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Chair Designate and Governors Wirral Metropolitan College

As the provider of choice locally, Wirral Metropolitan College have big ambitions for their future. At a time of transition, with a new Principal & CEO in place, they now seek a Chair Designate and a number of other board members to work with them in delivering a new strategy and achieving their plans for a prosperous future.

  • Location: The Wirral, Merseyside, North West
  • Salary: Unremunerated, with reasonable expenses paid
  • Closing date: CLOSED FOR APPLICATIONS

About the role

Delivering a diverse range of provision across five campuses in Birkenhead and Bebington, Wirral Metropolitan College is an organisation that has been through some big, yet positive, changes over recent times, cementing its status as the local provider of choice for the communities it serves.

Following the recent recruitment of our new Principal and CEO, Gill Banks, and as we come to the end of our current strategic plan, the College is entering into a new and exciting phase of its journey. Our next steps will be underpinned by our reputation as a ‘Good’ education provider (Ofsted, 2017) and our outstanding financial health, allowing us to move forward confidently in helping to tackle the challenges faced across the Wirral region.

The College is in such as good position to build from. We have a vital role to play in developing our local area and in contributing to the wider Liverpool City Region skills plan through the technical and vocational education we offer via our industry standard facilities.

Gill Banks, Principal & CEO

Our leadership team have ambitious plans for our future. These are shared by our Board and will see growth, development and the delivery of a mission to enhance the economic prosperity of young people, adults and employers through a diverse range of high quality, education and training provision. We currently receive over 10,000 enrolments each year and our provision ranges from entry-level to higher education with a particular emphasis on the development of vocational skills. We deliver across a range of education streams including 16-19 study programmes, adult learning, apprenticeships and higher education.

As an organisation, we are deeply rooted within our local communities and as such, we understand the current and future challenges faced by people living and working in the Wirral area: the cost of living, local productivity and skills gaps, for instance. We take pride in our local position to be a catalyst in helping to solve some of these challenges head-on.

I can’t wait to welcome our new Chair Designate and other governors to join us in the months ahead. I’m looking forward to telling them about our ambitions for the future but also in grounding them in who we are, what we do and our ethos. I can’t stress enough how inclusive we are, and our students are at the very centre of our being.

Tim Kelly, Chair of the Board

In the years ahead, we hope to be able to deliver on a new organisational strategy which will allow us to work collaboratively with partners across the region to bring this prosperity to the communities of the Wirral, whilst continuing to strive towards our own organisational vision of being an inclusive, outstanding college.

To achieve these plans and realise our ambitions, we need a passionate team of staff who are led by a dedicated senior leadership team along with support from a diverse board.

Who we are looking for

With a number of governors coming to the end of their respective terms of office and with our incumbent Chair, Tim Kelly, looking to step down in the months ahead following a term of dedicated service, we now seek to appoint a number of new individuals to our Board. Our ambition is to identify candidates who will bring a range of high-quality, professional skills, expertise and diverse perspectives to our Board. As with our current members, new governors will need to share our organisational values of success, passion, integrity, respect and opportunity whilst being prepared to commit to supporting us as we drive the growth and development of our college into the future.

Our boardroom is a vibrant and inclusive environment, ready-made to deliver a real plan for the future of our College, and to ensure new governors coming in are well supported.

 

Jayne Winders, Vice Chair of the Board

Chair Designate

Initially appointed as a governor with the title of Chair Designate, you will join our Board and work closely with our current Chair in the months ahead to settle into the role whilst being given the time and freedom to understand the dynamics of our Board, building your own key relationships with our new Principal & CEO, the wider SLT and your fellow Board Members.

You will have previous board experience, preferably in a leadership role such as Chair, Vice Chair or Committee Chair, and will understand and appreciate the complexities and impacts that Wirral Met and the wider FE sector has on the communities that the College serves, along with an understanding of the varied skills needs of the region. Whilst we will welcome applications from candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, we are especially interested in those whose previous board experience has been gained in an education setting.

Along with allowing you the space and freedom to get up to speed as the new leader of our board, you will also be supported by our Director of Governance, Lesley Venables, and other key individuals with a full and thorough induction process.

We need our future Chair to be accessible and able to offer the appropriate level of support and advice to our senior leaders as a critical friend. Alongside this, you will lead a committed and increasingly collegiate group of governors with an ambition to engender an inclusive, team ethos.

We will soon be opening a recruitment process for additional governors to join our Board. We are running a split process so that our newly appointed Chair Designate can then be involved in the subsequent interview process. We will update this space with further details relating to these additional governor roles in due course.

As well as recruiting our Chair Designate, we are now looking to engage candidates with professional expertise in the areas listed below to further enhance the support, challenge and professional discussion around our board.

Higher Education expertise

We are proud to work in partnership with a number of HE providers from across our region – Edge Hill University, University of Chester and University of Liverpool. Through this provision we offer Foundation, BA and BSc degrees. We seek to appoint a candidate who is based within the HE sector who can use their expertise and insight to help support our SLT with the development and growth of provision across our University Centre.

