TLC Board Members

Accrington and Rossendale College – Lynda Mason

Lynda became Interim Principal of Accrington & Rossendale College in January 2017.  The college has recently been inspected by Ofsted (January 2018) and was graded as a Good provider.  Lynda had previously worked at the college as Deputy Principal and then Interim Principal for a period of time prior to moving on to work with a Manchester college.

Lynda was born and bred in Lancashire and spent 20 years working for the NHS as a Public Health specialist.  She specialised in coronary prevention and mental health issues both of which set her up well for joining the education sector in 1995.  Lynda’s career in education involved working on degree programmes in the early days of HE in FE.  She has worked with employers and apprenticeships, she is passionate about the learner experience and the quality required to ensure successful outcomes for all learners attending Accrington & Rossendale College.

The college is an award winning provider of Further Education, Higher Education and Work Based Training to around 4,000 students per year.  The College holds the Plaisterers Award for Best College in the Country along with the Teaching Excellence Framework Bronze Award for its Higher Education and a City & Guilds Gold Medal for staff developing unique trauma cleaning, training and development.  Situated in the heart of Pennine Lancashire positioned just on the outskirts of Accrington town centre, the college campus is lucky to be surrounded by a fantastic green landscape that includes protected trees, moorland and other green spaces. The campus provides a warm welcome to students of all ages.

Blackburn College – Graham Towse (Interim Principal and Chief Executive)

Graham (known as Gray) has substantial experience in Further and Higher Education spanning over 20 years. Gray started at Hull College as an apprentice Engineer in 1985 and enjoyed 11 years in industry. In 1996 he took up the post of Lecturer in Computer Aided Design and Manufacture at Hull College moving to the position of Head of School of Engineering in 1999 and subsequently Director of Learning for Young People in 2003. He moved to Bishop Burton College in 2006 as Deputy Principal and then moved to The Grimsby Institute Group in 2010 as Vice Principal Curriculum and Quality and was subsequently promoted to Deputy Principal. Gray returned to his roots in Hull in April 2013 to take up the post of Principal of Hull College. Gray started the role of Interim Vice Principal (Curriculum and Quality) at Blackburn College in December 2017 before becoming Interim Principal and Chief Executive of Blackburn College in October 2018.

Being a product of FE and work based learning himself, Gray’s passion is for Technical and Professional education and training and in improving the technical and employability skills of students. He has a particular interest in Skills Competitions and he was the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Ambassador for WorldSkills UK and sat on the AoC Portfolio Group for World Skills and is proud to have supported four WorldSkills UK Gold medallists from Hull College over the past 4 years.

Gray is a graduate Engineer and holds an MBA from the University of Hull. He is a member of the Chartered Management Institute, the Institute for Learning and the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Blackpool and The Fylde College – Bev Robinson OBE

Bev Robinson

Bev joined Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) in April 2013 with over 20 years’ experience in further and higher education colleges in England. She believes in the power of education and training to transform lives and that the development of technical and professional education underpins the success of the UK economy.  Bev was a member of the Independent Panel on Technical Education chaired by Lord Sainsbury, the recommendations of which formed the basis of the current post 16 reform.  She sits on the Board of the Institute for Apprenticeships and the Lancashire LEP Skills and Employment Board.

B&FC has been working with employers since 1892 to deliver a skilled workforce across Lancashire and beyond and to secure sustainable and rewarding careers for its students. Today, it is a national leader in the development of degree apprenticeships with its partner Lancaster University, one of the top 10 universities in the UK.  Judged outstanding by Ofsted, B&FC is renowned for high quality technical and professional education and was awarded Teaching Excellence Framework GOLD in June 2017. B&FC has been the highest performing large FE college in England for student success for 3 consecutive years (source: ESFA 2017, 2016 and 2015).  It was awarded Foundation Degree Awarding Powers in September 2016 and in 2015 the College was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its technical and professional work in partnership with employers.

Blackpool Sixth Form College – Jill Gray

Jill joined Blackpool Sixth as Principal in January 2015 after more than 20 years working at Runshaw College, seven of these as a senior leader.

Jill originally trained in hospitality management, having visions of managing hotels worldwide. However in 1994 her career took an unexpected turn when she entered the world of education initially as a teacher of tourism and hospitality before moving into middle management in 1998 and senior management in 2008.

Having undertaken her post-16 education in Blackpool Jill is excited to be back on the Fylde coast in her role as Principal. She is enjoying working with the staff, students, governors and the wider community to provide an outstanding education for the young people of Blackpool.

Blackpool Sixth is an outstanding specialist sixth form college and was the first sixth form college to be designated as a National Teaching School. The college is also an active sponsor of Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT).

Jill is currently a Director of the Fylde Coast Teaching School, a Director of FCAT and a governor at Blackpool Aspire Academy. Jill is also an Ofsted Inspector.

