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Chair Designate Solihull College & University Centre

Transform the lives of learners and provide opportunities to help shape students' futures, as the new Chair Designate of Solihull College & University Centre.

  • Location: Solihull, West Midlands
  • Salary: Reasonable expenses paid

About the role.

Following the decision of our current Chair, Barbara Hughes, to step down later this year – following two successful terms of office which have been deeply appreciated by Governors and leaders of the College alike, the Corporation welcomes interest from candidates who have the time, passion, experience, and interest to become a Governor and our Chair Designate in summer 2024.

Initially joining as the named Chair Designate, with time to engage in an extended and supportive handover period through the 2024 autumn term, we look forward to welcoming the person appointed as Chair of Solihull College & University Centre from early 2025.

The Chair provides leadership to the Corporation and its members, working closely with the Principal & CEO and the Director of Corporate Governance, Risk & Compliance. Supported by two Vice Chairs, the Chair ensures Governors have oversight of organisational development and are made aware of risks affecting strategy, finance, staffing, student experience, or reputation, through receiving plans and reports from the Principal & CEO and her senior team.

The Corporation is comparable to a board of non-executive directors and is composed of members from the local community, stakeholders, students and staff members.

Actively involved in long-term visioning and approving the educational character of Solihull College & University Centre, the Chair ensures Governors’ diverse skills, areas of specialist knowledge, networks, and professional opinions are used for the advancement of the organisation and in the most appropriate way.

With up to 19 Members of the Corporation, plus two External Members, the Chair ensures professional engagement between the Corporation and both employees and learners, through both formal means (meetings) and informal opportunities (such as events and visits).

Governors help the organisation to maintain a long-term focus whilst working on its shorter-term goals and plans. The day-to-day management is very much the responsibility of the Principal & CEO, and the executive management team. The Corporation is advised by a Director of Corporate Governance, Risk & Compliance who is part of the senior leadership team.

There are seven meetings of the Corporation throughout the academic year (September through to July). In addition to this, there are additional meetings of the Search & Governance Committee, the Audit & Risk Committee, the Remuneration Committee, and the Financial Oversight Group. Opportunities for Governors to participate in visits and meetings with students are arranged throughout the year.

It is expected that – with preparation for meetings, regular contact with Governors and both the Principal & CEO and Director of Corporate Governance, Risk & Compliance, plus any ambassadorial duties and training – the person appointed should plan to spend up to five days per month fulfilling the duties of the Chair.

Barbara Hughes (speaking in 2022)

Who we are looking for.

To be successful in this non-executive Chair role, we believe it is important that the person appointed brings experience in strategic leadership. When considering the requirement to be the ‘critical friend’ for a chief executive of a complex £50m business of education and training, set across several campuses and operating across the West Midlands, having a Chair with skills and knowledge which supports the development of the Principal & CEO, the executive team, and the broader Corporation and its members, is important.

Ideally, our next Chair will be an experienced non-executive, and know from experience the difference between operational leadership, and strategic oversight and scrutiny. The application of this knowledge will be welcomed, so that we may continue to benefit from the mutual respect that exists between the non-executive and executive representatives at the College.

If the person appointed doesn’t have direct experience of being a non-executive director or board member, then we will expect them to be able to demonstrate their ability to chair well and know how to get the very best out of a talented and committed voluntary non-executive group.

More than experience, we need a Chair who is passionate about the work that we do to transform the lives of our learners and provide opportunities to help shape their futures. The further education sector is a wonderful and enriching part of our education sector and a place where anyone, with any background or starting point can come, learn, and progress.

We are very open to the background and sector experience of the next Chair. We recognise the many potential benefits of appointing someone with either public, private, or third-sector leadership experience.

Peridot Partners and Solihull College & University Centre 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 consultants at Peridot Partners:

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

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

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 the Principal and Chief Executive Officer

Dear Candidate,

Welcome, and many thanks for your interest in becoming the next Chair of Solihull College & University Centre.

We are a vibrant and forward-thinking institution committed to providing exceptional further and higher education opportunities to our diverse student body. With campuses in the heart of Solihull, in North Solihull, and in the centre of Stratford upon Avon, our institution boasts a rich history of academic excellence, innovation, and community engagement.

