Meet The Governors

  • Mike Priestley - Chair and Independent Governor

    Previously, Area Manager (West) for Inspira, providing youth support work and independent careers’ advice and guidance, Mike is well known in the area and recognised for his professional achievements and voluntary commitments particularly in the field of sport and youth work. He has always been committed to work with young people and this continues to be his passion. He chairs the Quality Working Group.


  • Phil Jardine - Independent Governor

    Phil Jardine started his working life as an apprentice. After many years in commercial, operations and project management, Phil now runs his own management consultancy, with Westinghouse Electric Company among his clients. With a good few years’ experience as a school governor, Phil is now intent on bringing the benefits of his expertise to the College. He will chair the newly formed Finance Working Group and has until recently served on the Quality Working Group.


  • Mark Stanger - Independent Governor

    A qualified Chartered Accountant and a partner in local firm Gibbons Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisers, Mark brings extensive financial experience to the governing body. He is a member of the Search and Governance Committee and Chair of the Board, and will serve on the Finance Working Group.


  • Les Agnew - Independent Governor

    Les is Head of Safety & Technical Training standards for Sellafield Sites Ltd, part of the Human Resources team servicing 10,000 employees. Among other responsibilities, he manages the team who undertake task & training needs analysis and the development of training facilities. Les is a Member of the Search and Governance Committee and the Remuneration Committee, and will serve on the Finance Working Group.


  • Dr Robin Talbot - Independent Governor

    Until recently Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Science at the University of Cumbria, Robin brings an academic perspective to the Board and previous Board experience as a former Chair of the Morecambe Bay Primary Care Trust, and the incoming Chair of the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. He is committed to close working between Further and Higher Education, and between the colleges and the health sector. Robin is a member of the Quality Working Group.


  • Andrew Oldham - Independent Governor

    A qualified Chartered Accountant, Andrew has worked in a multitude of sectors including wines and spirits, clothing, electricity generation and engineering. Bringing substantial financial expertise to the governing body, Andrew is the Head of Financial Operations at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and is Chair of the Audit Committee.


  • Chris Nattress - Principal

    With a background in finance and banking, Chris moved into the education sector as a lecturer, moving through the ranks to take the Principal’s position at Lakes College, where he had been Deputy Principal for five years. A natural athlete, Chris is a keen cyclist and he and his family, who are all outdoor enthusiasts, are all well embedded in the local community. And it is the local community which is at the heart of discussions around the boardroom table, as Chris continues the drive to provide the very best of education and training here in West Cumbria.


  • Norma Boyes MBE - Independent Governor

    With strong roots in the local community, Norma is Director and Company Secretary of the Cockermouth Agricultural Show and on the Executive of the North West Show Association, in addition to her daytime job at the Rural Payments Agency. She is a long-serving Governor, passionate about providing opportunities for local students, with a particular interest in equality and diversity. She is Chair of the Search and Governance Committee and is a member of the Remuneration and Audit Committees.


  • Claire Madden - Independent Governor

    Previously a partner in two firms local to West Cumbria, Claire Madden LLB (Hons) is now a consultant with Brockbanks Solicitors and an Assistant Coroner for the North and West Area of Cumbria. Claire has contributed to the boardrooms of the NHS in West Cumbria for many years and brings to the College Board a commitment to the local community, in addition to her legal skills. Claire is particularly committed to raising standards of education locally. She is a member of the audit committee.


  • Helen Johnson - Independent Governor

    Helen Johnson is an experienced Headteacher and currently Principal at the West Cumbria Learning Zone, who joined the board in December 2015 and strengthens the knowledge base of teaching and learning. She enjoys the respect of the local community, having led the improvement of the West Cumbria Learning Zone from special measures to good in a relatively short space of time.


  • Tanya Crofts - Independent Governor

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    A recent director of quality and support services in a FE College, Tanya brings senior management knowledge and understanding of the sector to the Board. She is a member of the Quality Working Group.


  • John Dunn - Independent Governor

    John Dunn is a subject specialist in Maths and Science, with a background in FE lecturing. He has been an Ofsted Inspector for over fifteen years, specialising in science, mathematics, construction and aspects of engineering, and brings extensive knowledge and experience of the sector to boardroom discussions.


  • Denise Rollo - Independent Governor

    Throughout her career, Denise has been a committed volunteer, serving on Workington Town Council and mentoring ex-offenders. A former student of the College, she has returned to support and promote education as a means of expanding horizons and getting work. This fits well with her current day job, which is to support unemployed people to find work, by building their confidence and skills.


  • Robert Milburn - Independent Governor

    Robert joined the board to give the benefit of his significant financial experience to a local body, which is firmly based in the local community. Local to West Cumbria, he is committed to giving something back and supporting the life chances of local people. He brings enormous enthusiasm for the role, in addition to his skills and experience.


  • Stuart Williams - Staff Governor

    Stuart is a staff governor with wide-ranging responsibility for Sports, Public Sector and the Arts.


  • John Thinnesen - Student Governor

    Student Governor John Thinnesen is studying for a HND in Mechanical Engineering, while keeping on his day job. He is enjoying the course and his new role of being a governor, bringing a student perspective to Board discussions.


  • Andrew Pearce - Student Governor

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    Andrew has been recently appointed as a student governor. He is a Level 3 Computing Student, who is also keen to put previous knowledge and experience of the working environment to good use.


  • Elizabeth Walker - Staff Governor

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    Elizabeth is a staff governor and an enthusiastic member of the learning support team. She is currently studying for her PGCSE.


  • Jane Murray - Clerk to the Governors

    With a background in broadcasting, government media relations and local government scrutiny and committee clerking, Jane joined the College as Clerk to the Governors in 2009 and has since completed the national, specialist qualification for Clerks. She is the first point of contact for Governor enquiries.