ADEPT welcomes first female transport board chair

The first ever female chair of ADEPT’s Transport and Connectivity Board has said she hopes her achievement will give confidence to young people coming into the sector to progress their careers.

Ann Carruthers (pictured), director of environment and transport at Leicestershire County Council, was previously deputy chair of the board and is also a member of the Highways Sector Council.

She has taken over from Mark Kemp, who she described as ‘a really hard act to follow’.

She told Transport Network: ‘I really want to keep up the really good relationships and dialogue Mark has built with Government. I think that’s really key.’

She added that she wanted to provide support to local authorities with some of the key issues they are dealing with on a day-to-day basis as well as longer-term issues, ‘because if we all go round the hoops as individual local authorities, we don’t have the resources, we don’t have the time. It’s about raising the bar and supporting them in that. So I’m really keen to keep up that and follow Mark in that role.’

Ms Carruthers played down her own achievement in becoming the first woman to chair any iteration of what used to be the ADEPT Transport Board,  but said: ‘I’m really pleased to be here now, doing it. I think it’s a great opportunity to showcase for a woman and get that level of confidence to encourage young people coming into the industry, and people already in it, to go for that career progression.’

She added: ‘You could always say things could have happened earlier. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? But I’m really pleased we’ve got here now.’

Asked to name her own career highlights to date, Ms Carruthers cited working in New Zealand for the national highways authority and for Kent County Council but also leading her department in Leicestershire through the pandemic, which she described as ‘one of the most turbulent and challenging times we have experienced for many years’.

She said: ‘We continued service delivery despite the many challenges of the pandemic and simultaneously dealt with storms at various times, shortage of staffing resource across many areas, and evolving our services.

‘I am immensely proud of what we achieved and how we continue to adapt and deliver. This will be the same for authorities up and down the country but I am sure I will look back in future years and reflect on what an achievement it really has been.’

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