Telford College has welcomed four new faces to its governing corporation, bringing with them a wealth of local, national and international business expertise.
Gill Eatough, Hollie Whittles, Teresa Tanner and Jim Arnold have decades of experience spanning education, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and much more.
Gill – who received an MBE in the New Year Honours list - was the founding chief executive of the Telford-based Learning Community Trust which runs more than a dozen secondary, primary and specialist school sites across the county.
Having trained as a research scientist, she found a passion for education, and in 2005 she was invited to help build a brand new, multi-million-pound school: Hadley Learning Community created a new blueprint for education in the town.
Under her stewardship, which continued until her retirement in December 2022, the Learning Community Trust grew into a collection of ten schools responsible for more than 5,500 children and employing over 1,000 people.
Gill is now the independent chair of Telford & Wrekin Education Strategic Partnership Board, working with education leaders across Telford.
Hollie is a passionate advocate for digital skills and apprenticeships. She is an award-winning TEDx speaker, author and director of two digital companies - Purple Frog Systems and FraggleWorks. She is also the National Policy Skills Champion for the Federation of Small Businesses.
Having originally read business studies at university, Hollie completed a level five apprenticeship through Telford College some 25 years later in her own organisation, using it as an opportunity to upskill her existing knowledge. As well as employing apprentices, she now has first-hand experience!
She sees her role as an opportunity to bring the small business voice to the table and says she is keen to ‘help break down barriers and ensure that the digital skills needed by all sizes of business are accessible to bridge the skills gap and digital divide’.
Teresa completed her general nurse training in Shrewsbury in 1983, followed by registered sick children’s nurse training in Manchester.
She has worked within Shropshire since 1990, and spent the last 16 years as lead for safeguarding children for The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.
She has been a member of St John Ambulance since 1972 and currently manages the Unit in Market Drayton, as well as serving as secretary to the St John Ambulance Shropshire County Priory Group.
She is also president-elect of Market Drayton Rotary, and represents the youth of West Midlands in London as a Priory Chapter Member of the Order of St John.
Jim Arnold launched his career with a business studies BTEC at Telford College and led to senior leadership positions in finance, sales, operations and general management in a USA-owned global manufacturing business.
Qualifying as a chartered management accountant, he also earned a masters in business administration from Baylor University whilst living and working Texas.
Jim said he believes that education can be an enabler for all and hopes his diverse experience will help the college excel to new heights.
Telford College corporation chair Gail Bleasby said: “This is such an exciting time for the college, and it is fabulous to welcome such talented and experienced people to our ranks.
“The role of the corporation is to oversee the strategic direction and pace of the college, ensuring it remains focused on delivering a high-quality and economically focused curriculum.
“Our governors have a passion for vocational and professional education and training, and a commitment to supporting the college ambition to build on the successes and use the strengths of collaborative working.”
Graham Guest, Telford College’s principal and chief executive who also sits on the board, said: “The corporation plays a pivotal role in shaping the direction of the college.
“We are an ambitious college, strongly focused on delivering the best possible outcomes for learners, and meeting the current and future needs of our local businesses.
“This is an exciting time for further education, and it is vital we work closely with our corporation to help create a workforce with strong academic, vocational and employability skills.”