Governors’ Profiles

Read about Solihull College & University Centre’s Governors here

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I retired from full time work in 2017 after a 40-year career in education, training and skills. During that time I was a teacher, assessor, manager and director. My last job was as Director of Quality & Standards for a large general further education college in the West Midlands. I spent 9 years as ‘Her Majesty’s Inspector’ with Ofsted, the Adult Learning Inspectorate and Training Standards Council. Previously as Quality Director for a national welfare-to-work and skills provider, I had responsibility for quality, equality and safeguarding for many branches, subcontractors and learners. One of my most challenging projects was leading the inspection of training establishments across the Armed Forces, including visits to the front line in Basra, Iraq, resulting in the national report “Safer Training”. I have had many successes in leading diverse teams, managing multiple job roles and completing high profile projects with government departments, assessment agencies, training providers and employers. I was appointed Chair of Governors on 1 August 2019.

barbara hughes - chair
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Rebecca joined Solihull College & University Centre in 2016 as Assistant Principal, becoming Vice Principal for Curriculum and Quality in 2019 and appointed as Principal and Chief Executive in 2022. Rebecca started working in the further education sector as an hourly paid lecturer in Business and Management and has over 20 years’ experience, with expertise in curriculum and quality. She joined Ofsted as a part time inspector in 2015. Rebecca is a passionate ambassador for further education and was awarded a Doctorate in Education for her research on FE senior leadership.

rebecca gater - principal
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Sam is the Director of Corporate Governance, Risk and Compliance and took up this role in June 2022 with 30 years’ experience of Further Education Management in areas of Governance, HR, Risk, Audit and Compliance. Sam joined Solihull College & University Centre in 1993 as HR Manager and over the years has taken on a diverse range of responsibilities and has seen her role hugely evolve and develop. Sam now works as the governance professional building strong board executive relations between governors and the College’s senior and executive management teams. Sam has a passion for education completing her Masters degree at Aston University and MBA at Leicester University. She feels inspired by her environment and is on a continual journey of learning.

sam bromwich
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Christine retired in 2020 after a forty year career, firstly with the British Council and then in Higher Education management. She has held posts at Aston University and the University of Birmingham, including Director of Strategic Planning and Academic Registrar, then moved to Birmingham City University as University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer. From 2016 – 2019 she led Ambitious Futures, the national graduate leadership scheme for Higher Education. Christine’s fields of expertise include performance measurement, organisational change, strategy and governance, as well as the implementation of the Prevent strategy. As a consultant with the HE development agency Advance HE, Christine has run leadership and development programmes for university governors, managers and aspiring leaders, in particular for women seeking senior positions.

christine abbott
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Paul has 30 years of experience in financial management and audit in large commercial and public sector organisations, including at Board level. Qualified as an accountant, with a University degree in Economics and Management, he trained and worked with Ernst & Young Co in the UK and has held a variety of CFO roles in commercial and NHS organisations, most latterly as European CFO of the US transformational genomics provider Nant Health. He established his own consultancy several years ago and maintains a broad portfolio of health & technology sector clients. He is a respected visiting lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton. Paul authored the Health Economics Module on HFMA Academy’s on-line MBA Programme and has delivered the module to successive cohorts of medical students and healthcare professionals since. Paul also holds the post of Faculty Tutor on this Programme.

paul assinder
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Scott currently works at NFU Mutual as a Data Protection and Information Security governance consultant. He graduated from Solihull College & University Centre in 2017 with a BA in Business Management. He was also sat on the board of governors as a student governor for 2 years and assisted in the successful QAA review of the college and merger with Stratford college. Scott has re-joined the board of governors bringing with him the experience of graduating from the college and the understanding of the student experience from running the student council. He has also qualified as a Data protection professional working with GDPR and the data protection act for NFU Mutual.

scott beasley
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I have worked in the education and training sector for the majority of my working life. Prior to spending five and half years in the Middle East working with the governments of Dubai and Kuwait, I was a senior HMI in Ofsted. My overseas work has mainly been advising governments on international curricula, technical and vocational education, and on quality assurance. My last job was working for World Bank in Kuwait, supporting the Government in redesigning and reforming the school education system. My career in education has included front line delivery as a lecturer of chemistry as well senior roles in local, regional and national government. In my role as senior HMI, I was responsible for taking the national lead on Adult and Community Learning and commercial contracts. I was also responsible for the performance management and quality of the work of eleven HMI.

tasleem chaudary
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I am a Risk and Governance Specialist within financial services, focusing on development and oversight of governance structure for risk management and I am currently the Senior Manager, Corporate Governance and Special Projects at Al Rayan Bank – one of the UK’s ethical, Sharia compliant banks. I am also Chair of Governors at Tiverton Academy providing oversight and challenge to ensure effective decision making, whilst striving to retain its richness and breadth of curriculum and excellent pastoral care.

