June 2022


Martin is relishing his role supporting the businesses of Warwickshire

"I have always been really interested in business and growth patterns and making businesses work and making them profitable and I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into the portfolio."

Martin Watson is looking forward to applying his knowledge and experience to backing Warwickshire's businesses after becoming Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place.

Cllr Watson joined the County Council only last year when he gained election to the Coleshill North & Water Orton ward.

Born and bred in the east end of London, he has enjoyed a long career in engineering and moved to the Midlands for work reasons eight years ago...and immediately fell in love with Warwickshire.

Now he is keen to give something back to his adopted county and, having succeeded Cllr Kam Kaur in the key portfolio, is relishing getting his teeth into the challenges of supporting Warwickshire's businesses post-pandemic.

"Business is my background," said Martin, who has worked for many years as an engineer in the telecoms, electronic fire and security industries. "I have always been really interested in business and growth patterns and making businesses work and making them profitable and I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into the portfolio. It plays to my strengths.

"I have a very strong background in fire and electronic security. I sit on the board of the Fire Industry Association and the British Security Association and am now busy getting up to speed with all the many amazing businesses across Warwickshire.

"I moved to Lea Marston for work with my family eight years ago and love it here. For a small county, Warwickshire is so incredibly diverse and that's one of the interesting aspects to the portfolio - and one of the challenges. We have rural areas with very small villages to large towns like Nuneaton, Leamington Stratford and market towns like Coleshill and Atherstone. That means we have almost every type of business and the County Council is keen offers support to every kind of business in every sector.

"As a county we did really well through Covid and that is partly down to that diversity. We have a really, thriving commercial base and such a varied one with everything from world-renowned big companies to vibrant SMEs...and fantastic tourist attractions too.

Martin pinpoints among his top objectives to ensure that the opportunities presented by HS2 are fully exploited by businesses across Warwickshire.

"Outside of London we are the most impacted place in the country by HS2," he said. "It is having a massive impact on the whole county, particularly the north, but that works both ways. There is disruption but also benefits and opportunities so, as a council, we are pushing HS2 hard to use local companies and employ local people and they have responded. We have stats that demonstrate that they are employing and training people within our postcodes."

Skills is another big area of emphasis for Martin as he settles into his role.

"Skills and training for our young people are so important, both to give them the careers they want and to supply our employers with the skilled workforce they need," he said.  "We are so fortunate in Warwickshire that we have great connections with our local universities and schools and colleges.

"I was at the University of Warwick recently hearing all about what's going on there around e-sports and that made me think that's one of the special things about Warwickshire - we have a great history and heritage in businesses but are also at the forefront of moving into the future in many ways."


Have your say...

Comments are closed for this article