Applications will be welcomed from candidates working at senior, strategic levels, who have an understanding of the opportunities and impacts that higher education can have on our local communities. Applicants for this role will need both an appreciation for the intricacies of HE and an additional understanding of the complexities of delivering such provision through an FE context.

Employers and Apprenticeships expertise

Given our reputation within the local community, we are privileged to have built a range of strong and innovative partnerships with local businesses, employers and other stakeholders from across our region. Like us, these organisations have the best interests of the local community at their heart, and we deeply value the opportunity to collaborate with them. Many of these organisations have a vested interest in education through the delivery of apprenticeships.

As we continue to deliver on our ambitions for growth, there will be a need to develop further relationships with new and exciting partners. As such, we welcome applications from senior, strategic leaders who are currently based within a local employer within the Wirral region. Applications will be especially welcomed from individuals where there is a demonstrable understanding of the impacts of education and perhaps their own delivery of apprenticeships.

Health and Social Care expertise

Having previously had positive experiences within our board from individuals who have been based professionally within the health and social care sector, we now seek to appoint a new individual to our board with this background.

Previously, we have found that individuals from this sector bring a diversity of experience to the role from a variety of perspectives; an understanding of working in – and leading the strategy of – large, complex organisations as well as potential expertise in the areas of welfare and safeguarding. This latter knowledge allows us to scrutinise our policies and procedures to ensure we are being truly supportive of our students and staff.

We, therefore, seek to appoint a senior leader from within the health and social sector who can offer the appropriate level of scrutiny of our current practices and provide support and advice to our senior leaders to improve our existing delivery.

Digital and IT expertise

As AI and digital technology continue to thrive across all walks of business and industry, the education sector is no different and so we must continue to ensure that our students and staff are equipped with the technology and wider tools they need to excel.

As such, we welcome applications from candidates with expertise in the digital and IT sphere. Candidates for this role should have a strong track record and professional understanding of IT infrastructure in a similarly complex setting to our College to ensure that you are well placed to offer appropriate advice and support. We will especially welcome applications from candidates with an understanding of cyber security as we look to safeguard ourselves against external threats to our digital infrastructure.

Audit, Risk, Compliance and Finance expertise

Finally, given the organisational development we have experienced, and the complex funding streams involved in our provision and the various regulatory frameworks within which we must operate, finance, audit and compliance are clearly key areas to which we must give strict oversight to, especially as we seek to maintain our outstanding financial health.

To this end, we seek to appoint an experienced, qualified audit professional to join our board and assist our senior leaders in ensuring that we continue to remain compliant with relevant regulations and that our finances remain strong. We would also welcome applications from those individuals who work in risk and compliance roles as well as qualified finance professionals who can offer a new level of scrutiny to our business and perhaps ask questions of us that we have not asked ourselves.

Additional Areas of Expertise

As well as those areas of expertise highlighted above, we are very conscious of the need to have a diversity of experience and thought across our board. As such we would also welcome applications from individuals who have senior, professional expertise in the following areas too:

  • Leaders of voluntary and community organisations.
  • Leaders of secondary education.
  • Strategic leaders working within the local visitor economy.
  • HR and legal experts.
  • Those working in the green technology and engineering sectors.

Through our interview process for these roles, we will also seek to identify and appoint an individual to become our future Vice Chair of the Board.

Expectations and Commitment

Being our future Chair will clearly come with a need to dedicate time to the role and invest in our College. There are additional responsibilities which come with being our future Chair. As well as being invited to sit on a range of other Committees which include Finance, Search & Governance and Remuneration, there will be a need to be accessible to our senior leaders, to engage with them and offer support and advice when it is needed via regular, informal discussions.

As highlighted, through this process we are seeking to not only identify a Chair Designate and additional governors to join our Board, but also a new Vice Chair as the incumbent, Jayne Winders, also steps down following her dedicated service to the College.

The individual appointed as Vice Chair will be required to join our full board meetings along with the appropriate committee meetings and be flexible in their availability to support our new Chair and SLT when required.

Those candidates who are appointed as governors will be required to join our full board meetings and will be appointed to a committee based on their own interests and area of expertise.

At present, all of our board meetings are held in person, and we have an ambition that our committee meetings will be held in the same way moving forwards. However, we do recognise that many of our governors are busy professionals in full-time employment. As such, we try to offer flexibility for our governors to join committee meetings virtually where the need arises.

With the exception of the Chair, Board Members are required to attend no more than ten meetings per year inclusive of Board and Committees. We have additional away days twice per year which provide an opportunity for deeper discussions with SLT on strategy, direction and relationship building.

All new board members will be supported with a full induction process along with a range of training opportunities where needed.

Whilst it can be difficult to quantify the number of hours that will need to be dedicated to the role of Chair Designate, due to the monthly fluctuations associated with the role, we anticipate this could be more than 20 hours per month.

For governor roles on our Board, we believe you need to dedicate no more than 10 hours per month to the role. For the candidate appointed as Vice Chair, this will be slightly more where the need arises.

