Kirklees College’s new principal Marie Gilluley has started her new role as Principal and Chief Executive and is looking forward to the challenges it will bring.
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.
“What particularly attracted me was that there was a responsibility for industrial liaison. I felt that when I had been on the employer side that it had been hard to find the right training for our staff, so I was keen to change that and ensure that the college was responsive to employers’ needs,” said Marie.
FE & its power to change lives
“From that first role I got hooked on FE and its power to change lives. I believe passionately in education to provide economic opportunity and address social exclusion. Employer engagement and responsiveness has been a theme throughout my career in FE and something I have always believed in.
Just as Bolton College built a new STEM centre in response to local employers, so too Kirklees College has responded to employers with recent builds at the Engineering Centre and Process Manufacturing Centre, and with further new developments to come in 2018 at the Dewsbury Learning Quarter.
There are definitely similarities between Bolton and Huddersfield. They are both northern towns dependent on manufacturing and with a great deal of civic pride."
Tackling the challenges for post-16 education
Marie continued “Like Kirklees College, Bolton is a vocational College with a rapidly growing Apprenticeship provision. It is important we make sure that we tackle the challenges for post-16 education and provide the best opportunities we can for our learners.
There are so many choices for young people and their parents; it is a hard decision for them so they need to have the right advice and guidance on the best route to take. The recent government focus on apprenticeships and vocational training is an area where Kirklees College can provide a wide range of programmes to support everyone’s employment goals.
There will be continued change in our sector and I believe I am someone that can quickly get their feet on the ground within the communities I serve. I'm able to work constructively alongside colleagues to build relationships and influence decision makers.
We must focus on employers’ training needs to help guide us and provide what employers want and this is something I think Kirklees College does very well. We also want to play our part in supporting our communities and responding to local needs.
There is a lot of great partnership working in place already particularly with a number of companies already on board and I hope that more will come on board with what we have to offer.”
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.
Louise Tearle, Partnership Director for WYCC added “We’re delighted to have such an experienced professional joining us from the other side of the Pennines. 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."