TLC Board Members

Alison Robinson – Myerscough College

Lancashire born and bred, Alison Robinson is very familiar not only with the local community but also with many aspects of Myerscough College’s specialist curricular areas. Alison grew up on a farm with a beef herd, chickens, cats and dogs plus a family horse racing business just 12 miles from the College’s Bilsborrow campus. More recently, Alison has lived with her family in one of the College’s surrounding villages, St Michael’s-on-Wyre for more than 20 years and her husband has run a family engineering business in Garstang. As a keen scuba diver for more than 30 years Alison also takes a keen interest in marine life and conservation.

Alison became Principal and Chief Executive of Myerscough College and University Centre on 1 April 2018 having previously held the position of Vice Principal and Deputy Chief Executive at the College.  As part of the job role Alison now lives on the College campus with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

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, social science and management subjects across a range of post-16 providers in Lancashire from Levels 1 to 7. Alison has also spent some time working as an Ofsted Inspector and has worked in student support, counselling and advisory roles.

Myerscough provides courses from entry to postgraduate level within its 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, Warrington and Manchester.  The College is one of 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.  Myerscough is rated good for its academic quality and residential care of students by Ofsted and has good financial health as recognised by the ESFA.

HE provision is provided by University Centre Myerscough in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire, in which the College is an Associate School.  The College is proud of its Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award and top quartile student satisfaction results (NSS).

Alison is passionate about the value of education in opening doors and changing people’s lives no matter what their background or ability. Alison believes in the importance of a fully inclusive education and her mission along with the College’s is to provide “Opportunities for all to succeed” and she is delighted that the College has just been re-accredited as a Leader in Diversity by the National Centre for Diversity.

Amanda Melton CBE – Nelson and Colne College Group

Following a modern languages degree, Amanda worked in biotechnology software sales, supporting geneticists in early digital analysis techniques. With the arrival of her family, she became a teacher in IT, business and languages at South Trafford College and moved through a variety of leadership roles there over 15 years.

Amanda Melton was appointed Principal and Chief Executive of Nelson and Colne College in March 2012. In 2015 the College expanded to include Lancashire Adult Learning, delivering adult community learning across the county. In December 2018, Accrington and Rossendale College also joined the Nelson and Colne College Group.

Amanda is a Trustee of Pendle Education Trust, a multi-academy trust initially set up in 2013 by Nelson and Colne College to support improvement in poor-performing primary and secondary schools in East Lancashire. The Trust is currently responsible for five rapidly improving Academies.

Amanda is a Director at the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership, and chairs the Lancashire LEP Skills Advisory Panel. She is also currently a Director of East Lancashire Chamber, and of Growth Lancashire.

In March 2019, Amanda was appointed as Commissioner for the Independent Commission for the College of the Future. In October 2020, she was awarded a prestigious CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to education.

The Nelson and Colne College Group is made up of three merged colleges; Nelson and Colne College, Accrington and Rossendale College and Lancashire Adult Learning. It is also sponsor to Pendle Education Trust.

Accrington and Rossendale College has been providing high quality, award-winning education and training for over 60 years. It was named Outstanding BTEC School/College of the year in 2015 and its success rates for 16-19 year olds put it in the top 10% of FE and tertiary colleges in the country.

Its merger in November 2018 with Nelson and Colne College has further enhanced the diverse curriculum it is able to offer local communities within East Lancashire. This includes further education, apprenticeships and training, adult learning and a highly respected Higher Education programme.

The College’s tutors and assessors have a wealth of industry experience and students have opportunities to take part in masterclasses with Michelin starred chefs, award winning movie directors, actors and Premier League footballers who previously studied at the college, giving students the expert skills and knowledge needed to move on to their chosen career path.

Nelson and Colne College is a high-performing, ambitious organisation situated in the heart of Pendle. It has been rated as Outstanding by Ofsted since 2005 and is currently the number one college in the country for 16-18 learner achievement.

The College is recognised nationally for its performance and is at the forefront of sector developments. It has developed a strong reputation for its collaborative approach to education and was one of the first colleges to deliver T Levels. It has also been selected to be a Maths Centre for Excellence.

The College has approximately 1,800 full time students, 14,000 part-time adults and more than 1,000 apprentices supported by highly-skilled staff who are committed to raising aspirations, transforming lives and delivering significant impact and opportunities across the region. 

Lancashire Adult Learning (LAL) is one of the largest Adult Community Learning Providers in the UK. It offers an extensive range of subjects from leisure learning to employability skills and skills for life to over 14,500 learners. Working with over 200 partners, LAL has delivered over 2000 courses through more than 300 venues across Lancashire.

Recognised by Ofsted in 2016 as a ‘Good’ learning provider, LAL plays a crucial role in moving society forward, reaching out and helping people everywhere within its boundaries to move on and up in their lives.

Bev Robinson OBE – Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC)

Bev Robinson

With over 25 years’ experience in further and higher education colleges, Bev believes in the power of education and training to transform lives and is passionate about technical and professional education, co-created with industry, to drive the UK economy.

