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Chair of the Corporation Board South Essex College

We are looking to engage with a collaborative new Chair who will be an ambassador and advocate for the aspirations of South Essex College, as we continue on a journey of success as the largest provider of technical and vocational education and training in the region.

  • Location: South Essex
  • Salary: c. £15,000

Who we are

South Essex College is the largest provider of technical and vocational education and training for 16-18-year-olds, adults, and apprenticeship provisions within Essex.

We want all of our students to achieve above and beyond their expectations and experience motivational learning which will shape and change their lives, making us the first-choice organisation in the region. We believe our programmes will contribute significantly to personal development and provide our students with relevant employability skills, alongside gaining relevant professional and technical skills. We believe this will enhance their opportunities and contribute significantly to the regional economy. Our core values encapsulate the ambitions of the college. We are committed to working closely and productively with all our partners so that together we can deliver a workforce that is skilled for success in south Essex and beyond.

In support of this aspiration, we are looking to engage a new Chair of the Corporation to succeed our current Chair, Elizabeth Sipere, who has successfully led the board and navigated some significant changes to the college, over the last three years. With a newly appointed Principal & CEO, Denise Brown, you will work together to continue the journey of success and lead as an ambassador and advocate for everything that we do in and around the region and the sector.

About the Role

The college sits in a strong and enviable position to build on its existing solid foundations and move forwards and look to the future to successfully develop and grow. It has high ambitions to continue to provide high-quality education to its students and develop and grow its activities alongside the local economy. It is in this context that the college is now seeking to appoint a new Chair of the Corporation Board.

It is critical that the Chair is passionate and committed to improving the life chances of young people and adults through education. They will embody, and add value to, the mission and purpose of the college.

Our next Chair will join us at a very exciting time for the college and will be expected to quickly grasp the developments we have made and the work yet to come. With the support of the Clerk to the Corporation, the Chair will ensure the Corporation fulfils its statutory responsibilities in providing support and challenge to our senior leadership team whilst also identifying new ways for the board to be assured of the work happening in the organisation.

You will have substantial leadership experience in a complex business environment and a strong recognition of the impact that the further sector has on all our lives. Adept at financial and business planning, with knowledge of change management and corporate governance, you will understand how a non-executive board operates either through direct experience of being a Non-Executive Director, Chairperson or through reporting to a board at a senior executive level. Your knowledge will ensure we operate best practice models of governance, and your network may open doors to future partnership opportunities for the college.

You will be confident in representing the college in an ambassadorial role, alongside our Principal and CEO with whom you will maintain an open, honest and trusted relationship bringing support, guidance and challenge to the future of our college.

If you have such experience and you would be interested in leading our board, we would like to hear from you. It is a very rewarding role that provides a special opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the life chances of people across South Essex.

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

Sarah Atkins–Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017043

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

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Sarah Atkins-Boal

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Welcome the Principal and Chief Executive, South Essex College of Further & Higher Education 

Thank you for your interest in the role of Chair of Governors at South Essex College Group (SECG).

SECG is a large, regional college group, which provides vocational and professional training for circa 8000 young people and adults from our local colleges along the Thames Estuary: in Southend, Leigh-on-Sea, Basildon, Grays and Purfleet. We are the main provider of technical, vocational and professional skills training for South Essex.  In recent years, the SECG has grown through a merger with two smaller colleges,  PROCAT – a specialist Engineering and Construction college – in 2019,  and the National College Creative Industries in 2020.

We offer a diverse curriculum including qualifications for 16–19-year-old school leavers, programmes for adults wishing to upskill or re-train, apprenticeships in partnership with employers, and higher level and degree qualifications.

The college is graded Requires Improvement (RI) albeit with Good features by OFSTED. We pride ourselves on our track record of providing high-quality qualifications for students to help them to progress to the next level of study or into employment, usually with local employers. Securing an overall Good grade from Ofsted, is a priority ambition of SECG.

We are an ambitious and dynamic corporation board, with plans to grow and develop in a number of areas. This year, the college as lead provider successfully opened the Southeast Institute of Technology, with partners across the Southeast of England, including major employers, universities and other FE colleges.

The funding environment for further education is challenging. We strive to maintain steady financial health alongside our ambitious plans for growth and development.

