'Born and bred Seaham girl' Helen Golightly honoured by the Queen for service to North East business

The Seaham woman leading the drive to boost North East business has been honoured by the Queen for her work.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 10:30 pm

North East Local Enterprise Partnership chief executive Helen Golightly has been awarded the OBE for services to Business and the Regional Economy in today’s Birthday Honours.

Today’s commendation says: “Her leadership of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) has seen partnership relationships, commitment and buy-in to the Strategic Economic Plan increase significantly, ensuring it has a collective voice nationally.

“Engagement with stakeholders is at an all-time high and she has secured the support of advocates from the business community and academia, creatingan organisation which champions openness and transparency.”

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Helen Golightly has been awarded the OBE for services to business
Helen Golightly has been awarded the OBE for services to business

Helen, 54, who describes herself as a ‘born and bred Seaham girl’, said she was overwhelmed to be nominated: “I actually really feel surprised and delighted but also incredibly humbled in terms of being recognised in this way,” she said.

"I am really proud on behalf of the while team I work with – they are all really devoted to what they do and trying to make a difference for the North East.”

The NELEP has helped to deliver more than 74,900 new jobs since 2014 and seen the gap between the NE employment rate and that of the whole of England (excluding London) reduced by 23%.

Helen has been praised for her role in the region’s coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic, bringing together the North East’s combined authorities, universities, the CBI and the NE Joint Transport Committee to form the NE COVID-19 Economic Response Group, which has secured region-wide support for a staged recovery plan to build confidence, stabilise the economy and help businesses, sectors and places adapt to the ‘new normal’.

Helen describes herself as a 'born and bred Seaham girl'

She is focused on ensuring young people have the skills required to create a thriving regional workforce, securing a pilot programme to embed the Gatsby Career Benchmarks with 16 secondary schools, which was then rolled out across the region, expanded to primary schools, and adopted nationally in recognition of its success.

In 2019 she was named as ‘North East Champion’ in the Sunshine Fund’s Glass Slipper Awards, which recognises remarkable women in the North East, for the key role she plays as a regional ambassador.

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