Shelagh Legrave OBE is Chief Executive of the Chichester College Group and is a Coastal West Sussex Partnership Board member.
We spoke to Shelia to hear more about her role and what she enjoys about living and working in the Coastal West Sussex region.
Hi Sheila. First things first, what does your job entail?
I am responsible for five further education colleges in Chichester, Brinsbury (outside Pulborough), Worthing, Crawley and Haywards Heath. We employ around 2,000 staff and have about 20,000 students across the Group offering education to 16- and 17-year olds and adults. We also deliver apprenticeships and welcome numbers of international students to our campuses.
What are the top five things you love about working in the coastal West Sussex region?
1. Seeing students, some with low aspirations, succeed and progress into local employment or to university.
2. The support given to local employers from the local chambers of commerce and the Coastal West Sussex Partnership.
3. The beauty of the South Coast.
4. Easy access to both the South Downs and beaches.
5. The friendliness of local people along the coast.
What, in your opinion, makes the region a good place to do business?
Working in beautiful surroundings makes it easier to attract and retain good employees.
The local business networks along the coast are strong.
There is a drive for collaboration with different organisations to achieve the best outcomes for those living in coastal West Sussex.
There is a good train service across the coast.
What are the top five things you love about living in the Coastal West Sussex area?
I live in Midhurst, but I would say a beautiful coastline, good shopping opportunities, access to stunning countryside, opportunities for families both accessing a beach and inshore, within easy commute of London for occasional meetings.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business in the region?
Use local chambers of commerce in Chichester, Worthing and Brighton to advise on location and supply chain. Recruit locally and it will be easier to retain staff.
What would you like to see change in the region to help your business grow?
The A27 upgraded to dual carriageway from Brighton to beyond Chichester.
A quicker train commute to London.
More opportunities for collaboration on business support from local boroughs and districts.
What tips would you give to someone thinking of visiting the region for a holiday?
There is so much to offer. Those interested in history can see sites from Roman times through to the current century. Families can have fun on the coast and in the national park. Locals schools provide good education and progression routes into local colleges are excellent.
What tips would you give to someone looking for a job in the region?
Use social media and websites to find out what is on offer!