We have, in recent years, had some changes in our most senior personnel. Elizabeth Sipiere was appointed Chair in March 2019 and

I took over as Principal and CEO from Angela O’Donoghue CBE in January 2022. Under Elizabeth’s leadership, the corporation board has recruited several highly skilled new governors and benefits from a mixture of experience and fresh thinking.

In February 2023 the board and senior leadership officers at the college began a strategic review and concluded the new strategy in March 2023. The new strategic plan is included in the ‘About the Organisation’ tab, and it is an ambitious placing quality, growth, financial stability and investment in the staff team at the core of our plans for the next 4 years.

The board is now seeking a new Chair who will continue Elizabeth’s work in developing the board into an effective and dynamic strategic body, working collectively with other governors and the new college executive team to ensure a high-quality student experience and future financial sustainability. The new Chair should be committed to improving the diversity of the board’s membership.

We hope that this exciting opportunity is of interest, and we would be delighted to discuss the role further with you.

Kind regards,

Denise Brown

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

Sarah Atkins–Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017043

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

About South Essex College

South Essex College is the largest and most diverse vocational curriculum provider across Essex, offering a range of courses from entry-level to honour degrees, and providing bespoke training hand-in-hand with employers in state-of-the-art facilities.

With an annual turnover of approximately £50 million, around 1000 apprentices (pre-Covid) and approximately 10,000 students each year, the college provides wide-ranging services to employers, other providers and students.

South Essex is a vibrant and ambitious region with the ability to create jobs, attract new industry and cultivate entrepreneurs and investment. As a result of the pandemic, there has never been a greater need for skilled professionals and retraining in our region and the college is a key partner in rebuilding the local economy.

In an educational landscape that is changing ever more rapidly, the college occupies a unique space. Located within the Unitary Authorities of Thurrock and Southend and the Local Authority (Essex County Council) in Basildon, the college aims to meet the aspirations and ambitions of each of the Unitary and Local Authority Partners by contributing to their regeneration plans and helping to meet the skills needs of its local communities.

Its aim is to provide young people and adults with the professional and technical skills they require to meet the skills needed of local and regional employers so that they can gain quality employment and in turn, improve the local and regional economy. The college’s new strategic plan, ‘Ambition, Access, Achievement’, sets out clear objectives to help it to continue to deliver high-quality education, and provide all learners with the support and skills they require to live meaningful lives and have productive careers.

All this has been achieved by creating a culture and appetite for change, within the college, to meet the increasing demands and opportunities for skill development in the region.

It is with all this in mind, that the college is poised and ready to build on its solid foundations, utilise its pre-existing momentum and look to the future to successfully develop and grow.

Vision and Mission

Changing lives through learning

South Essex College’s mission is to develop skilled, active citizens of all ages and abilities, leading to meaningful lives and productive careers. Everything it does is underpinned by its core values which encapsulate the ambitions of the college.

PARTNERSHIP: To forge strong partnerships that enable us to continually improve our training and education provision and create opportunities that benefit all of the communities we serve.

RESPECT: An inclusive environment built on mutual respect, positive experiences and the celebration of talented and diverse communities.

OUTSTANDING: To be outstanding in everything we do, including curriculum delivery, student support and behaviour.

UNITED: To be united in what we do, why we do it and how we achieve it.

DETERMINED: To provide high-quality education and training locally, regionally and nationally.

The college has high ambitions for all its students to achieve above and beyond their expectations and aims to provide them with a motivational learning experience which will shape and change their lives. It aspires to create programmes that will contribute significantly to students’ personal development and provide them with relevant employability skills, alongside gaining relevant professional and technical skills, with the overall goal being to enhance student opportunities and contribute significantly to the regional economy.

Education Offering

Further Education

South Essex College provides a broad range of vocational and academic courses for 16-18-year-olds, including Diplomas and certificates and a wide range of technical qualifications at all levels that set students on the road to a career in a variety of industries such as engineering, art and design, health and science, performing arts, digital technologies, hospitality and catering and many more. More information on South Essex’s further education offering can be found here.


Workforce is the employer-focussed division of South Essex College blending the best of a commercial training provider with the integrity and rigorous governance of a college to position it as a leading provider of high-quality skills solutions, both regionally and nationally. Its approach to apprenticeship delivery and wider development is both industry and client focussed to work with employers, supply chains, major projects and local and central government to ensure that a relevant and sustainable skills provision is available to support economic growth. More information on South Essex’s apprenticeships offering can be found here.

