's Update - 11th February 2024

Discover Ammar Mirza CBE's week: A focus on skills - helping individuals and organisations realise their ambitions and raise their aspirations

Ammar had a busy week connecting, supporting, and promoting the whole community in the North East.

  • North East LEP Business Advisory Board: The week kicked off with Ammar chairing the Business Advisory Board with regional trade bodies and sectors leads all coming together to inform business support opportunities through Devolution.  There are significant opportunities to help better shape business support and Colin Bell - Director of Business Support at the North East LEP presented a unique framework based on the 10 years of business support experience through the North East Growth Hub which is recognised as the best in the UK, that Colin and the team have developed.   And is the key entry point for anyone seeking business support.

  • Apprenticeship Advocacy: Ammar spoke about ‘Why hiring an apprentice makes good business sense’ to align with Apprenticeship week, Ammar himself was an apprentice whilst he continued to study and appreciates the benefit of ‘learning on the job’, Ammar, along side Andy Black developed the Cadet Apprenticeship Pathway to combine his passion for apprenticeships and his position in the Armed Forces.

  • Strategic Partnerships: Exploring how Yohlar and IOEE can aid Saudi Arabia’s growth plans for Vision 2030 and launching the regional headquarters in Saudi later this year once Airview Park is fully established.  Discussions with the Director of Innovation at the Ministry of Health in Saudi explored potential partnerships with the North East through Airview park.  

  • Business Engagement: Meeting with and learning from inspirational speakers at the Newcastle United Business Club on ‘Lets Talk Business’.  We are a proud member of the Business Club given the importance of business organisations coming together to support one another and using the power of sport to connect with communities.  A highlight was catching up with leading Inclusion Expert and ABC Award winner Zoe Hingston who is head of inclusion at Newcastle United.

  • Health and Life Sciences: Catching up with Jody Nichols of HINENC to plan the upcoming Health and Life Science Pledge event where the focus will be on grant funding and finance for Pledgees, hosted at the National Horizon Centre.  Ammar is the Chair of the Pledge and helped develop the pledge with the ICB and HINENC. With over 130 members Jody and the team continue to make a huge impact on bringing organisations together to better communicate, collaborate and celebrate through the power of 3 ultimately saving lives and improving livelihoods.  

  • Networking Excellence: Further developing the Inclusion by Default roadmap with partners which includes a roundtable at the end of the February where the baseline report will be published from all of the engagement and interaction to-date.  Alongside a series of events including the upcoming ABCurry Club on March 28, 2024.  

  • Show Business: There was an interesting discussion on Spice FM, where they talked about “The Future of Small Business: Trends to Watch and Embrace”, including AI and Chatbots, and digital transformation. This enlightening talk was sponsored by SME Centre of Excellence, reflecting our commitment to a holistic approach to success.

  • Regional Education Initiative: During his tenure as Chair of Governors Ammar at Tyneview Primary School, established the PIE Project Charity. This initiative spearheaded by Ammar and supported by a range of stakeholders is now making significant strides through the Enterprise Challenge, providing primary age pupils with hands-on experience in the world of business and providing vocational qualifications - a first of its kind globally for Primary aged pupils.

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