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Meet the team: Rehana Watkinson, PMO Manager for GBSLEP

Tell us about your job, and what your current focus is:

I work with the Programme Team for the capital funding programmes in the LEP and part of that is ensuring we have the correct processes and policies in place to support our Strategic Economic Plan. I also deal with all the grant funding claims.  We have a range of projects that deliver on economic growth in the LEP area and are in the pipeline that will help to make Greater Birmingham a top global city region.

What are you most proud of achieving at the LEP?

It’s a great organisation to work at and the work culture remains relaxed even if the days are not! There are so many projects I am proud to be part of. One in particular is the Centre for Clinical Haematology at the QE Hospital where we helped create vital capacity for the Centre’s internationally significant haemato-oncology programme, permitting out-patient delivery of stem cell transplants and complex haemato-oncology care, as well as increasing the scale and breadth of its clinical trial capacity. It brings clinical innovation and research to the diverse population of Greater Birmingham.

What upcoming event or project in the region are you most looking forward to?

We funded a project which has regenerated one of the oldest parts of Birmingham Business Park to create a state of the art automotive R&D centre. This will further support the areas expertise in the automotive sector, create high value jobs, and increase the local and UK knowledge economy. The centre’s initial use is to create new technology for low emission vehicles which will push the boundaries of technology and create class leading vehicles. A brand new engine was invented there and that will go into production this year.

What made you want to move to the region, or what made you stay?

Having never been to Birmingham until the day I moved here, I didn’t know what to expect and I’ve come to love this city. It’s small enough to retain its charm and character and large enough to offer a wide range of things to be excited about. My older daughter was born in London but my younger two are Brummies, I suppose, and home for them has become home for me.

What would be your “specialist subject” on Mastermind?

Definitely Tudor history from the Plantagenets up to but not including the reign of James I (I used to have a crush on young Henry VIII).

If you were stuck in a lift with two people, who would you want them to be?

I’ll ignore the part of me that says Tom Hardy and go for Barack Obama and US Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg – she is awesome.

Describe life at the LEP in one word: