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FERDI Advisory Biographies



Amarjit Basi

Amarjit is the CEO and Principal of The Cornwall College Group (TCCG). Amarjit is the eldest son of a first generation immigrant Punjabi Sikh family. He was born, schooled, and commenced his teaching career in Sandwell, near Birmingham. He taught in secondary education, before moving into a broad range of roles in colleges, spanning curriculum and quality development. Before joining TCCG he was Principal and Chief Executive of New College Nottingham, a founding member of the 157 Group of Colleges, and before that Principal and Chief Executive of Walsall College.

Amarjit has practised as an inspector, chief moderator and consultant on curriculum and quality matters for key national development and quality agencies over the past 20 years.He is currently a Board member at Pearson, the largest learning company in the world and holds a City & Guilds Fellowship for services to vocational education and training. Amarjit has four children, Sabina, Kieran, Samir and Lowen.



Hugh Bramwell

Hugh Bramwell started work in further education at Bolton College in 1983 & has worked in various colleges including Manchester, Exeter, Bolton and Blackburn. Hugh’s background is in quantity surveying and business information systems and for a short period worked with College Management-Information-Systems. Hugh became Principal of Burnley College in January 2010. He was previously Deputy Principal for nine years working with John Smith.

Hugh is currently a Regional AOC committee member working closely with the Lancashire Colleges & represents them on various Lancashire County Boards. Hugh is a dedicated supporter of Further Education and puts great effort in to the influencing approach the Colleges can have on local & national policy and politics. Hugh has developed a good relationship with the local MP’s affecting Burnley College and the Local MP of his home area to help with influencing. Hugh is a regular attendee and contributor to AOC discussion forums and works closely with various Principals across the north of England. Clarity in the FE sector & National policies affecting the students in further education are two key areas of interest. Burnley College is an active member of the AOC and the Tertiary Colleges.

Andy Cole

Andy Cole took up the post of Principal at the College in January 2014, joining from City of Westminster College where, as Vice Principal, Curriculum and Planning, he helped deliver continuous improvements which placed the college in the top 25% nationally. Andy has 30 years of experience, principally within London colleges, and has worked at every level from technician through to senior management.

He has also undertaken work on a regional and national level with employers on Apprenticeship frameworks and developing curriculum content for vocational diplomas. Andy is proud to be “a product of the sector”, having left school to study at his local college and ultimately gaining a Masters degree from University College London in 1984.

Clive Cooke

Clive has been Principal & Chief Executive of Sussex Coast College Hastings since March 2012. He is a member of the college’s Corporation and of its F&HR, CQS, and Search Committees. He was educated in Birmingham (BA Hons Sociology) and at the University of Wolverhampton (PGCE), and the University of Greenwich (MBA). H has held a range of professional positions including Principalships at Guildford and South Kent College. Externally he is a director of the Hastings Academies Trust and FE Sussex, and the Chair of GFE South.

Viv Gillespie

Viv has worked as Principal in further education colleges for many years and as a senior manager before that. As Principal at City College Plymouth, the college moved out of formal recovery to being graded by Ofsted as Good with Outstanding features, developing strong employer partnerships, growing apprenticeships, and acquiring a large private training provider to form the College group.

Having relocated back to the Midlands she was been Interim Principal at Northumberland College in 2012 followed by being the Principal at South Worcestershire College – taking the college from an Ofsted Inadequate grade to Good in ten months. She has conducted Strategic Options Reviews in both colleges in order to support future organisational structure and planning. Currently the Principal of Suffolk NEW College.

She has played a major role in contributing to economic regeneration. For example, Viv was a Director of the Chamber of Commerce in Plymouth for six years, as well as a member of the local Strategic Partnership where she led on the development of education and training in the City. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Plymouth University in 2013. She has led training for the AOC Sector Management College, and has recently joined a national task group led by employers whose focus is on the engineering and manufacturing curriculum.

