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Home > News > April 2004 > 08-Apr-2004

New chief starts work at ELWa

Former sixth form head teacher and top local government officer, Elizabeth Raikes, starts work this week at the helm of Wales’ largest education and training body.

Mrs Raikes, has taken up her post as chief executive of ELWa, the £500million a year public body responsible for planning, funding and promoting all post-16 learning, apart from higher education.

She pledged to create an “exemplary organisation" capable of working in partnership with many other agencies to deliver better learning opportunities for people in Wales.

Mrs Raikes, who has been chief executive of Monmouthshire County Council for the past three years, said local authorities would be among ELWa’s key partners in achieving positive change over the coming years.

The body is currently preparing to introduce a new National Planning and Funding System, which is intended, over time, to reshape Wales' post-16 learning structure to ensure it reflects more accurately the knowledge and skill needs of local areas and the Welsh economy.

The incoming chief commented: "Introducing this new system is a major undertaking that promises to bring immense benefits to people, communities and businesses across Wales. It can only come about through close co-operation, openness and goodwill between all parties with a stake in learning. I am determined to build up confidence in ELWa among these partners so we can pursue this huge challenge on the basis of consensus."

Among the new chief executive’s first moves upon taking office was to congratulate all staff on their achievements, particularly during the organisation’s difficulties over the past 18 months.

Writing to staff across Wales she said: “I would like to recognize those who have been involved in some excellent projects and success stories that enable us to be proud of working in an organisation that can effect change.”

She publicly thanked ELWa’s directors, particularly outgoing Interim Chief Executive Dr Peter Higson, for their work in restructuring the body and tightening its quality and financial control systems.

This, she said, had laid the foundation for a major new phase of ELWa's mission to expand lifelong learning across the population.

The qualified chartered accountant, whose original background was in teaching, has been involved in major change-management exercises during a varied public and private sector career. In addition to her teaching and local authority roles, she worked with top accountancy firm Ernst and Young.

ELWa chairman Sheila Drury welcomed the new chief executive. "Elizabeth will bring new enthusiasm to this organisation's important agenda for the future. She will have the support of a fresh management team and both myself and the ELWa National Council intend to work very closely with her on our exciting plans."

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