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Achieving Inclusive Growth (Corinne Matthews)

Corinne Matthews, Economic Regeneration and Tourism Manager, West Somerset Council

Achieving Inclusive Growth CPD workshop

Corinne Matthews is Economic Regeneration and Tourism Manager at West Somerset Council, which covers the entire economic development function for this predominately rural district council; one that also happens to have Europe’s largest construction project, the build of two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point (HPC), on its doorstep. As a result, Corinne is partly seconded to the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to support the achievement of a long-term sustainable economic legacy from HPC for the region and developing the nuclear strength in the ‘place’, defined as nuclear cluster development.

Despite over 20 years in economic development under her belt, including 10 years at West Somerset Council (over-lapping with three-and-a-half years with the LEP), Corinne is committed to her own CPD and signed up to the IED’s Achieving Inclusive Growth workshop in May 2018. “As an IED member I need to ensure I continue with regular CPD – and this session came up at a time I could make, which is often a decisive factor,” she said. “Having said that the subject was clearly of interest and while ‘inclusive growth’ is an often used term, its real meaning, implementation and monitoring the outcomes and outputs is open to many and varied interpretations. Therefore, it was timely to attend a dedicated workshop and hear from the real experts.”

Corinne said she came away from the workshop “much better informed and enthused” and praised the format. “Bev Hurley (IED Chair, who led the event) was a great presenter, educator and trainer – coming with a wealth of knowledge and experience,” she explained. “Also, as with all these events, one learns as much from one’s peers in the side discussions and debates. To take a day out to focus on one topic is a joy; to meet other really professional and clever colleagues and to experience some quality trainers and presenters is sheer bliss! For all these reasons I definitely recommend the IED’s sessions.”

Now, in her LEP role developing the South West’s nuclear cluster, Corinne is seeking to apply her new learning on inclusive growth. “There is often quite a bit of hearts and minds approach that needs to be done before changes in method can be implemented,” she said. “Especially when the focus is achieving a particular project on time to budget and securing ‘hard’ economic outcomes. However, in my team, we do our best to look holistically at economic development, with inclusive access to employment, skills and services being a fundamental foundation of all we do. The IED training has already helped me to reiterate the importance of this to those that may have needed help to see the bigger picture too.”