The new deputy principal at an East Yorkshire college says she will be listening closely to the views of students and local businesses to help produce a skilled workforce for the region.
Rachel Ellis-Jones has re-joined Bishop Burton College this week, having previously worked there as an art lecturer at the start of her career.
She joins from Cheshire College South and West, where she was vice principal, and says she has been delighted to see how Bishop Burton has developed over the years, whilst being reassured that some things have remained the same.
“There is a massive difference in how the campus looks, so that has really changed,” she said. “It is so much more modern and cutting edge.
“One thing that hasn’t changed though – which is one of the reasons I wanted the job – is the same Bishop ethos about caring for people.
“It is very pleasing that, although the college has clearly moved with the times, the ethos of being a values-driven organisation is still very apparent.”
“I’m really, really pleased to have got the job, obviously. I’m thrilled and very excited to get started.”
Bishop Burton, near Beverley, offers a wide range of BTECs for school leavers, apprenticeships and degrees, as well as short courses for adults. The curriculum is very practical, with students learning the hands-on skills they will need in the workplace.
As a ‘land-based’ college, it specialises in agriculture, animal management and equine, but also delivers courses in subjects including sport, childcare, food, floristry, business and many more.
Rachel will now be working with the team at Bishop Burton to ensure it delivers courses that students are passionate about, which will also benefit local businesses and the economy for years to come.
She said: “I think it is very important that we retain our culture and identity as a land-based college, but that’s not to say we don’t expand what we do in looking at different provision. For example, Brexit is going to bring all sorts of challenges, but it will also produce opportunities and we need to be ready for that.
“I’m really keen to develop a network in the area and get to know local businesspeople. I want to listen to what they think are the education and training needs for the area.
“I’m really keen to work with the students too. It is important to listen to the students and I don’t mean just on the surface.
“I genuinely think you have to engage with the student body and listen to what they are telling you. The colleges and universities that do well are the ones that listen to their students. They are our customers so I am genuinely looking forward to having a really close working relationship with the students.”
Chief Executive and Principal, Bill Meredith, said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Rachel back to Bishop Burton College.
“She will bring a breadth of experience, as well as expertise and a real passion to help improve our students’ career prospects.
“I’m convinced she will be a real asset to the team and will play a major part in Bishop Burton’s future success.”
Bishop Burton College runs free transport for its full-time further education students, to make it as easy as possible to get to its campus.