Bev is a member of the Board of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.  She was on the Independent Panel for the Review of Post 18 Education and Funding which produced the Augar report and was a member of the Independent Panel on Technical Education chaired by Lord Sainsbury.  Bev is a member of the Lancashire LEP Skills and Employment Advisory Panel.

Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) has been spearheading technical and professional education across the Fylde coast for over 125 years.  Every year, 15,000 students choose B&FC and with a normal turnover of £54m, we are Lancashire’s largest college. Judged as Ofsted outstanding, B&FC is in the top 3% of colleges nationally for student success and has been for 6 consecutive years.  B&FC is the largest college provider of higher education in England and was awarded Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Gold.

With continuous investment in industry-standard equipment and facilities, B&FC focuses on those aspects of education and training which are needed to drive the economy, deliver a skilled workforce for industry, secure vibrant careers for students whilst promoting social equity.

Clare Russell – Runshaw College

Clare took up the post of Principal and Chief Executive at Runshaw College in August 2020, having joined the college in 2009.  Clare started her teaching career at King George V College Southport, in September 2000, as a teacher of Computer Science & ICT, quickly progressing to a Curriculum Manager role.  In 2009, Clare moved to Runshaw College as Head of School for Computing & ICT, teaching adults and 16-18 students from Levels 1 to 5.  After two years in that role, she was promoted to Assistant Principal and then Deputy Principal.

Passionate about the power of education to change lives, Clare has served as an Ofsted Inspector for several years and has also held senior roles with awarding organisations. She is a governing board member for a number of local schools and colleges.

Since its initial formation in 1974, Runshaw College has developed into one of the largest and most successful providers of 16-18 education in the country and it also serves the adult learners and employers within its local communities. The sixth form campus in Leyland offers a wide range of A Levels and vocational programmes whilst the Chorley campus provides a range of Adult FE and HE courses, and training for apprentices.

Runshaw has been an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ college for more than 25 years, and it has a national reputation for excellence. Its primary aims are to be a “great place to study” and a “great place to work”, as well as being a “great place for partnerships” with all representatives of the local community in Chorley and South Ribble. Learner outcomes are consistently outstanding in terms of attainment, added value and progression, and satisfaction levels at the college are extremely high from all key stakeholder groups, including students, staff and employers.

Denise Williamson – West Lancashire College

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 BTECs and apprenticeships.

Dr Fazal Dad – Blackburn College

Prior to joining Blackburn College as the Principal and Chief Executive in January 2019, Dr Fazal Dad has gained 28 years’ experience in Further Education, previously working in three different FE Institutions in the West Midlands. Posts held by Fazal included Part Time Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Head of Department, Assistant Principal and Deputy Principal.  Prior to this, on leaving school, Fazal completed an apprenticeship in Electrical Engineering and worked in the private sector for eight years in the Electrical Engineering Industry.

Fazal has two Masters Degrees and a PhD in Leadership and Management from Worcester University. He has participated in a range of expert panels across the country and has helped to shape national policy on Study Programmes, Professional Teaching Standards and the Post 16 Maths Review. Fazal is also a reviewer with the QAA.

Blackburn College is the largest Further Education college in Pennine Lancashire and is one of the largest providers of Higher Education in a college in England. Established in 1888, people from all over Lancashire have developed their skills, re-trained and moved to higher levels of study with Blackburn College’s support. The College is at the heart of the multi-racial community of Blackburn with Darwen and aims to provide social cohesion in an area of high deprivation, working with a range of local partnerships to contribute to the wider prosperity and regeneration of East Lancashire.

The College provides learning opportunities to almost 12,000 students at all levels and across a wide range of sectors, meeting the needs of the local community by offering a broad curriculum. This includes A Levels, Technical and Vocational Courses, apprenticeships, Degree-level qualifications and a range of programmes for Adult learners including shorter, part-time courses. In the academic year 2018/19, Blackburn College has seen the best results in 4 years.

The University Centre at Blackburn College provides Higher Education, including Foundation Degrees, Honours Degrees, Higher Level and Degree-Level Apprenticeships with students from 2018/19 gaining roles as diverse as a Counsellor with the NHS, graduate Engineers, Software Developers and more. 

Jill Gray – Blackpool Sixth Form College

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.

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

Blackpool Sixth is an outstanding sixth form college serving the Fylde Coast of Lancashire. With a choice of over 50 advanced level options, specialist teaching and fantastic facilities, Blackpool Sixth provides all its students the perfect springboard to university and great careers. In 2019, the college celebrated another year of brilliant A Level and BTEC results. The overall pass rate was 99% with many students achieving a whole string of top grade passes. Last year 98% of its students successfully progressed to university, higher apprenticeships or other high quality employment with training. Together with a local high school, Blackpool Sixth is the lead organisation in the Fylde Coast Teaching School Alliance, taking a key role in shaping and delivering the training and professional development of current and future generations of teachers in the region. It is also a co-sponsor of the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT) family of schools.

