Karl Williams is Senior Project Manager – Corporate Services at the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). He leads the delivery of a number of multi-million pound government-backed finance schemes including the £25 million Regional Growth Fund, which targets SME investment as part of the region’s strategic economic plan to lever £100 million private sector funding and create 1,300 jobs. Karl has been an individual member of the IED since 2017.
“My background is in economics, and there are few routes to professional accreditation in this subject, so having attended an event at which IED Chair Bev Hurley was presenting I was delighted to find an organisation that could offer me this recognition,” said Karl, who has worked at the LEP since 2013 and prior to that in consultancy in South Wales. “IED membership allows me to demonstrate my professionalism and commitment to the industry and is something that is significant to me personally. Membership is good value for money and I’ve experienced a number of direct benefits.”
Karl, who is programme lead for the LEP’s £2 million EU LEADER grant scheme to develop the region’s rural economy, as well as leading a £450 million infrastructure claims process, high-value business case assessments, due diligence and programme evaluations, said that one of those benefits was “heavily discounted” attendance at a one-day Economic Evaluation event held at Nottingham Trent University in 2017. “This was particularly useful as I lead a number of programmes which require evaluation for large business cases and I have subsequently shared my learning with colleagues,” Karl explained. “I’ve also adopted a proactive approach to CPD and attended two other IED training events in London, which have kept me abreast of the latest industry developments, and this provision is very well regarded.”
The IED’s visibility on the national stage is also seen as a direct membership benefit by Karl. “The Board engages at a high level in public policy, holding government to account and assuming an advocacy role for members’ interests,” he said. “Their presence at national events, especially in terms of speaking, is noticeable and they are very proactive in this activity. Overall, I think they occupy a high profile on UK-wide economic development agendas and guide government on how certain things should be delivered better. As we move towards Brexit, and the future of EU funding, the IED can play an important role in this very dynamic environment by applying pressure on government.”
Karl added that IED membership has “also supported my own wider efforts to increase my contacts and expand my professional network”.