The Team

Robin Newton-Syms

Executive Director
Robin Newton-Syms

Robin re-joined The Lancashire Colleges in October 2015 with a remit to help secure new European funding for colleges as well as a successful outcome to the area based review of Lancashire’s further education sector. Over £10.7million new funding has since been secured. Having previously worked with the group from 2005-2009 he subsequently helped set up the Greater Manchester Colleges Group. Robin was the National Director of Communications for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) when it was established in 2001 and previously Head of Communications for the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC). He has held senior positions in the further education, university and local government sectors, including a spell as Clerk to an FE corporation board.

As well as leading the team, Robin is responsible for developing and implementing the strategic priorities of The Lancashire Colleges.


Rosie Fearn

Operations Director
Rosie Fearn

Rosie joined The Lancashire Colleges in June 2016 after working for 12 years at the Skills Funding Agency and its predecessor organisations in funding, strategy and partnership management roles. Prior to that she worked for Local Authorities in Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

Rosie supports Robin to deliver The Lancashire Colleges’ business plan, supporting strategy development and co-ordinating the work of the team. She leads our European funding programmes and other projects and activities including those delivered through our LESE Partnership.


Brett Shannon

Projects and Finance Officer

Brett has been with The Lancashire Colleges for 9 years having previously worked as a fully qualified personal trainer and landscape gardener.

Starting as a data inputter, Brett has continued to take on new responsibilities and is now Projects and Finance Officer, managing the day to day finances, the website and social media accounts and the general running of the office.

Brett also supports the performance management of the Access to Employment and Moving On projects, ensuring partners are meeting contract values as well as quality and audit requirements.


Debbie Newell

Marketing and Promotions Co-ordinator

Debbie joined The Lancashire Colleges in June 2017 after 14 years working in various marketing and communications roles for the Skills Funding Agency and its predecessor organisations.

Debbie’s main role is to promote and raise the awareness of the Access to Employment project which is supporting unemployed adults to enter and sustain employment including apprenticeships. She also manages a Continuing Professional Development programme for the ‘Access to Employment’ and ‘Moving On’ delivery partner networks, providing staff with the knowledge, tools and techniques to help them to engage and support learners and employers.