Karen Buchanan – Burnley College

Karen was appointed as Principal of Burnley College and CEO of Themis, its Apprenticeship and Business training arm in 2018, after a seven-year tenure as Deputy Principal.  Her career in Further Education launched in 1993 when she joined Burnley College as a lecturer in Computing. Karen brought skills and experience from industry to the education sector, having worked as a computer programmer and systems analyst at some of the region’s leading Employers, British Aerospace, the Prestige Group plc and Leyland DAF.

As a senior manager at the College, Karen has welcomed Royal visitors on official visits including escorting Prince Charles on a tour of the College’s new Campus and welcoming the Queen and Prince Philip on their Jubilee tour.

Burnley College has an outstanding reputation for ensuring students build their futures and are empowered to change their lives. The College is rated Outstanding by Ofsted; has been named North West Aerospace Alliance New Talent Training Provider of the Year 2018 and 2019 and listed as one of the top 10 performing Colleges in national league and results tables. In 2019, students achieved a 99.8% A Level pass rate and recorded a 100% Advanced Vocational programme pass rate for the 16th consecutive year.

From its £100 million Campus in the heart of Pennine Lancashire, Burnley College offers a comprehensive range of A Level and Vocational programmes; acclaimed Apprenticeship and bespoke business training packages; Adult Learning at all levels, from hobby courses and vital Maths and English qualifications to Access to Higher Education programmes and professional qualifications, and has a new University Courses Centre, offering industry-focussed degree courses and Degree Apprenticeships which provide graduates with the skills and experience needed by Employers.

The College is committed to continuous investment, having an award-winning fitness centre with state of the art equipment and a fitness testing lab; new university-standard science labs; a robotics suite; engineering workshops fitted with industry-standard advanced manufacturing equipment; high-tech learning spaces and performance and rehearsal studios.

Louise Doswell – Preston College

Louise was appointed Principal and Chief Executive of Preston College in June 2021 having previously held a range of senior appointments, most recently as Deputy Chief Executive and Principal at York College, where she served for 13 years. Louise has worked across curriculum and professional services functions and has expertise in strategic planning, infrastructure development and working with employers.

Partnerships are a strong theme of Louise’s leadership and she has worked with the Department for Education, local government bodies, employer and local community groups.   In addition, she has actively contributed to the development of national policy through both the Association of Colleges (AoC) and active membership of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

With over 20 years’ experience in the sector, Louise is relentlessly focused on the role and value of further education and the power it has to transform lives and communities.

Preston College has a rich history with firm foundations in providing technical education and skills for its community. The College takes great pride in supporting its learners to achieve the qualifications and outcomes they need, alongside the technical skills, knowledge and experience that employers are looking for. In short, the College’s mission is to help make learners ‘the most employable’ and to thrive in their chosen career.

Recognised by Ofsted as a Good college, over 90% of 16-18 year old full-time learners progress on to further study, an apprenticeship or employment. The College offers a wide sector-based technical and professional offer at all levels, including 14-16, 16-18, adult, apprenticeship and Higher Education provision.

Nick Burnham – Cardinal Newman College

Nick Burnham

Nick is in his sixth year as Principal of Cardinal Newman College. The college has grown over the last five years and is now one of the largest and most successful sixth form colleges nationally.

He started his career as a teacher of Economics at Peter Symonds College, Winchester spending eleven years there before moving north to be Vice Principal at another Ofsted outstanding college, Carmel College in St Helens. Nick is a firm believer in the power of Sixth form colleges to be a force for social mobility and is currently Chair of the Sixth Form Colleges Association.

Cardinal Newman College is an outstanding Catholic Sixth Form College which welcomes students of all faiths. Situated in the heart of Preston city centre on a unique and compact campus, the main college buildings are centred in a Georgian mansion within stunning grounds which include a lake and wooded areas. As well as offering a range of courses, from A Levels to Level 2 and Level 3 BTEC courses, the College offers degree courses and is also a centre for teacher training with the Catholic Teaching Alliance.

In 2018, the students of Cardinal Newman once again proved why the College is one of the top colleges nationally with another year of outstanding results. The class of 2018 achieved excellent A Level success with a 99.6% A Level pass rate, a 100% BTEC pass rate and 77% of entries achieving High Grades (A*-B Grades or equivalent).

The amazing results topped off an exceptional year for the College, which included 1,169 students gaining places at university with a record number of 13 students offered places at Oxford or Cambridge University.


Wes Johnson – Lancaster & Morecambe College

Wes Johnson joined Lancaster & Morecambe College (LMC) in April 2017 as Principal and Chief Executive. He is also the Chair of The Lancashire Colleges and a Director of the Lancaster & District Chamber of Commerce. Wes 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.

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 is a regional provider of technical, professional and creative education, focused on providing young people and adults with the skills and knowledge to enable them to progress into employment or on to further study. Its employers have rated LMC as one of the top 25% of colleges in the country for employer satisfaction. The College’s excellent facilities are designed to meet or exceed industry standards and enable students to choose from a wide range of work related courses from Level 1 to Level 4.

Over 90% of students progress positively into work, further and higher study. As a key apprenticeship provider in the local area, the College has links to over 700 employers, delivering apprenticeships across 30 occupational areas and works closely with local employers to equip its graduating students to be well placed to secure employment with businesses across the region, or to progress on to further study.