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Chair Designate Furness College

Challenge and support the executive team as a critical friend to set the mission, strategic direction and the values of Furness College, to support their individual and unique students.

  • Location: Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, North West
  • Salary: Reasonable expenses paid
  • Closing date: Wednesday 12th June

About Furness College

Furness College is a vibrant, innovative and fast-paced, general further education college situated in the industrial town of Barrow-in-Furness on the southern Cumbrian peninsula. We are the largest provider of education and training in south Cumbria, supporting around 3,500 students including 1,200 apprentices.

Following a merger process in 2016, the College estate consists of several different campuses. Our £42m Channelside Campus was opened in 2012 and is home to a range of provision supported through state-of-the-art facilities including workshops, salons and other learning spaces. This site is also home to our Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Centre and to our dedicated learning suites for higher-level learning through which we deliver higher education courses in partnership with The University of Cumbria, Lancaster University and The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Our Sixth Form Campus provides A Levels across over 20 different subject areas. We also have our Construction Centre @ Unit 6, and our College House Campus from which we deliver specialist alternative provisions for both young people and adults.

Our provision was last inspected by Ofsted in March 2019 where we were graded as Good overall as well as in all five main judgement areas. With an annual turnover of c.£16m, our financial health continues to be outstanding.

Predominantly, our students come from within the town of Barrow itself, as well as from the wider Westmorland and Furness region. However, as a college focussed on supporting the skills needs of not just Barrow but the wider Cumbrian region, we work collaboratively with other providers to meet the needs of a broad range of stakeholders. We take great pride in the position we hold as a key contributor to addressing deprivation and supporting social mobility through the education and training that we deliver.

Barrow is home to a growing economy underpinned by world-class marine, advanced manufacturing and energy sectors, supporting wider industrial ambitions across the region whilst allowing our town to become the gateway to Britain’s Energy Coast. The town plays a vital role in energy production with expertise in gas, wind and nuclear which also enables sectors like professional services, logistics, culture and digital to create a supportive local business environment. We continue to dedicate a great deal of effort to supporting these sectors along with others such as health & social care, education and retail which are vital in meeting the needs of our local communities and enhancing quality of life.

As an organisation, we believe that every student is individual and unique, and we work hard to inspire, educate, train and prepare them to do what they want to do and do it well – whether that is employment, an apprenticeship or progression on to further study, including HE.

We are particularly proud of the way we engage with local employers, both large and small, to understand their needs and use this to ensure that our students are furnished with an ‘employability skill set’.

Our Board is collectively responsible for promoting all the success we have across Furness College; by leading and supervising its affairs. We currently have 11 independent members on our Board, led by our Chair, Jan Fielding, who has served us with dedication and commitment in her role for the last four years.

As Jan comes to the end of her term of office, it is time for us to look to the future and find a successor who can offer their challenge and support as a critical friend to our Principal and CEO, Nicola Cove, and her Senior Leadership Team whilst leading our Board in an open, inclusive and respectful manner.

As such, we now seek to appoint a new member to our board who will initially take on the role of Governor and Vice Chair, before being appointed as the Chair of the Board in October 2024.

Peridot Partners and Furness 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 candidate 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 consultant at Peridot Partners:

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

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

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Role Description

Working with our senior leaders, the Governing Body sets our mission, strategic direction and the values through which we operate. There is a role to play also in ensuring that our college remains sustainable and that our activities are compliant with regulatory frameworks. The Governing Body also has a vital role to play in safeguarding not just the reputation of the College, but also our staff and our students.

Are governors do all of this by offering scrutiny and challenge to the operational decisions that are delivered by our senior leaders whilst also offering them support and advice using their diverse range of professional expertise as non-executives whilst promoting a culture that supports ethical behaviour, equality, inclusivity and diversity across the College.

This is an exciting time to join our college in any capacity, but especially as our Chair Designate. Not only are we supporting students to achieve great things and playing a pivotal role in the growth or our region, we are also due to launch our new strategic plan in the weeks ahead and so our Chair Designate will be joining us at a time when we are setting out on the next chapter of our story; a chapter they will play a key role in telling.

Whilst we are excited to receive applications from candidates with diverse professional backgrounds, we would be especially interested in those who have knowledge and experience of education in its broadest sense. This could come through direct experience of teaching and learning in a formal education setting or through roles linked to training and development in other professional contexts. You will also need to be an experienced, senior, strategic leader with a track record as a successful, values-driven leader.

Applications from experienced and successful strategic leaders in other sectors will also be welcomed where there is a direct correlation between their sector and the support that we provide to the region.

Candidates for this role will not only need to have a strong working knowledge of good governance processes and procedures but will also need to have experience as a board member previously, perhaps through roles such as non-executive director, trustee, governor, or Chair.

All candidates will need to demonstrate an understanding of our local community. You will need to be aware of the challenges that employers and individuals are facing and have an interest – perhaps passion – for helping us provide opportunities which support them to overcome these. We need a future Chair who can help support us as we seek to bring growth and development to our place, and improved life chances to our people.

Our Board usually meets face to face four times per year and is supported by several key committees including Finance & Resources, Learner Experience and Audit & Risk. These meet three or four times per year and are conducted virtually. We also host a strategy day for our board to engage more deeply with senior leaders on progress being made in relation to the key performance indicators and our strategic plan. We believe that in the future, as our Chair, the postholder will need to dedicate no more than 15 hours per month to the role.

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

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

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

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

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

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    Closing date: Wednesday 12th June
    Candidates informed of outcome: Thursday 20th June
    Interviews: Thursday 27th June at the College

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

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