 

 

Peridot Partners and Wirral Metropolitan College are, together, committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and our client expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. The successful candidates will be subject to an enhanced DBS check and satisfactory references before any final offer can be made.


For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Dan Baxter | dan@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07939 994524

Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07951 509128

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Dan Baxter

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Welcome from the Chair of the Board of Governors

Dear applicant,

Thank you for your interest in our exciting opportunity, as we search for members of our Board who will lead the College into the next stage of its development. This opportunity has arisen due a number of retirements amongst the current incumbents, after a very successful tenure at the College.

Our vibrant and diverse general further education college has a turnover of £26m with outstanding financial health. We are the largest provider of adult education, training and apprenticeships in Wirral, providing a wide range of support for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, and our high needs provision has been judged Grade 1 Outstanding by Ofsted in the last two inspections.

Our College is an Ofsted Grade 2 College overall (we are due to be inspected under the new framework shortly) and our team of 500 staff serves approximately 2500 16-18-year-old students and 8,000 adults, who study at our five modern campuses all located within Wirral. Our facilities have enjoyed over £30 million pounds of investment in recent years, and we are proud to be a key anchor organisation contributing to the regeneration of Wirral, working with key employers as we meet local skills needs and transform lives through learning.

This is an opportunity to work with a well-established board and executive leadership team (ELT), to devise and drive the College’s strategic direction. You would also be forging new professional relationships with the recently-appointed Principal/CEO and the successful appointee for the role of Vice-Principal (Finance & Resources).  The existing team has developed a high-performing college that reflects the aspirations of its students and meets the needs of its partners, a vast range of local employers and other stakeholders.  There is a relentless focus on ensuring that our students receive high-quality teaching and learning as we continue our journey to becoming ‘Outstanding’ and on providing an excellent environment in which all students thrive and achieve their full potential. The College is committed to supporting the most vulnerable groups in the community and ensuring that all our students are afforded every opportunity to succeed and grow as individuals.

We are an inclusive, disability-confident employer and we hold Investors in People and Matrix Standards that have recently been reaccredited. We are looking for someone who shares our values of success, passion, integrity, respect and opportunity and wants to contribute proactively to the Board and improve its effectiveness even further. If you have the skills, experience, drive and real commitment to make a difference and you would like to join us, then we would be delighted to receive an application from you.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Kelly
Chair of the Board of Governors


For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Dan Baxter | dan@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07939 994524

Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07951 509128

Wirral Met College is a large college of further and higher education, supporting over 10,000 students every year, studying a range of courses from entry-level to higher education, with a particular emphasis on the development of vocational skills. The College provides a wide range of post-16 education and training including 16–19 study programmes in vocational areas, adult learning programmes, apprenticeships and traineeships.

We have five campuses, four of which are in Birkenhead and one in Bebington. Conway Park campus has excellent learning facilities including our new Independent Living Suite, designed specifically to support young people with a very wide range of disabilities and other additional needs. We also boast training kitchens where students studying on hospitality and catering courses can learn through practical and theoretical sessions. The Hair and Beauty salons are commercially run and open to the public, enabling students to practise their skills in a real working salon.

At our Twelve Quays campus, you will find many areas of study including our science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) centre with the latest digital technology, engineering workshops and laboratories. The Twelve Quays campus is also home to our higher education (HE) centre and art, media and music studios.

Our Wirral Waters campus is based in the Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone and is dedicated to providing education and training for the construction sector. Students can study brickwork, carpentry and joinery, electrical installation, painting, design and decoration, plastering, and plumbing and gas installation at this campus.

Sport, outdoor education and public services courses are held at the College’s Oval campus in Bebington (next to the Oval Leisure Centre), where students take part in a wide range of outdoor activities, and students have access to the Oval Leisure Centre facilities.

Our University Centre at Hamilton Campus is a short walk from Hamilton Square train station and offers a wide range of high-quality higher education courses. Our broad range of degrees and higher-level courses offer a mixture of full and part-time programmes that are designed with your future employability in mind. Here you will also find our Met at the Square restaurant open to the public, offering a contemporary, fine dining experience delivered by culinary arts and hospitality students.


For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Dan Baxter | dan@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07939 994524

Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07951 509128

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    Thank you for your interest in this role.

    Please download the Chair Designate Role Description and Person Specification or Governors Role Description and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Wirral Metropolitan College – Chair Designate” or “Wirral Metropolitan College – Governor” into the subject field.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Dan Baxter | dan@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07939 994524

    Shaun Eden | shaun@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07951 509128

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

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    Timetable

    Chair closing date: Wednesday 11th October 2023.
    Chair candidates informed of outcome: Thursday 19th October 2023.
    Chair interviews: Thursday 2nd November 2023.

    Governors closing date: Wednesday 25th October 2023.
    Governor candidates informed of outcome: Friday 3rd November.
    Governor interviews: Wednesday 8th November and Friday 10th November 2023


    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Wirral Metropolitan College are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practice. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the new Data Protection Act 2018 launched on 25 May 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.


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