Adult Programmes

The college delivers a range of employability programmes aimed at getting people into employment. Its plan is to grow and expand these programmes to quickly get people back into the labour market, focusing on areas such as construction trades, project management and digital skills. It has ambitious aims to further expand its professional course offer to include HR professionals, project management, BIM, CAD and digital marketing to name just a few. This will be a major growth area for the college over the next two years. More information on the college’s existing adult education offering can be found here. 

Higher Education

South Essex also offers a variety of degrees and higher education qualifications. Its programmes are designed in partnership with businesses to ensure students are fully prepared for employment and their tutors have a wealth of industry experience and maintain close links with companies in Britain and abroad. All degrees and qualifications are awarded by leading institutions, including the University of East Anglia, the University of Arts London, The Open University and Pearson. More information on the South Essex University Centre can be found here.


South Essex College has established strong partnerships with education institutions in China, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore, offering a variety of undergraduate programmes in digital animation, film and television production, costume construction and interior design. It also offers Foundation Diplomas, access to HE Diplomas and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS). More information on the college’s international activities can be found here. 

The Estate

Following the recent merger with Prospects College of Advanced Technology (PROCAT), a development of a partnership with the National College for the Creative Industries, and the acquisition of key new campuses, South Essex College has become the main provider of college-based vocational and technical education in the South Essex region. It is coming to the end of an ambitious and exciting long-term capital strategy which aimed to provide new state-of-the-art facilities in each town centre along the estuary and now provides services from Thurrock (just outside the London boundary) to Southend in the east.

With a campus situated in the centre of the three main towns along the Thames Estuary, the college contributes significantly to each town centre’s economy, providing both employment and services. Over the last three years, the college has begun to locate its provision into specialist campuses along the Estuary. This is also aligned to its five-year curriculum strategy, which aims to specialise in areas of provision that meet the needs of local and regional employers, expanding in key areas of identified growth.

Southend – The largest of the college’s campuses (accommodating 57% of the students attending the college), Southend Campus is located in the town centre next to the central station and specialising in health & social care and creative industries.

Thurrock – Located just a two-minute walk from Grays Town Centre, the Thurrock Campus specialises in transport and logistics and offers a range of general FE programmes. The campus also houses £45 million in state-of-the-art buildings that offer cutting-edge facilities.

Basildon – Home to two campuses, Luckyn Lane which hosts the Centre for Advanced Engineering and specialises in engineering & building Services and Basildon Town Centre, which has recently opened and houses the Centre for Digital Technologies which focuses on IT / Digital Media & Technology.

In addition, the college has two other sites in Leigh-on-Sea (Centre for Construction and Engineering) and Purfleet (Backstage Centre), which specialise in the delivery of motor vehicle engineering and construction and technical theatre and theatre production, respectively.

Virtual tours of all campuses can be found here.  

The Region

South Essex is an exciting, ambitious region which embraces change and has the ability to attract new industry and investment. The Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has developed a Skills Strategy which puts skills development at the forefront of its plans. Its main aspirations are to create new jobs, create new business and provide a highly skilled workforce in order to attract new business for the area. The college also spans two Unitary Authorities (Thurrock and Southend) and a Local Authority (Essex County Council in Basildon) and has built strong relationships with each Authority Partner. There has never been a greater need for skilled professionals in the region and the college is exceptionally well placed to contribute to the region’s aspirational and ambitious regeneration plans as the key provider of skills development across the South East region at all levels.

The college is also an integral part of the local community and invests a great deal of time, ensuring that its offering reflects the aspirations of the community it serves. As such, it has a well-earned reputation for openness, honesty and integrity and being responsive to its community. The college has developed a wide range of relationships with local groups and agencies to better inform its curriculum offer and to encourage them to make use of the college’s excellent resources.

Strategic Industrial Partners and Innovation

South Essex College has been incredibly successful in building relationships with clients, industrial partners and employers, integrating them into curriculum planning and delivery of apprenticeships, study programmes and higher education.

