Vice-Chancellor appointed as Deputy Lieutenant

The University's Vice-Chancellor has been appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands.Geoff Layer

Professor Geoff Layer is one of five new Deputy Lieutenants appointed by Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Mr Paul Sabapathy CBE.‌

Deputy Lieutenants support the Lord-Lieutenant in representing Her Majesty the Queen and are also required to fulfil the role and a number of other duties in promoting and supporting the region.

Professor Layer, who will be a Wolverhampton Ambassador, said: “I am deeply honoured to have been appointed to this prestigious role, which recognises the University’s contribution to the region.

“Universities are anchors within the communities they serve, and this provides us with another opportunity to be part of raising awareness of the many great things the West Midlands has to offer.”

Commenting on the five new appointments, Mr. Sabapathy said: “I am sure that their wealth of expertise and knowledge across many different sectors will have a positive impact on the Lieutenancy and supporting the continuing success of the West Midlands.

“They join our existing group of highly committed and hugely capable Deputy Lieutenants to serve the 2.7 million citizens in the West Midlands – which is the second largest lieutenancy in the country.

“They will be helping me as Lord-Lieutenant to represent Her Majesty in the West Midlands to the very highest standards that she expects and demands.”

Professor Geoff Layer is a Professor of Lifelong Learning and has been the Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton since August 2011.

Geoff has led on and advised on a number of national higher education initiatives in England. Between 2000 - 2006 he was Director of Action on Access, an agency of HEFCE where he championed the Council’s Widening Participation Strategy. He is a member of Universities UK’s Research Policy Network; the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Teaching, Quality and the Student Experience Committee; the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group; the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers and is a is a Board Member of the Equality Challenge Unit. 

Geoff is a board member of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and the Wolverhampton City Strategy Board.

Geoff, who is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, was awarded the OBE in 2003 for his services to Higher Education.
Deputy Lieutenants support the Lord-Lieutenant within the county or area in a number of different ways. They may be required to represent the Lord-Lieutenant in his absence at events ranging from ceremonies to official events.

The Lord-Lieutenant may also ask them to carry out specific tasks such as raising awareness of Honours where, through lack of nominations, the West Midlands region is under represented with 4.3% of the UK population but only receiving 2.4% of the honours. They are also charged with promoting The Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service and The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise particularly in their local areas – so as to help increase the number of nominations.

Deputy Lieutenants are also called upon to use their experience and knowledge to make informed recommendations regarding nominations for honours as well as proposing deserving candidates for invitation to a Royal Garden Party. They may also provide suggestions in relation to suitable voluntary and professional enterprises that they feel should qualify for a Royal visit. 


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About the West Midlands Lieutenancy

The Lord-Lieutenant is Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in the West Midlands and is charged with upholding the dignity of the Crown. He is supported by a Vice Lord-Lieutenant and a number of Deputy Lieutenants who he appoints from the Community of the West Midlands.

The West Midlands Lieutenancy comprises Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton. It is the second largest Lieutenancy in the country with a population of over 2.7 million.

The role can include identifying and commenting on any potential honours nominations, promoting awareness and understanding of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise as well as commending candidates for invitation to a Royal Garden Party. They can also suggest suitable enterprises, both voluntary and professional, which might be the subject of a Royal visit. Deputy Lieutenants may also participate in citizenship ceremonies.

The five new appointments are:

Louise Bennett OBE DL, Chief Executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce -a post she has held since February 2003.

Professor Abdul Rashid Gatrad OBE DL, Consultant Pediatrician at the Manor Hospital in Walsall UK; Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham and Honorary Professor at the Universities of Wolverhampton and Kentucky, USA.

Steven Hollis DL, Chairman of Birmingham Metropolitan College; Deputy Chair of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

Professor Geoff Layer OBE DL, Professor of Lifelong Learning and Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton since August 2011.

Jonathan Webber MBE DL, Director of International Trade at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, and Director of Enterprise Europe Network (West Midlands) and Europe Direct, Birmingham.

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