I’m standing to be Mayor of the West Midlands because I believe this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our great region.

I care deeply about this area – I grew up in Northfield and Solihull, and went to Green Meadow Infants School, Langley Junior School and then King Edwards School in Edgbaston.

I know how important it is for young people in our area to have the chance to make the most out of their lives – that’s why I’m committed to investing in skills and apprenticeships to create the opportunities they need.

I started as a trainee at John Lewis back in 1985, working my way up from the shop floor to become Managing Director in 2007.

Leading John Lewis, I helped nearly double the number of stores, creating jobs and generating investment across the country, including here in the West Midlands.

As well as running John Lewis, I have been the Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership since 2011, getting politicians, businesses, councils and universities to work together to benefit our community and drive our economy.

In that role, I helped negotiate a Growth Deal with Government worth £379m to fund local projects to drive economic growth – and launched the City Centre Enterprise Zone, with major work underway at key sites, including “Paradise” and “Arena Central”, the new home of HSBC.

I now want to bring the skills I’ve learnt in business to the West Midlands to create jobs, opportunities and success right across the region, helping you and your family to get on in life, and ensuring the West Midlands region regains its rightful place as the powerhouse of Britain.

I am very proud of our community, and am struck by the wonderful commitment to it by local people.

Personally while still at school, I started a long term involvement with in a charity called Birmingham Young Volunteers (BYV) Adventure Camps, running camping holidays for underprivileged youngsters from our city.

And now I’m Vice Chairman of Performances Birmingham, helping to run the City’s Symphony and Town Halls.

But I also know that there’s lots to be done to ensure our community works for everyone.

If I’m elected as your Mayor, I will use everything I’ve learnt to build a West Midlands that works for everyone – and deliver the investment, jobs, housing, safer streets and transport network that you and your family deserve.