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Chair Designate Nottingham College

Nottingham College is looking for a talented and committed Chair Designate to lead their non-executive board, ensuring this vibrant college continues to thrive and achieves its strategic goals for years to come.

  • Location: Nottingham (Multiple campuses across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire)
  • Salary: Pro-bono with reasonable out of pocket expenses covered

About Nottingham College

We unlock potential through learning.

The main provider of technical and further education for young people and adults in Nottingham; we are rooted in our communities.

We are proud of our history which reaches back to 1847, with the opening of People’s College, the oldest further education college in England. Our extensive skills-based curriculum supports the needs of individuals, communities and employers.

We also provide A Levels and higher education and this rich academic history reaches back even further, to 1788, when the then High Pavement Unitarian Day School opened in the Lace Market area of Nottingham.

Grown out of subsequent mergers over the past two decades, today, Nottingham College is a ‘good’ college. Our recent Ofsted inspection in December 2022 gave a resounding vote of confidence in our direction of travel, quality of our educational offer and responsiveness to the economic needs of the city and region. We are the largest college in the local area and one of the largest in the country with a financial turnover of circa £70 million and delivering 30,000 qualifications to 20,000 students.

The early challenges we faced during our merger programme in 2017 are now a distant memory. Our college today is at a turning point and we are ready for the future. Our still relatively new, yet significantly experienced, leadership team, have already secured an improved Ofsted inspection outcome, and refocussed and re-orientated the college firmly of, and for, Nottingham, and the communities we proudly serve across the East Midlands region. We know the potential for Nottingham College is greater than where we are today. We are now on a steady footing to maximise our resources to become bigger and better, in order to truly achieve what we are capable of.

We have stabilised our finances and made positive strides in embedding a consistent high-performance culture, driven by the leadership team and overseen by our Corporation Board – the governing body.

Our substantial estate has seen major improvements with the launch of our flagship City Hub campus, the product of a £58m investment in education in Nottingham and one of the largest investments in education in our city for many years. Throughout the next year, we will be continuing to invest multi-millions of pounds in improving the quality of our learning environments to ensure we are ready to deliver a curriculum fit for the 21st century.

Nottingham College is ready to assume its place at the very forefront of technical learning and skills development and we are firmly focused on our role in supporting the current and future workforce needs of the local economy and the communities of Nottinghamshire, as well as parts of the bordering counties of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, and Leicestershire.

Following the appointment of our CEO & Principal, Janet Smith, our board directed a review of our long-term mission and organisational aims. This piece of work was extensive and involved the contribution of our entire staff team of 1,400 people.

Through and with our staff and other major stakeholders, the board recently approved our new mission, vision, values, and strategic priorities. We are incredibly proud of this piece of work.

Our mission

We unlock potential through learning.

Our vision

We will be recognised as an outstanding provider of choice for education and skills training.

Our Values

  • Collaborative
  • Agile
  • Trusted
  • Inclusive
  • Nurturing
  • Aspirational

Our strategic priorities

  • Enhance pride in our college and strengthen our reputation as a trusted and collaborative partner.
  • Develop our curriculum so it is responsive, agile and aligns to the skills needs of our region, ensuring all our learners are future-ready.
  • Ensure all our learners enjoy outstanding teaching.
  • Ensure all our learners are in good hands with highly effective and supportive learner-facing services.
  • Invest in and reward our people, develop their skills and recognise their success.
  • Embed a culture which is positive, inclusive, supportive and productive.
  • Relentlessly pursue our ambitious target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
  • Harness the power of digital technology in everything we do.
  • Transform our estate, setting ambitions high for the resources and facilities we provide to our communities.
  • Secure a stable financial future.

Our governing board and its members are critical to our continuous development and future success. We appreciate the time they give, the expertise they share, and both the professional support and challenge they offer to our CEO & Principal and executive team.

About the role

Initially appointed as a governor and the Chair Designate, the person appointed will participate in a planned handover period with our outgoing Chair of the Board, Carole Thorogood. Carole has given more than 14 years of service to Nottingham College and one of our predecessor institutions, with having been Chair for a total of eight years, to date.