As we embark on the search for our next Chair of Governors, we are seeking an individual who shares our unwavering dedication to educational excellence and student success. The Chair plays a pivotal role in providing strategic leadership, governance oversight, and support to the Principal & CEO and executive team, ensuring the effective management and advancement of our institution.

This is an exciting opportunity to join a dynamic and ambitious governance team dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of our students and the wider community. We are looking for an individual with a passion for the further education sector, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a vision for driving innovation and excellence in education.

In this recruitment pack, you will find detailed information about Solihull College and University Centre, including our mission, values, strategic ambitions, and governance structure. We invite candidates who embody our values and are eager to contribute their expertise, insights, and leadership to the continued success and advancement of our institution.

We encourage candidates from diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply and join us in shaping the future of education at Solihull College and University Centre.

Thank you for considering this important leadership opportunity, and we look forward to receiving your application.

Dr Rebecca Gater
Principal and Chief Executive Officer
Solihull College and University Centre


To be a reflective and progressive organisation which supports and inspires everyone to succeed.


To position Solihull College and University Centre as a confident, fully inclusive, forward-thinking organisation, with a strong reputation for innovation and excellence.

About Solihull College & University Centre

Solihull College & University Centre is an Ofsted-rated ‘Good’ provider of post-16 education and training, including university degree-level programs. Operating primarily from our two main campuses in Solihull and our Stratford-upon-Avon College campus, following a merger in 2018 – considered to be one of the most successful in the country, we are also proud to be the lead partner of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Institute of Technology, of which the central hub in Birmingham houses the largest cyber-physical manufacturing rig in Europe.

Each year, we support the personal, social, and educational development of some 10,000 learners, who are mostly aged between 16-18, across our classroom and workshop-based technical and vocational learning programs, our apprenticeships and adult learning programs across the West Midlands, and our higher education (university-level) provision. We also offer a number of A-Levels. The College is a significant employer in the region, with around 3,000 employees and our strategy focuses on the recruitment, development, and retention of both highly skilled and diverse staff, as well as growing, inspiring, and retaining our learners and apprentices.

We are incredibly proud of our achievements, of our positive reputation both locally and nationally, and of being a place where staff feel engaged in their work and students feel positive about their experience. We were successfully appointed as the lead provider for the West Midlands and Warwickshire Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF), the largest LSIF in the country. In 2023 we won a Centre of Excellence World Skills Award, were recognised for our quality of careers support, and were admitted into the Chartered Institute for Further Education. Several awards have been won, including the ‘Best Education, Training and Professional Development’ provider at the Chamber Awards.

With a turnover of circa £49 million, we are pleased to report ‘Outstanding’ financial health rating, with EBITDA meeting the College’s target of 4% and cash balances significantly above target. This financial security and resilience enables us to invest in our resources and ensure our staff and learners benefit from high-quality and modern learning environments, fit for modern methods of learning and training.

Our long-term ambitions are rooted in our community and region, and we are focused on improving the lives of people and regional productivity, whilst making a positive and sustainable contribution to society. We will:

  1. Deliver a high-quality curriculum that enhances the life opportunities of our learners, the inclusive growth of our communities, and the productivity of the employers with which we work;
  2. Secure the future of our organisation in a fast-changing sector through careful and appropriate income diversification and growth;
  3. Create a high-performing culture that attracts and retains the best people, is fully inclusive, and has a happy and proud workforce;
  4. Deliver a considered but ambitious programme of investment underpinned by financial stability;
  5. Be net zero by 2030.

Accessibility information

Please read Solihull College & University Centre accessibility statement here.

We offer the following amenities:

  • Step-free access to the building, all key meeting rooms and bathrooms, and an accessible workstation.
  • Accessibility dogs are welcome.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for interviews.
  • Working patterns and locations can be adjusted.

Please read here Solihull College & University Centre EDI Annual Report.

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.

For further information or to organise a conversation, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

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

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

    To access a full job description and application details,
    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Job 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 “Solihull College & University Centre – 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

    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.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

    If you experience any technical or accessibility difficulties, need help making an application, or have any additional support that needs to be considered as part of the interview and selection process, please let us know.

    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.


    Closing date: 12 p.m. Monday 20th May 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Thursday 30th May 2024
    Interviews: Friday 14th June 2024 (morning)

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Solihull College & University Centre 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 practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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