The work of Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (SWLEP) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Paddy Bradley has been celebrated in the first New Year Honours List to be signed off by King Charles.

Paddy has been awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his service to the local economy and to the community in the 2023 New Year Honours List. 

Paddy Bradley MBE said, “Receiving the MBE is an honour for me, but also for my colleagues in the Swindon and Wiltshire LEP who work tirelessly to help grow the economy in our area. The award is for services to business and the community, the two priorities of all my work.” 

The honour recognises Paddy’s work over a number of years serving the Swindon and Wiltshire community. Paddy has been CEO of SWLEP for almost seven years, taking up the position in February 2016. Prior to his appointment he was Head of Economy, Attainment, Skills and Property Development at Swindon Borough Council and regularly provided strategic and operational support to SWLEP. Over a period of 20 years, Paddy has served as a governor of one primary school, three secondary schools, a Sixth Form College and two Further Education Colleges. He is a strong advocate of business involvement in schools and colleges. “School governors are the largest voluntary group in the country and business leaders can play an important role on governing bodies if they are able to volunteer for the work.”

A forward-thinking leader, Paddy has been instrumental in the SWLEP’s transition from a government funded organisation to becoming a not-for-profit limited company. SWLEP is one of the few LEPs in the country that receives no cash contribution from its local authorities and is involved on a national level on the financial and governance models for the LEPs of the future.

One of the major projects Paddy has overseen in the last two years is the development of the Business Cyber Centre in Chippenham which is a UK first. Learning from the best cyber initiatives around the world, the Business Cyber Centre (BCC) is based on a partnership of defence, security, academia, and entrepreneurial expertise. The aim of the BCC is to create cyber confident SMEs and provide a base for cyber businesses to scale up within the £5 billion a year UK cyber market. 

Paddy’s leadership of Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub the business support function of SWLEP has also seen success, exceeding government targets and providing frontline business support during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

During Covid-19, within a matter of weeks the Growth Hub transformed from what was previously a mostly digital business resource to a much more enhanced service which supported thousands of businesses, offering advice, guidance and business support programmes. Post pandemic, it continues to evolve, igniting local economic growth. 

Other highlights of Paddy’s leadership of SWLEP to date include:

  • Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub – Recognised as one of the best Careers Hubs in the country. It is engaged with every single secondary school and college in the area which is not usual for Career Hubs.

  • Driving forward Swindon and Wiltshire’s involvement in hydrogen projects and new energy vehicle infrastructure.

  • The Inward Investment Service 2019-2021 which resulted in the creation of 470 new jobs across 47 projects, exceeding the targets set for the programme. 

As we move forward into a new year, SWLEP will continue with its mission ‘to ensure all of our communities benefit from inclusive and sustainable growth, making the Swindon and Wiltshire area world-renowned for its convergence of innovation, entrepreneurialism and great quality of life.’

Paddy’s MBE adds further gravitas to the organisation and its Board which includes SWLEP Chair, Paul Moorby OBE, Andrew Gudgeon OBE and Doug Gale MBE.