On contributing so much for so long, Carole states:

“It has been a privilege, but it has not always been easy. The merger has been the highlight for me. Then, achieving such a solid ‘Good’ Ofsted grade on the back of so much hard graft by everyone across the college was truly great. With the support of those around me, I am proud to have grown and developed the talent and expertise of the board who now operate within a ‘no blame’ culture, through a positive and transparent relationship with our executive.”

Once appointed as Chair of the Nottingham College Board, we require you to lead our non-executive governing body with energy, enthusiasm, professionalism, and dedication. We benefit from an expert board comprised of twenty talented and committed members who, collectively, monitor the progress and development of the College and ensure we work towards our strategic goals. Our governors come from a range of industries and backgrounds including higher education, further education, legal services, private and commercial industry, SME’s, local government, and the college itself. Follow this link to review the current membership of the board.

The board meets at least four times a year – in addition to the formal meetings we also ask that they attend an open-day event. Board members are also expected to join at least one of the following committees of the board:

  • Learning & Quality
  • Audit
  • Governance & Search
  • Finance & Assets
  • Remuneration

Whilst we expect the person appointed as Chair Designate will work with us to decide their own committee membership preferences, throughout the period of handover they will be free to attend as many meetings, plus events and visits to the college’s campuses, as they can, in order to get a strong sense for how our large and complex business of education and training operates and the types of discussions had across our governance structure.

Supported by our Director of Governance, the Chair will have a responsibility to ensure the board upholds the educational character of Nottingham College and acts in accordance with our governing documents and sector specific legal parameters. The Chair works closely with the Director of Governance and our CEO & Principal to plan the annual business of the board, in close collaboration with the Committee Chairs and other executive leaders, ensuring that agendas are effective and meetings run efficiently with engagement and contribution encouraged.

Whilst our CEO & Principal and her team are experts in building professional relationships with industry, civic partners, and other major local stakeholders, it is expected that our Chair is able and willing to take on the role of lead ambassador of Nottingham College within our city and regional communities to ensure the advancement of both our own interests and those of the wider further education college sector.

For your time, energy, and expertise, we promise to ensure you receive the critical support and development you will need in order to be successful in this non-executive leadership role. We will invest in you as you are investing in us, and through our partnerships with national membership and sector-based organisations, we look forward to helping you to recognise how fundamental the further education sector is to our country’s economic development, and more crucially to the lives of the people who study with us – regardless of their age, background, or prior learning. We unlock potential through learning.

Who we are looking for

As the college for Nottingham and the surrounding areas, we feel it is important you understand our city through having lived or worked here. It is a complex city, with pockets of high deprivation and low aspiration. But there is also a huge amount of untapped potential in Nottingham, and we consider it our duty to unearth talent and aspiration to enrich the lives of our local population.

With this in mind, our next Chair will be able to demonstrate a strong and visible passion and commitment to Nottingham College, and to our aims, and our objectives. It would be helpful, though not essential, if you brought an understanding of the politics and dynamics of Nottingham through your experience of leading a large public, civic, or private sector business in the region. We hope to benefit from your networking abilities and connections in the local area, as well as your experience in building collaboration across the teams of people you have led previously.

In order to lead our board, we feel it is important you have experience of, or prior exposure to, a non-executive board and can easily recognise the key differentiators between strategic oversight and operational delivery. With sound knowledge of corporate governance and how fundamental it is to both the success and sustainability of an organisation, it would be helpful if you brought previous experience of chairing meetings and events, ideally in the capacity as a non-executive Chair, trustee, or director.

As we are a complex business of education with complex finances, it is essential that you are able to demonstrate experience of being accountable for significant expenditure and budget oversight. Whilst you would be supported by qualified accountants on the board, and advised by a talented CFO/DCEO, you must understand how the numbers work in an organisation like ours.

Recognising the diversity of our city, we very much encourage the interest of candidates who will support us in our ambition to further diversify the leadership and governance of Nottingham College. We acknowledge there is work to do and working hard to ensure our decision-makers are reflective of the communities we serve. We were delighted to have recently been awarded an AoC Beacon Award for our work around equity, diversity, and inclusion, though know there is more to do.

