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Our Board

Web Site Staff Member

Paul Linton

Deputy MD
Huf UK Ltd

The Huf International Group operates 18 locations world-wide with over 6000 employees and a turnover of circa 1 Billion Euro (unconsolidated). Huf UK is a leading HVM (High Value Manufacturing) tier 1 automotive component supplier to the European automotive market and in a world-wide context tier 2 to the Asian and African markets.

Paul is currently Chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership Employment and Skills Board and Vice President of the Sandwell Board of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and is leading initiatives such as the Black Country's 'Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot (EOP), which is a completive fund open to employers to invest in their current and future workforce in England.

Web Site Staff Member

Bob Boyd

General Manager
Extraction Services Ltd

Extraction Services Ltd are an SME whose business is the manufacture and service of extraction systems for the construction industry, education & the retail sector.

Bob has 25 years cross industry experience, 10 years in manufacturing with a background in sheet metal work and a strong interest in training, Health & Safety & quality.

Web Site Staff Member

Sarah Middleton

Chief Executive
Black Country Consortium Ltd

Sarah is Chief Executive of Black Country Consortium Limited (BCC Ltd) and has been since its incorporation in 2006. The company provides secretariat support to the LEP. Sarah joined the Consortium Partnership in October 1999 and has been central in developing the Black Country sub regional partnership , its 30 year Vision , Economic Strategy and Spatial Strategy, including joint approaches on Planning, Investment, Economic Intelligence through the Black Country Observatory a team with in BCC Ltd and the Black Country Education and Skills Strategy.

Sarah qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and previous roles include Deputy Chief Executive for East Mercia Chamber of Commerce (including responsibilities as General Manager for Business Link Walsall) and Chief Executive of Walsall City Challenge.

Web Site Staff Member

Colin Mills

Managing Director
In-Comm Training Services Ltd

Colin served an Engineering Apprenticeship before moving into Production Engineering. He has spent the last 39 years working within the Training & Development sector primarily with companies involved in Engineering and Manufacturing. Colin is currently Joint Managing Director of In-Comm Training Services & In-Comm Business Services Ltd, a company which has a history dating back to the early 1960’s, and is involved in a wide range of Training & Development solutions to industry.

Web Site Staff Member

Prof. Ian Oakes

Deputy Vice-Chancellor - Research and External Engagement
University of Wolverhampton

The University of Wolverhampton has approximately 23,000 students and employs some 2,500 members of staff. In addition to educating highly qualified students, the University helps companies to identify new markets which can make use of their expertise as well as identify the sort of skills and knowledge they require to enter those new markets.

Over the last 20 years, Prof Oakes has held a number of senior management posts in higher education before joining the University of Wolverhampton in 2008 as Pro Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for the University’s research and enterprise agenda and developing the growing knowledge transfer arena at regional, national and international levels. More recently he has undertaken the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor as well as Chief Executive of University of Wolverhampton Science Park.

Previous to this, Prof Oakes has taught at all levels within the UK higher education sector, been awarded Professorships from two universities and has been appointed to the Boards of two Local Enterprise Partnerships with specific responsibility for education and skills. He also holds a number of Directorships of external organisations.

Web Site Staff Member

Colin Parker

Skills Factory Director
Black Country Skills Factory

The Black Country Skills Factory is a new employer-led education & training collaboration being coordinated by the Black Country Consortium Ltd (the enabling arm of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)) with funding via UKCES. The Skills Factory is Employer Led and harnesses both HVM companies and the Education establishments to deliver suitable training & up-skilling.

Colin has over 30 years’ experience working in Operations Management and Plant Management in the Automotive Component industry in the West Midlands. He has worked for a number of leading companies including Lucas Industries, Perkins Engines, Denso Manufacturing UK Ltd, UYT Ltd, and TRW Automotive Electronics & ARRK Europe Ltd. Colin qualified as a Chartered Engineer following a degree in Mathematics and has a thorough understanding of the skills issues facing UK high value manufacturing company.

Web Site Staff Member

Steve Smith

Service and Operations Director
Lift Engineering & Services Ltd

Lift and Engineering Services Ltd was founded in 1982 and is a privately owned family led business. Manufacturing and maintaining all types of lifts as a leader in specialist, bespoke Lift Engineering, they have expanded their range of services and now have 4 operating bases in London, the West and East Midlands.

Steve was appointed Director in 2010 as a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management and champions the development of apprentices and his team to their full potential. Leading by example, Steve has himself achieved an NVQ Level 7 Diploma in Management and volunteers as an Officer with the Black Country Constructing Excellence Club.

Web Site Staff Member

Vicki Wilkes

Managing Director
Phoenix Calibration & Services Ltd

Phoenix Calibration is an advanced engineering company which specialises in materials testing technology. The company offers a complete service from bespoke design, manufacture and installation of machines and control systems, to ongoing support, refurbishment and repurposing of existing equipment. In addition, Phoenix offers a specialist in-house sub-contract materials testing service. Their customers range from local businesses to global corporations.

Vicki is passionate about improving links between local schools and businesses and support for Small Medium Enterprises (SME's) in the Black Country. Vicki is an active STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Ambassador, which involves going into schools to take part in activities organised to help engage pupils with STEM subjects or STEM careers.