A prominent expert in aerospace manufacturing has been appointed to the newly established position of Business Advisor to the Mayor of West Yorkshire, it has been announced.

Mandy Ridyard, representing the Bradford-based company Produmax, will lead a new panel comprising local council and private sector leaders. They are tasked with advancing Mayor Tracy Brabin’s commitment to promoting the regional economy.

This move follows the introduction of the West Yorkshire Plan, crafted in collaboration with the area’s council, charitable, and business leaders. This plan outlines a mission to achieve economic growth and elevate living standards.

Ms. Ridyard has committed to engaging with the region’s diverse array of nearly 100,000 businesses, ensuring that the Mayor and the leaders of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield councils grasp their challenges and opportunities.

Commenting on her appointment, Mandy Ridyard, Business Advisor to the Mayor of West Yorkshire, said; “I can’t wait to get stuck into this new role, where I’ll draw on the strengths of all our businesses and sectors, offering a listening ear and making sure their voices are heard.

“As the Mayor’s business advisor, I’ll be laser focused on economic growth – supporting our businesses to boost their productivity, build their resilience, access talent, become more sustainable and innovate for the future.

“With the Mayor’s devolved powers and funding, this is a unique opportunity to transform our ecosystem and create an environment where businesses can thrive, creating well paid jobs and raising living standards for all.”

By uniting businesses and determining the most effective means of support, the Mayor’s Business Advisor will contribute to influencing both private and public sector partners domestically and internationally, resulting in job creation, investment, and opportunities for local residents.

Ms. Ridyard will also collaborate closely with representative bodies of businesses, such as the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, to ensure that the distinctive needs of various clusters of businesses are addressed by the region’s political leadership.

In West Yorkshire, these globally significant business clusters encompass digital and healthcare technology companies, advanced manufacturing enterprises spanning textiles and furniture, as well as precision engineering firms specialising in satellites and telecommunications.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said; “Mandy’s appointment as business advisor marks an exciting new chapter in our West Yorkshire story – one where all our businesses are listened to and lifted up to reach their full potential.

“As someone who moved to West Yorkshire to start and scale a business, Mandy understands the challenges and opportunities our business community faces because she’s lived them herself.

“By match-funding businesses to green their processes, upskilling and retraining staff to meet labour market needs and investing in local entrepreneurs and startups, we’re growing our economy and building a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire”.

Ms. Ridyard, whose aerospace engineering firm was recognised as the “SME of the Year” in 2021 by the manufacturing organisation Make UK, has chaired various regional business collectives, including Space Hub Yorkshire, the West Yorkshire Innovation Network, and the West Yorkshire Digital Skills Partnership.

Cllr James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Business, Economy and Innovation Committee, said; “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Mandy Ridyard to her new role as business advisor to the Mayor of West Yorkshire.

“As we transition away from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) toward the regional mayor’s business board, I am keen to continue and build on the track record of success the LEP achieved. Most notably, the LEP secured a £1 billion-plus, Local Growth Deal, the largest such deal in the country. This helped transform the Leeds city region’s economy through investment in infrastructure, housing, and business support.

“With Mandy’s award-winning entrepreneurial and business experience, her track record of advising politicians, and her proven leadership in strategy and culture change, I am sure we can continue to build strong and enduring public-private and third-sector partnerships that will carry us to new heights of success.”