Meet the Team

The Skills & Growth Company Board


Cllr George Hayes

Driven to make a difference, Cllr George Hayes entered local politics at a young age, formerly being Great Britain’s Youngest Mayor whilst the Mayor of his hometown of Congleton. He has a professional background working in both education and communications related roles and is a school governor at four schools. He is passionate about making a positive impact across the Borough and beyond, and is a strong advocate of the work that the Skills & Growth Company undertakes to raise aspirations and success for both individuals and organisations. George is also a keen supporter of strong stakeholder engagement and enjoys meeting with local skills providers, businesses and other external organisations whilst also valuing the well-qualified and dedicated team of staff who work at The Skills & Growth Company.


Cllr Bernice Walmsley

Cllr Bernice Walmsley has had a varied career, mainly in the private sector, with many years of office-based management positions in manufacturing organisations followed by sales and business development roles in an international blue-chip company. In her early 50s, she became self-employed, writing over 20 books (mainly business and education) and publishing a local magazine. Bernice is particularly interested in helping to improve careers advice – both for school leavers and for people looking at career change.

Management Team

Managing Director

Julian Cobley

Julian has followed a successful career in innovation, technology and economic growth, working for a number of large multinational corporations in the private sector where he developed his knowledge and experience. Looking for a fresh challenge, he joined the public sector in 2007 and has led on economic growth at Cheshire East Council.

As Managing Director of the Skills & Growth Company Julian will be championing business led growth, delivering a range of services including employer skills needs, growth programmes for priority sectors (specifically science, technology, energy and Advanced Manufacturing), business engagement and inward investment.

Contact Julian:


Head of Skills & Employment

Roz Atherton

Roz is a proactive skills and employment specialist, with 20 years experience in the sector.  Starting her career in the private sector working with large corporations to develop strategic workforce skills programmes, Roz translates business strategy into deliverable outcomes, whilst navigating skills policy. Previously Roz was the strategic lead for skills and employment at the Local Enterprise Partnership, where she delivered a robust investment programme in line with employer demand, business priorities and economic growth targets.

As Head of Skills & Employment Roz will combine her focus on collaborative, innovative solutions to enable businesses and individuals to maximise their potential and prosper.

Contact Roz:

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