The college’s proven track record of innovation and growing provision to meet market demand has enabled it to build a large network of partners such as Proctor and Gamble, Britvic, Olympus, Leonardo, Honeywell, C2C Trenitalia, Swan Housing, Thames Skills Academy, Basildon Council, Southend Borough Council, Thurrock Council, Essex County Council, Ford, Tesco, Simarco, Lower Thames Crossing, and DP World London Gateway. This ecosystem of industrial partners who are at the leading edge of their sector, support the College in staying at the forefront of industry developments.

Moving forwards, the college aims to create six distinct groupings (Digital, Construction, Logistics, Engineering, Professional Services, and Health & Childcare) and will continue to work closely with employers to ensure that its curriculum is relevant and fit for purpose.

Equality and Diversity

Freedom to bring yourself to the college.

The college is committed to ensuring that everyone’s experience is free from discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimisation and creates an environment where each individual will be treated with respect and dignity. The college celebrates everyone, irrespective of their race, colour, disability, age, religion, belief, gender or sexual orientation.

It has a culture of equality and diversity, meaning that everyone will get a fair chance and that their differences will be respected and embraced. It is important to the college that everyone receives the support they need to enable them to succeed and are able to become involved in all aspects of college life.

It believes that embracing different cultures brings real benefits for everyone, as well as opportunities to learn from one another, share ideas, improve lives, and develop rewarding careers.

More information on equality and diversity at the college can be found here.

Ambition and Future Growth

The college’s new strategic plan, ‘Ambition, Access, Achievement’ sets out its plans from 2020-2023 to continue to provide its students with an exceptional educational experience which provides a foundation for their future careers. It provides an overarching framework to support and inform the strategies and action plans which sit beneath it, such as its curriculum strategy, informed by economic drivers, its approach to commercial development and its work with stakeholders, as well as its annual review of the estate and many others.

The college has ambitious plans and has established a solid groundwork for this next period of further development, innovation, and growth. The next few years will be pivotal to its success as it begins to benefit from the completion of its Estates Strategy and its recent acquisition and merger. However, as with every Further Education provider across the sector, it is also operating within a financially constrained setting and will need to diversify income streams and balance the need for sustainability versus ambitious growth. The College is primed and ready to take advantage of pockets of money that will begin to become available from the government to support rebuilding the economy and has developed its strategy with the Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Skills Strategy.

Supporting its local people and the region remains a key priority for the college and it remains committed to its mission to offer high-quality education and training to a variety of learners even within difficult financial constraints. It aims to ensure that every aspect of its services provide value for money, which includes exploring new ways of working. This commitment to its learners and the wider local community, demonstrate the vital role the college plays locally, regionally and nationally.

More information on the College’s Strategic Plan and Values can be found here.

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

Sarah Atkins–Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017043

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


Our accessibility provisions include:

Meeting Rooms with Hearing Loops: The college does have a hearing loop system. Not in all rooms but we can make arrangements if this is required.

Examples of Reasonable Adjustments: The HR Department do not maintain a report on reasonable adjustments that the college has implemented to support individuals within the workplace and to attend the college. We work with individuals to ensure support is individualised and regularly reviewed. However, some of the strategies we have implemented to support staff include:

  • Staff attending College with Support Dogs
  • Equipment, such as specialist chairs, IT Screens, and other resources to enable them to carry out their role.
  • We have 3 members of staff who have educational communicators/interpreters working with them daily due to sensory impairment.
  • We utilise technology such as ‘read/write/gold’ and other equipment available to support staff with dyslexia.

EDI: There are two EDI reports available on the college website:

Equality and Diversity | South Essex College

There is a staff report and student focussed report demonstrating our commitment and actions taken relating to EDI.

The Gender Pay Gap report can also be found there, along with our statement on Modern Slavery Act Statement.

Disability Confident Employer

The college is a registered Disability Confident Employer and on the same Equality Page the information can be found using the link provided above.

If you have any further needs around accessibility, please get in touch with the advising consultant for a confidential chat on how we can best fulfil your needs.

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

Sarah Atkins–Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017043

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

    To access a full job description and application details,
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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 “South Essex College – Chair of the Corporation Board” into the subject field.

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

    Sarah Atkins–Boal | sarahs@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07841 017043

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

    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.

    Disabled applicants 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. Monday 19th June 2023
    Candidates informed of outcome: By 5 p.m. Monday 26th June 2023
    Interviews: w/c Monday 3rd July 2023

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

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