Burnley College – Karen Buchanan

Karen has recently been appointed as Principal of Burnley College and CEO of THEMIS.  She was previously Deputy Principal of the College appointed in September 2011.  Karen has worked in Further Education since starting as a part time computing lecturer at Burnley College in 1993.  Prior to this Karen worked as a computer programmer and then a Systems Analyst at The Prestige Group PLC, British Aerospace and at Leyland DAF.

Memorable moments for Karen at Burnley College include escorting Prince Charles around the newly built £81m Burnley College / UCLAN Campus in February 2010 and hosting HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip during the 2013 Jubilee year tour.

The Burnley College partnership, together with Burnley College Sixth Form, THEMIS apprenticeship and employer education and Burnley UCLAN is the largest FE institution in East Lancashire. It serves amongst the most deprived populations in the UK.  The partnership places a great emphasis on ladders of progression to support students right through post 16 and university qualifications.  Student achievements are in the top 5% in the country and MP Julie Cooper is a passionate supporter of the College approach to education, working closely with the partnership helping it meet its social responsibility.

Cardinal Newman College – Nick Burnham

Nick Burnham

Nick’s first degree is in Economics and he has worked for 20 years in two ‘Outstanding’ sixth form colleges. At Peter Symonds he rose from A-level teacher to Head of Faculty. For the last 9 years he has been Vice Principal at Carmel College with responsibility for Staffing and Quality Assurance. He expresses a strong commitment to sixth form colleges and he played a significant role in Carmel’s outstanding performance, especially in the area of value added. Quality Assurance strategies are his strengths as evidenced by its praise from Ofsted as good practice. In his curriculum leadership role he has promoted a policy of ‘full engagement’ for students. He played a leading role in a recent restructuring to meet the current funding challenges. He has been internally focused but also works with a college’s key partners to meet the needs of the students.

Nick appreciates the very warm welcome he has received at Cardinal Newman College from colleagues and students and says he is pleased and privileged to be appointed Principal of such a high achieving institution. He is looking forward to working with staff, students, governors and parents in not only sustaining excellence but also in ensuring the college is able to face future challenges with confidence. Nick firmly believes that ‘outstanding’ colleges such as Carmel and Cardinal Newman provide the very best opportunities for our young people in terms of education, social, moral and spiritual development so that they can emerge as confident young adults ready to face a challenging and often uncertain world.

Lancaster & Morecambe College – Wes Johnson

Wes Johnson joined Lancaster & Morecambe College in April 2017 as Principal and Chief Executive and is also the Chair of The Lancashire Colleges. He has over 20 years’ experience in education, with 11 years as a senior leader in both general and specialist further and higher education institutions across the north of England.

Following a successful period as Vice Principal and Acting Principal at Craven College (Skipton), Wes was appointed Campus Principal at Newton Rigg College, a specialist land based college in Cumbria. During his time at Newton Rigg, Wes led the resurgence of the college with significant growth in student numbers and apprenticeships, whilst re-establishing the newly merged college as a high performing specialist provider with a renewed national reputation.

Previous roles have seen Wes lead and deliver education in many settings, from serving disparate rural populations in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Northumberland to disadvantaged urban communities in areas of Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Leeds and Bradford.

As a former teacher trainer and curriculum specialist, Wes has a passion for high impact teaching and learning underpinning the positive influence colleges have in raising aspiration, life chances and the economic wellbeing of individuals, businesses and wider communities.

Lancaster & Morecambe College serves communities across North Lancashire, South Cumbria and North Yorkshire with a broad vocational and technical education offer. The College recently received an employer satisfaction score of 95.8% which placed it in the top 5% of colleges in the country (FE Choices Employer Satisfaction Survey 2016).

Myerscough College – Alison Robinson

Alison Robinson became Principal and Chief Executive of Myerscough College on 1 April 2018 having previously held the position of Vice Principal and Deputy Chief Executive at the College.

Alison has more than 25 years of experience in the education sector and joined Myerscough College in January 2014, after an 18-year spell firstly in teaching and then as an integral part of the senior management team of Runshaw College. Alison’s early teaching career goes back to 1991, where she taught a variety of humanities and social science subjects across a range of post-16 providers across Lancashire from Levels 1 to 5, before moving on to teaching postgraduate students on the Diploma in Management Studies.

Lancashire born and bred, Alison comes from a farming background and has lived just down the road from the College’s main Bilsborrow campus, in St Michael’s-on-Wyre for more than 20 years.

Myerscough provides courses from entry to postgraduate level within their specialist land-based and sports areas and recruits regionally, nationally and in some cases internationally to these programmes, supported by its residential provision for 650 students.  Alongside the main campus at Bilsborrow near Preston, Myerscough has centres in Liverpool, Blackburn and Manchester with specialist veterinary nursing provision in Dorset and on the Wirral.  The College is the highest performing specialist land-based college for 16-18 year old achievement and a centre of excellence for sport. Apprenticeships are delivered nationally where Myerscough is the largest provider of land-based apprenticeships.

