Making Strong Contributions at Local and Regional Level
Our member colleges are led by Principal's who are committed to transforming lives through learning.
Together, they are united in their vision to address the region's skills needs and provide the sustainable, long-term solutions needed to boost the economy.
Although there are some new faces among the Principalship, their long standing history of collaboration has already made an extensive contribution to assisting businesses to grow and had a significant impact on increasing individuals skill levels across the region.
Now, as our college Principals' embark on the next phase of partnership working through an official Joint Venture Agreement, here's a look at who's who. Find out more about each Principal by clicking on their image.
Ian Billyard has been Principal of Leeds College of Building since 2004. It is the only further education college specialising in construction and the built environment in the UK. He is the Chair of WYCC and the Leeds City Region Skills Network.
Ian’s background is that of a building surveyor but started his life as a mining surveyor, with English China Clays in the South West of England. He has also worked with a Local Authority and several contracting companies. Ian is currently a member of the Construction Skills Board and is involved in a number of groups and organisations both nationally and regionally. His education career started in the North East at Darlington College of Technology and progressed to Head of Department at Bolton College and Dean of Faculty at Boston College before joining Leeds College of Building as Vice Principal in 1996.
Marie passionately believes in FE and its power to change lives. Marie has worked in further education for the last 30 years starting at Central Manchester College as a lecturer in computer-aided design and most recently as Principal of Bolton College for 5 years before taking up post as Principal at Kirklees College in January 2017.
As Chair of the Greater Manchester Colleges Group Marie helped develop significant collaboration between 10 FE colleges to improve curriculum quality and achieve greater responsiveness across the district and is looking forward to working with other West Yorkshire colleges through the Consortium to fulfil similar aims.
Marie recognises the continued change in the education sector and is focused on equipping employers with training that meets their needs now, and in the future, through well-developed partnerships and a responsive approach.
Sam Wright has worked in the further education sector for more than twenty years and joined Wakefield College as Principal in March 2011. Prior to her role at Wakefield College, Sam established a successful career at the Manchester College where she succeeded in addressing poor local recruitment and low educational outcomes across the city.
Sam is committed to transforming lives through learning and her vision for Wakefield College is to be an outstanding institution that works in local partnerships to meet the needs of all Wakefield communities, providing lifelong learning opportunities for young people, adults and employers alike. Sam is a member of the Wakefield Enterprise Partnership, and sits on a number of boards and groups across the city including Young People’s Strategic Partnership and the Wakefield and District Housing Advisory Panel.
John Rees joined Calderdale College as Principal and Chief Executive in April 2015 and has worked in the further education sector for the past 20 years in a variety of lecturing, management and leadership roles. Prior to this he was Group Deputy Principal at Warwickshire College Group, one of England's largest and most diverse colleges, where he was instrumental in developing their large scale work with employers in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors in particular.
He is passionate about linking skills development to employment and he joined Calderdale to continue the College’s commitment to high value skills development and career progression for its students.
Colin Booth OBE was appointed Chief Executive of Leeds City College in September 2015. Following a period as Vice Principal at Newcastle College, Colin was Principal and CEO of Barnsley College and steered the College to an Ofsted rating of outstanding, doubling turnover and delivering a financial performance that is amongst the best in the college sector.
Colin has made strong contributions at local, regional, and national level to the furtherance of education including holding the positions: Chair of the One Barnsley Local Strategic Partnership, Director of the Wellspring Multi Academy Schools Trust, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Principals’ Group, Representative on the regional European Structural & Investment Funds Committee, Board member for the Association of Colleges and Chair of its Finance & General Purposes Committee
Nav Chohan joined Shipley College as Principal in July 2009. He has worked in education for 18 years.
Before coming to the college in Saltaire, he worked at Leeds College of Technology. Previously, he worked as an Information Systems Project Manager for NHS in Scotland and before that as an independent IT Consultant. Nav grew up in London and has lived in Yorkshire for the last 12 years.
Chris joined Bradford College in August 2017 as Director of Finance and Corporate Services. He has worked in the education sector since 2008, and prior to that in the private financial sector for a number of years.
Before joining the College, Chris spent eight years working for the University of Bradford, in which his most recent positions were Deputy Director of Finance and Interim Director of Finance. In this time he identified the high level financial improvement needed to ensure financial sustainability of the University. He was also a key leader in the resultant University transformation programme to deliver the financial improvement identified. This included setting up the finance support office to the transformation programme that developed and monitored the financial aspects of the ambitious three-year plan.