First impressions of working at Business West

Andrew Wells
Initiative Manager | Business West
9th May 2017

As a recent addition to the Business West family I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce myself and share my first impressions since working here.

My career has taken a few twists and turns on my way to finding myself here at Business West, and I started, like many school leavers in Swindon, at Nationwide Building Society .

Whilst at Nationwide I studied at New College Swindon in evening classes which led to me going to university in Swansea to study geography. This is where I found my interest in regional economic development and understanding social and cultural geography.

Returning to Swindon after university I spent 2 years at the Economic and Social Research Council working on projects related to health and human behaviour before returning to Nationwide as a contractor.

During that time I was always eager to return to something more degree specific and I was given an opportunity at Swindon Borough Council working in the economy and skills department as their enterprise coordinator.

This is where I first got to meet Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative directors Ian Larrard and Mike Godfrey and to hear about all the good work that they're doing in the local area.

As a proud Swindonian I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to develop some of the projects that the Initiative team are working on to support the local business community.

Already in my first 6 weeks it’s been a thrill to hear businesses concerns and issues and work with them to address issues and challenge senior decision makers in the town. We play a vital role as that conduit between local businesses and the public sector leaders that is needed to push forward the town and keep up with our competitors.

The team in Swindon have made me feel incredibly welcome. The working environment is always positive and it’s great being sat amongst such experienced colleagues who have expert knowledge on the local business landscape and nuances of the political workings of the town.

The Initiative has links to local business leaders, MPs, Council leaders and senior figures at Swindon Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership. It’s the only membership of its type in Swindon with this kind of reach and it’s a great feeling to become a part of it.

Working for Business West has also given me an appreciation of its social impact. Evidence of this can be found in pretty much any local newspaper and this makes me incredibly proud to be part of the team.

I’m excited for the challenges going forward in Swindon. I’m passionate about the town I grew up in and live and work today. In my opinion Swindon is one of the most misrepresented areas in the country.

Projects such as Switch on to Swindon are the start of improving its image and engaging businesses. We are a productive, hard working town with global brands such as Honda, Nationwide and Zurich and some of the more innovative tech companies around like Appsbroker and Dialog Semiconductor.

I can’t wait to be involved in the conversations around topics such as regeneration in the area, how we make the most of some of our railway heritage and buildings and attempting to see how higher education can finally be delivered in numbers, either in the form of a University or through degree level apprenticeships.

It’s a fantastic time for me to become a part of Business West and in the role of Initiative manager. The ambition of the organisation is there for all to see and my first 6 weeks has confirmed I’ve joined a winning team that is only going to increase in its influence and effectiveness going forward.

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