Across all of this, we need our next Chair to have the necessary time to devote to the role, whether you are in full-time work, have retired, or manage a plural career. It is so important to us that you have the capacity to take on this public duty and become the next custodian of Nottingham College, for the benefit of tens-of-thousands of students who will study and train through us over the coming years ahead.

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

Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364033

Education recruitment with Drew Richardson-Walsh

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Drew Richardson-Walsh

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Welcome from Carole Thorogood

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for considering this opportunity to join Nottingham College’s non-executive board (the ‘Corporation’) as a governor and its future Chair.

At Nottingham College, one of the largest further education colleges in the country, we have developed a new vision and launched a new strategy focused on the important role we play in the generation of knowledge, skills, and partnerships which enhance productivity and work opportunities across our city, county, and region.

As I have given notice of my planned retirement from the board, we are now seeking a Chair Designate to work with me throughout the remainder of this academic year, and throughout the next, who possesses the leadership skills, experience, vision, and commitment required in order to steer the board through the next stage of our college’s development and towards becoming an outstanding provider.

Following significant investment from various stakeholders we are delighted to be able to offer high quality education to our learners from the City Hub campus in the centre of Nottingham, and we continue to invest millions of pounds in our estate throughout the city. With this absolute focus on high-quality education and training, and investment to create a modern learning environment, the College is ready to assume its place at the very forefront of technical learning and skills development in the region. We have innovative plans for our curriculum strategy and are committed to working in partnership with the city on its sustainability agenda.

The coming years will continue to be challenging for all publicly funded organisations and further education colleges are no exception. However, this is a very exciting time for the College, following our recent grading of ‘Good’ by Ofsted, who confirmed the quality of our offer for our learners, and the recent launch of our new strategic plan which was built in partnership with our employees and approved by the Board.

If you care as deeply about providing life changing opportunities for the people of Nottingham and further afield as we do, and can devote the necessary time, energy, and professional leadership, then we look forward to hearing from you.

Informal conversations about joining the Nottingham College Corporation Board can be arranged with our advising consultant at Peridot Partners, Drew Richardson-Walsh by emailing abbie@peridotpartners.co.uk.

Kind regards,

Carole Thorogood
Chair of Nottingham College Corporation

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

Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364033

Nottingham College tries to make all of its buildings, facilities and resources accessible to all students, staff and visitors. There are a variety of facilities at College sites including ramps and lifts. Induction loops have been installed at all our main campuses and in addition to physical access, the College can support students, staff and visitors with disabilities by providing information in a format which meets your needs.

  • Step-free access to the building, all key meeting rooms and bathrooms, and an accessible workstation
  • Accessibility dogs are welcome
  • Interviews can be held in meeting rooms that support hearing loops
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats

Further information

Interviews will be held at the City Hub. The building is accessible with step free access both at the entrance to the building and when on site and navigating the building, with elevator access throughout. The interviews will need to be held at this site.

The College would consider requests for any reasonable adjustments that allow the interviews to be held at the City Hub, including those outlined above (hearing loops, accessibility dogs, formatting of documents).

Nottingham College is a Carer Confident employer and actively promotes EDI workplace initiatives. We operate an EDI committee within the College along with network support groups/cafes for BAME, LGBTQ+, carers, bereaved colleagues and new/expectant parents.

The College is keen to ensure that the application process is open to all. We are happy to respond to specific accessibility needs and will do all that we can to enable all candidates to access the selection process.

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

Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364033

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    Thank you for your interest in this role.

    Please download the Role Description and Person Specification and complete this equality monitoring survey.

    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 “Nottingham 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:

    Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364033

    We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief.

    All applications will be considered solely on merit.

    Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.


    Closing date: 12 p.m. Tuesday 6th June 2023
    Candidates informed of outcome: By 5 p.m. on Tuesday 13th June 2023
    Opportunities for candidates to visit the College: Wednesday 14th – Friday 16th June 2023
    Interviews: Monday 19th June 2023


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