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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

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.

Phil Jardine

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

Chris Nattress

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.

Elaine Clinton

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.

Denise Rollo

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, has supported local authorities with regeneration and infrastructure funding bids and has previously supported unemployed people to find work by building their confidence and skills. She is currently seconded to Sellafield Ltd and has been recently elected to the local authority, where she serves as the Portfolio Holder for Roads and Transport.

Denise is a member of the Audit Committee.

Interests and Expertise – Community; Worklessness; Education and Training; Local Authority

Peter Ellwood

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.

Nigel Holliday

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.

Professor Jill Stewart

Professor Jill Stewart – Independent Governor

In her current role Jill has overarching responsibility for the strategic and academic leadership within the Institute of Engineering, Computing and Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Cumbria.

Prior to her appointment at Cumbria, Jill held several senior leadership roles including Head of Department of Engineering and Mathematics at Sheffield Hallam University and Head of School of Engineering at the University of Chester.

In the course of her career, Jill has attracted more than £1.8 million in research funding and is the author of more than 70 publications and has delivered numerous invited lectures.

She has won prestigious awards including the Charles Sharpe Beecher Prize for aerospace research and the THE award for Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiatives.

Jill is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and is a Director of the National College for Nuclear.

Robert Milburn

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

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.

Val Pallister

Val Pallister – Independent Governor

Val Pallister has recently retired as Data Services Manager and her passion for the College has led her to continue in a boardroom setting, bringing her not inconsiderable experience to the skills mix, including to the Audit Committee. Her understanding of the complex sector rules is a valuable asset to the Board.

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Lee Todd

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.

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Kirsten Williamson

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.

Claire Dunn

Claire Dunn – Independent Governor

Claire is a highly-motivated and approachable HR professional who has provided strategic leadership and expert advice to business leaders in Cumbria for the past 30 years. She currently works for the local authority and she played a pivotal role in collaborations in Cumbria as a whole to identify skills needs and facilitate solutions through her work with the Local Enterprise Partnership. She brings that passion to develop the skills agenda to the Boardroom of the College, taking a very keen interest in Careers in particular, as she also works closely with the college as a Cumbria Careers Enterprise Adviser.

Committee: Remuneration Committee; Finance and Corporate Affairs Working Group

Jane Murray

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.

Emily-rose Lane

Emily-rose Lane – Further Education Student Governor

Emily-Rose Lane is a T-Level business student who is keen to apply and test her knowledge and gain experience at Boardroom level, motivated by wanting to give back to a college which she has enjoyed. She has participated in a wide variety of work experience, is a volunteer coach for gymnastics and counts aerial circus skills among an impressive array of hobbies.

Sophie Kelly

Sophie Kelly – Higher Education Student Governor

Sophie Kelly is a higher apprentice working with Sellafield, studying higher education under the National College for Nuclear offer. She has an impressive track record working her way up from leaving school through to her current role and is keen to develop her leadership skills. She has an equally impressive record of volunteering, raising £24k to date, and an interesting mix of hobbies including beginners’ violin.

Norma Boyes

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.