amirun nehar
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Sarah is currently Head of School of the School of Marketing and Management at Coventry Business School, Coventry University. She leads a large and diverse multi-disciplinary school of around 2500 students 100 staff. Sarah has extensive experience of working in higher education and further education sectors having held various academic, teaching and leadership positions over the past 14 years. Prior to working in education, Sarah spent 18 years in industry occupying senior marketing positions at National Express and ATS Euromaster. Sarah is passionate about the power of education and lifelong learning to transform lives, she remains committed to her own learning and is currently undertaking a doctorate at the University of Reading.

sarah horton-walsh
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Lucy is a chartered accountant working for the Water Services Regulation Authority, Ofwat as Head of Finance. Lucy leads a team providing operational finance support to the business, alongside engagement with Central Government Departments. Lucy volunteers with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) specifically supporting the Public Sector work and West Midlands region.

lucy lee
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Tony has a wide range of experience in financial services, operations and the recruitment sector – including at Board level and having run his own businesses. With an Economics degree and an MBA, his early career was with NatWest including working for the Group Finance Director and Secretariat to various main Board Committees.
Tony had to relinquish his role as a Governor at Dudley College after six years, due to work relocation – but is pleased to take up that role again in the FE sector at Solihull College & University Centre. He is now retired but is also a director of the Solihull-based Family Care Trust charity, which supports adults with learning differences. He is also Secretary of his local tennis and squash club. Tony is passionate about service, efficiency and value for money.

tony lucas
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I have had the privilege to work in the College for 14 years as a lecturer in Care and Education, and most recently in the role as a program manager. Prior to this l worked as an Orthopaedic nurse, but felt my passion was in working with the student nurses, educating them, and teaching them new skills. Having seen the role from different levels within the organization, l feel this gives me a wealth of experience to bring to this position. l feel now is the ideal time to use this knowledge and passion I have for the College to be a part of the team of governors. As an approachable and friendly person, and with an open-door policy, l hope to be a conduit between the pupils and staff, and the management and governance of the college.

donna poole
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With nearly 20 years’ experience in the field of business advice and guidance Joan is knowledgeable in all areas of business support. Having worked for Business Link and the Chamber of Commerce for many years, she has met hundreds of companies over the years who have invited her in to learn about their business and analyse their needs. She can then offer them solutions by signposting to the experts that can assist in achieving their goals. Joan is an impartial broker and works with key organisations and associates to offer the best solutions to match their needs. I have worked with Solihull College & University Centre for more than 16 years and I am very passionate about helping businesses. The apprenticeship levy is something that appears to be complicated to some businesses. Joan and the Jintro team can assist with simplifying this in order to get the best training and development courses to match the needs of all employees.

joan smith
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Geraldine is a Legal Director at SGH Martineau LLP and a member of the firm’s Education Team. She has been providing legal advice to colleges and universities since she qualified in 1999, focusing on equality, discipline and contractual matters, as well as constitutional, charity and information law. Geraldine has also worked in education in the UK and overseas and has a keen understanding of the sector.

geraldine swanton
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Harrison works for the non-ministerial Government regulator Ofqual, with several years of experience in the public education sector. After completing an apprenticeship, he also gained a BSc in Information Technology and an MSc in Cyber Security from Coventry University alongside his employment in the public sector. Harrison will bring a diverse perspective on the sector, gained through both personal experience and subsequent regulatory experience.

harrison thompson
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Working as an operations and HR consultant in the broadcast services sector after a career in operations and HR within distribution and logistics sectors, I am passionate about enabling young people to make informed career choices at an early stage. I am particularly interested in how making informed choices can be linked to curriculum offerings and my areas of interest being curriculum and quality reflect this.

sally tomlinson
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A Chartered Accountant, Tony leads an Internal Audit Team for a large Building Society, responsible for its Finance, Treasury and Risk functions. Tony has previous experience of external audits of businesses in the financial services, telecommunications, residential construction and manufacturing sectors.

tony worth
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(FE Student Governor) I have been involved in a number of roles in College such as being a student rep – and helping with events such as Trans Visibility Day, LGBTQ+ History Month, Craftivisum, which was another LGBTQ-focused event and have had involvement with the national Eliminate Racism day. I have represented the Enrichment Team through involvement with the Matrix interview. I am committed to making a difference within the College and am passionate about equal rights.

vic gwozdz
 

College Governance

The Corporation is comparable to a board of non-executive directors. It is composed of members from the local community, stakeholders, student and staff members. Working closely with the Principal, the Corporation is responsible for approving the College’s mission statement, establishing college strategy and maintaining the overall framework of policies and procedures within which the college operates. Governors help the college to maintain a long term focus whilst working on its shorter term goals and plans. The day-to-day management of the college is very much the responsibility of the Principal and the Executive Management Team.

The Corporation is advised by a Director of Corporate Governance, Risk and Compliance who is independent of the College Management team and has access to independent professional advice. Governors making up the Solihull College & University Centre Corporation bring with them a wealth of business, academic and community experience. This ensures that strategic decisions impacting on the College are made in a professional, progressive and responsible way.

Please download the PDFs below to view detailed information on the College’s governance arrangements and key policy statements and procedures.

The Corporation conducts its business in an open and transparent manner and information which is routinely published about the College is contained in its Publication Scheme.

Governance Documents