I have been a teacher/lecturer/educational leader in the F& HE sector for just over 40 years initially teaching and leading business related vocational programmes in two FE Colleges. I studied part time for an MSc In Personnel Management (Aston) and later for a MA in Industrial Relations (Keele). I moved into leadership roles as an Assistant Principal then Vice Principal in an FE College, leading on business development and external liaison. On completion of my EdD (Leicester) I moved into the HE sector, initially to run a suite of work based Master’s and related CPD programmes prior to becoming a Head of School (De Montfort University). After a period of turnaround for the school I became Associate Dean and then Dean (University of Gloucestershire), obtaining Professorial title in 2011 primarily in relation to my education and business development achievements. Post retirement I worked as NED for a third sector organisation (Emmaus) in their key development phase and for a Private Training Provider (PM Training) and I became Chair of The Aspire Housing Group. At the University of Nottingham, I teach and lead modules on our Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Management and currently act as our centre’s PGR co-ordinator.
It is an exciting and pivotal time to seek to become a trustee for BELMAS and I feel that there is a close match between my background and experience in the sector and to the strategic priorities and direction of the organisation. I am therefore keen to engage with BELMAS officers and fellow trustees to listen, guide and support the organisation and to help shape and sustain the contribution that the organisation has in the education community.
I have the relevant recent experience of relaunching, developing and now working to sustain the BELMAS P16 RiG and as one of its co-convenors and I have engaged well with BELMAS officers as part of this process. In practice this means that I am motivated to play my part in supporting and promoting the influence and impact of the organisation through the work of its RiG’s and wider activities at home and internationally.
Linking my wider leadership experience to my other activities which I hope are of value, I have developed a solid set of transferable skills that I feel relate well to the role of a trustee for BELMAS at this time. For example, the formative year of a ‘ground up’ approach leading to the launch of the Emmaus charity in Stoke on Trent. Although very challenging, these duties helped to shape my understanding of the social impact of such an organisation and the operational and financial realities of daily life in such an important setting.
Similarly, playing a strategic and governance based role for a ‘second chance’ provider in the competitive post 16 ‘market’ took me away from ‘traditional further education’ towards a sector and an organisation that to work exceptionally hard to have a voice and to make a contribution to improving the life chances of the most at risk after their compulsory education had finished.
Added to this, my work and contribution as a NED, Vice Chair & then Chair of a Social Housing provider with its ageing housing stock (9,000 homes) is of particular relevance I suggest. I was Chair at a time of volatile housing policy and capped rents which engaged me in approaches to business planning and inspection frameworks (in depth assessments) where the people v ‘profit’ challenge was particularly complex. I can now go forward from this experience with the skills and knowledge relating to governance related risk management, an acute awareness of the challenge of potential mission drift and a knowledge of the importance to maintain a clear critical eye on how an organisation justifies key decisions and reports on its performance both broadly and specifically.
In summary, at heart I am an experienced educationalist, but one that has sought to enhance my professional life outside of the sector as well. Much of what I have experienced and learnt has been enriching and rewarding I now feel ready to play a role for BELMAS as a trustee.