The College is inclusive, recognised as a Leader in Diversity with the mission of providing opportunities for all to succeed and has a supportive and welcoming culture. HE provision is provided by University Centre Myerscough in partnership with UCLan, in which the College is an Associate School. The College is proud of its Teaching Excellence Silver Award.

It has a strong research portfolio working with a wide range of universities including Lancaster, Liverpool, UCLan, Manchester, Nottingham Trent and internationally with Coimbra, Portugal and several American universities. Myerscough works with rural communities across the region, supporting rural businesses and farmers and now utilising a new Food & Farming Innovation & Technology (FFIT) centre, part funded by Lancashire LEP to share best practice and facilitate the knowledge exchange between academia, industry and farmers.

Nelson & Colne College – Amanda Melton

Amanda Melton

Amanda Melton was appointed Principal and Chief Executive of Nelson and Colne College in March 2012. The College is rated Ofsted ‘Outstanding.’ Amanda is Chair of the Lancashire LEP Skills and Employment Board and a Director of Growth Lancashire Ltd, Lancashire’s Economic Development and Regeneration company. She is also Principal of Lancashire Adult Learning which provides community learning in more than 300 venues across Lancashire.

Amanda moved into Further Education at South Trafford College in 1995 after a career in scientific software sales and marketing.  She initially taught night school French and Italian, then IT, web design and business, before taking on leadership roles in adult learning, then learner services and finally 16-18 learning. Her experience in quality systems and performance management helped Trafford College to achieve its two Outstanding Ofsted results, and Beacon Status.

She was a senior manager at the time of the merger of North and South Trafford Colleges and led the cultural aspects of this merger.

Since joining Nelson & Colne College, Amanda led the establishment of the Pendle Education Trust, a multi-academy trust currently responsible for three academies, including a primary academy  in special measures which recently achieved a Grade 2 at re-inspection.  Amanda is a Trust Director and Chair of one academy.

Amanda is Chair of the Lancashire LEP Skills Board, identifying and addressing the skills needs of the county to support its growth plans. The Board has now established an independent Skills Hub responsible for delivering the skills priorities identified by the Board, linked to the wider LEP priorities.  Amanda is also a director of Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, Lancashire’s growth company.

Amanda lives in South Manchester, is mum to two adult boys, and married to a maths teacher in FE.

Preston’s College – Dr Lis Smith

Lis Smith

Dr Lis Smith joined Preston’s College in January 2011 as Principal and Chief Executive following a career in education, skills and employment with the Northwest Development Agency and Higher Education.  Having started life as a research and development chemist, it provided the grounding for engaging with industry and public sector to understand their needs and deliver to this, something that is fundamental to the College and its demand-led agenda through being responsive to learners’ and businesses’ needs.

The College’s state-of-the-art iSTEM Centre has regularly welcomed employers which has helped to reinforce its positioning as one of the leading STEM Centres in the North of England. Meanwhile, construction learners have benefited from the Eric Wright Learning Foundation real work environment which has seen a large number of learners progress from the classroom into an Apprenticeship with employers across the county.

In 2017, Preston’s College will continue to build on its work developing new initiatives with industry and a strong partnership with the University of Central Lancashire to tackle the county’s vital skills gap issues. The City Deal has created a wealth of opportunities for Lancashire businesses but has also presented fresh challenges around skills and employment. As such, the College will aim to ensure organisations have the right training needs for current employees, whilst generating a future workforce with the right skills and experience employers need.

With this experience and focus on learning, enterprise and innovation, Lis is committed to providing real opportunities and outcomes for learners, enhancing employability and enterprising behaviours in all. The main focus of Preston’s College to make our learners THE most employable

Runshaw College – Simon Partington

Simon Partington

After graduating in Physics from the University of Sheffield in 1988, Simon worked for 5 years as an engineer in the nuclear power industry.

Simon entered the teaching profession in 1993.  Since that time, he has held a wide variety of teaching and managerial roles within Sixth Form Colleges and General Further Education Colleges in the North of England.

Simon was appointed Principal and Chief Executive at Runshaw College in September 2013 having joined as Assistant Principal in 2006. Runshaw College is a large, inclusive, Tertiary College which has a local and national reputation for educational excellence; it is one of only 6 colleges in England to be designated as a National Teaching School in recognition of enduring excellence and the highly effective work that it does within the sector in supporting others to improve.
It is also one of the largest employers in South Ribble and has now been an Ofsted “outstanding” college for more than 25 years.

West Lancashire College – Denise Williamson

Denise Williamson was appointed Principal of West Lancashire College in June 2017 having previously held the positions of Director of Quality and Support and Interim Principal after joining the college in January 2016. Prior to this, she was Assistant Principal at Warrington Collegiate for 12 years.

West Lancashire College is a small, community based college operating in association with NCG which is a large and successful national provider of further and higher education and Apprenticeship training.

The college is home to around 2,500 learners both young people and adults of all abilities and backgrounds and offers programmes from entry level to degree level and every step in between, including BTEC’s and Apprenticeships.