New Kirklees College Principal looks forward to challenges

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.

Kirklees College Vice Principal (Corporate Services) Melanie Brooke, Principal and Chief Executive Marie Gilluley and Deputy Principal (Curriculum, Performance and Innovation) June Durrant.

Kirklees College Vice Principal (Corporate Services) Melanie Brooke, Principal and Chief Executive Marie Gilluley and Deputy Principal (Curriculum, Performance and Innovation) June Durrant.

Marie has worked in further education (FE) for 30 years including as Principal of Bolton College for the last 5 years.

Marie did a degree in engineering and after university worked in varied roles including as a plant engineer in County Durham where she was responsible for training Apprentices. She also worked in Newcastle on a Teaching Company Scheme looking at automation and control.

Marie’s first job in FE was at then Central Manchester College as a lecturer in computer-aided engineering.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to lead and represent Kirklees College.

“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.”

Marie said she was also looking forward to working with other West Yorkshire colleges, which Kirklees College already has strong links with through the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC).

As chair of the Greater Manchester Colleges Group she helped develop significant collaboration between the 10 FE colleges to improve curriculum quality and achieve greater responsiveness across the district.

She has been the FE representative in many forums including the Skills and Employment Partnership and worked closely with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in the development of the skills aspects of the Devolution Agreement.

Marie currently lives in Stockport, Cheshire, with her husband and two sons.

Kirklees College