Meet The Governors
Read about each member of our Governing Body and learn how their expertise help to shape the day-to-day operations of the college.
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 is a trustee of a number of voluntary organisations and Chair of the West Cumbria Learning Centre (Pupil Referral Unit and Alternative Provision).
Mike sits on the Finance and Corporate Working group; on the Remuneration Committee, on the Search and Governance Committee and plays a leading role in self-assessment by co-Chairing the Quality Working Group. He is a Safeguarding link governor.
Interests and Expertise – Youth; Independent Advice and Guidance; Quality.
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 in 2014 following a five year spell as Deputy Principal. It is the local community and key stakeholders, who are at the heart of discussions around the boardroom table, as Chris and colleagues continue their drive to provide the very best of education and training here in West Cumbria. Chris is appointed to the Search and Governance Committee, but attends in his capacity of Principal when there is a need to do so.
Interests and Expertise – Teaching and Learning; Business Development; Education Policy; Stakeholder Liaison locally and nationally.
Phil Jardine – Independent Governor
Phil Jardine started his working life as an apprentice designing continuous casting steel plants before continuing with a long and varied career in the nuclear industry including Britain’s Energy Coast. After many years in commercial, operations and project management, Phil has recently retired from the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, University of Sheffield, where he had a wide-ranging role in decommissioning and waste management in a number of sectors both in the United Kingdom and international markets.
Phil is Vice Chair and chairs the Finance and Corporate Working Group.
Interests and Expertise – Business opportunities; Health and Safety; nuclear
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. Denise is currently working as a strategic adviser for Mace Group supporting local authorities with regeneration and infrastructure funding bids and has previously supported unemployed people to find work by building their confidence and skills.
Denise is a member of the Audit Committee
Interests and Expertise – Community; Worklessness; Audit; Education and Training.
Robert Milburn – Independent Governor
Robert is Head of Financial Reporting and Cash Management at Sellafield Ltd and 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.
Robert Chairs the Audit Committee
Interests and Expertise – Finance and Audit
Alison Hampson – Independent Governor
With extensive experience in occupational therapy for the NHS, and recently retired as the Director of the Institute of Health at the University of Cumbria, Alison has returned to her roots working part-time in occupational therapy. She brings significant leadership and management expertise, including Human Resources, to the Board. Alison is passionate about education and raising aspirations in the local communities of Cumbria.
Alison is a member of the Remuneration Committee and Quality Working Group.
Interests and Expertise – Quality; Higher Education; Human Resources.
Lee Todd – Staff Governor
Starting his career with Lakes College as a carpentry and joinery lecturer, Lee is now Curriculum Operations Leader for Construction, Building Services & Civil Engineering and the curriculum staff governor. He very much sees the College as a pillar of the community in which he grew up and is passionate about supporting the local population to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable them to pursue a successful career.
Nigel Holliday – Independent Governor
Nigel is a former student of Lakes College and has recently retired from his role as Head of Profession (Engineering and Maintenance) with Sellafield Ltd, where among his many responsibilities, he had overall responsibility for the training and development of 2,400 maintenance and engineering staff, including the technical content and governance of apprenticeships. His enthusiasm and commitment to partnership working, and to enhance opportunities for local communities, shines through.
Nigel chairs the Remuneration Committee and is a member of the Finance and Corporate Working Group. He also participates in self-assessment sessions for Quality purposes.
Interests and Expertise – Engineering; Nuclear; Health and Safety.
Elaine Clinton – Independent Governor
An education specialist and a former lead inspector with Ofsted, Elaine brings important sector experience to the Board, championing high quality provision which is student-focused. She is firmly committed to ensuring that all students have the very best chances to learn and as a consultant working with several colleges, she has oversight of practice elsewhere in the country which adds value to the Board.
Elaine will take on the Co-Chairmanship of the Quality Working Group in the coming year and lead responsibility for Equality and Diversity and learner support.
Interests and Expertise – Education and training; Ofsted; equality and diversity and learner support.
Paul Hardon – Independent Governor
Paul Hardon is also an alumni of Lakes College, where he studied as an engineering apprentice, which allowed him to spend many years in the British Army. In recent years, he is the Training Manager at Morgan Sindall where he has worked with Lakes College and the National College for Nuclear, to deliver apprenticeship development and training. Paul is passionate about training and education and the value of both in developing people’s potential.
Interests and expertise: apprenticeships; engineering; education and training.
Peter Ellwood – Independent Governor
Peter is Managing Partner of local Chartered Accountants and business advisers Robinson and Co. He takes a keen interest in driving businesses forward to reach their full potential irrespective of size and type. He brings significant business development expertise to the Board.
Peter is a member of the Finance and Corporate Working Group.
Interests and Expertise – Finance; Business Development.
Kirsten Williamson – Staff Governor
Kirsten joined Lakes College in 2008 as a Health Care Assistant. Over the years her job has evolved and she is a member of the Progress and Welfare Team, a role which allows her to support our learners through their time here at the college.
She believes the College is an essential part of our community providing local people with a place to learn and develop, enabling them to pursue their careers and has been witness to many changes over the years to meet the needs of local employers, with a diverse range of courses on offer. Kirsten is keen to use her experience to support the College in its continued growth.
Beth Wordsworth – Independent Governor
Beth is a trainee Safety Case Advisor, where she supports the development and delivery of safety cases to ensure safe operations on site and compliance with the Nuclear Site Licence Conditions. Until recently, Beth was a solicitor with a local law firm and the junior representative of the West Cumbria Law Society, holding an undergraduate and masters degree in Law.
Beth is a member of the Search and Governance Committee.
Interests and Expertise – Legal; Governance, Health and Safety
Sarah Allison – Independent Governor
A former student of Lakes College, Sarah brings 20 years of experience of managing projects in a variety of sectors. Most recently she has been working as a project manager for the Cumbria Innovations Platform with the University of Cumbria, providing research and knowledge exchange to drive innovation and business growth. She is also an associate lecturer with the university and an MSc qualified coach and mentor. Sarah describes herself as someone who strives for excellence both individually and as part of the team, bringing that ambition to the boardroom.
Interests and Expertise – Business Management; Project Management; Communication; Education, Coaching and Mentoring.
Elijah Bennet – Student Governor
Elijah joined the Board in December 2021. He is studying a T-Level in IT and is passionate about this new qualification and the way in which it delivers for high end vocational education with appropriate work experience. He values the opportunity to contribute his own views to the Boardroom and to learn from the experience.
Aaron Groggins – Student Governor
Aaron also joined the Board in December 2021. He was studying a Level 3 apprenticeship and is now studying for his HNC in electrical engineering as a degree apprentice under the auspices of the National College for Nuclear, of which Lakes is a delivery provider. Aaron is an apprentice with one of the area’s largest employers and is keen to develop his boardroom skills for his future career and to support the college in their engagement with Higher Education students.
Norma Boyes MBE – Co-opted Member of Audit Committee
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 Chartered Company Secretary.
She is a co-opted member of the Audit Committee, following a long many years as a full-time Governor.
Interests and Expertise – Governance; Audit.
Jane Murray – Clerk to the Governors
With a background in broadcasting, government media relations and local government scrutiny, including committee clerking, Jane joined the College as Clerk to the Governors in 2009 and has since completed the national, specialist qualification for Clerks. She also Clerks the National College for Nuclear and Lakes College Enterprises Ltd. She is the first point of contact for Governor enquiries.