Ray Goy

FE career:              37 years
Senior posts:        Director of Business Resources (Matthew Boulton College, Birmingham)
Deputy Principal (Matthew Boulton College, Birmingham
Principal (Henley College Coventry – 12 years)
Memberships:       AoC regional board representative for Coventry and Warwickshire;
Principals’ group of Coventry & Warwickshire colleges; College
Education Partnership of FE colleges
FE Principals’/Local Authority Group
Coventry 11-25 Strategic Education Partnership
Coventry (Strategic) Partnership Board
Coventry Partnership’s Economy, Learning, Skills and Employment (ELSE) theme group
Coventry Ambassadors
Coventry Champions
Coventry and Warwickshire ”Place Board” (sub-regional inward investment)
Coventry Local Public Service Board
As you can see from much of the above, I am particularly engaged with the local skills, employment and social inclusion agenda.  I was a trustee of the local Education Action Zone, and for nine years a board member of a New Deal for Communities initiative.  My particular passion in terms of further education has, for all my 37 years in FE,  been the raising of the aspirations of local people in areas of high social and economic disadvantage.

David Jones

David Jones became the Principal and Chief Executive of Coleg Cambria on 1st August 2013. Coleg Cambria, formed from the previous Deeside and Yale Colleges, is one of the largest educational institutions in Wales with an annual income of almost £65m and providing courses for over 25,000 leaners. Prior to this David was Principal/Chief Executive of Deeside College and played a leading role in its development, expansion and success. Coleg Cambria became Wales ‘only member of the 157 Group (of colleges) in September 2013.

David has a BSc in Electronic Engineering from the University of Glamorgan, a PGCE from the University of Wales, Cardiff, and an MBA from Warwick Business School. In the early part of his career, he worked in the electronics manufacturing industry. He began his career in the education sector in 1987, when he was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Electronics at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff.

David is a member of the Flintshire & Wrexham Local Service Boards, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Wales Council, and is a Board member of ColegauCymru/ CollegesWales. David was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Clwyd in March 2010 and he has recently been appointed as a board member and Chair of the Deeside Enterprise Zone, the North Wales Transport Taskforce, and a board member of the Qualifications Wales Advisory Board (QWAB). David has championed Charity fund raising in recent years with over £300,000 being raised at the college.

Des Lambert

Des Lambert, Principal of Plumpton College, has been involved in land-based education since he graduated from Wye College with a BSc in Agriculture in 1970. Des joined Plumpton College in 1975 as a lecturer, became Head of Agriculture in 1983, Farm Director in 1994, and Principal in 2001. He has overseen the expansion in student numbers, the development of the PlumptonDown pedigree dairy herd of Holstein cows and the College’s award winning range of wine. He is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society. Des is married to Tina and they have four children.

Melanie Hunt

Melanie Hunt joined Sussex Downs College on 1 December 2010. She has an unswerving commitment to improving the life chances of young people and adults through high quality learning. As part of her role at Sussex Downs College (SDC), Melanie is involved in a variety of local, regional and national groups. She is a Governor of The Eastbourne Academy, which is co-sponsored by SDC and East Sussex County Council, and is a Director of the Eastbourne Education Business Partnership. She is a Director of the Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce, and has previously served as a Board member on the SE Local Enterprise Partnership. She is regional champion for the Women’s Leadership Network, and – through membership of the 157 Group – is involved in national events and projects.

Prior to her appointment Melanie was Director for Learning and Skills at Ofsted and held responsibility for leading inspection work across the Learning and Skills system. Melanie also held corporate leadership roles for equalities and human rights, research and analysis and sustainable development.

Previously, Melanie worked for the Learning and Skills Council in three different roles. As National Director of Learning she held responsibility for the LSC’s strategies in adult and 14 – 19 learning, quality assurance, learner support and equality and diversity across England. Melanie is originally from Sussex and has held a variety of jobs in the locality; she was Director of Quality and Strategy at the local LSC, supporting the transformation of the learning and skills system in the local area alongside the three local authorities. Prior to that she was an inspector for the Further Education Funding Council, inspecting FE colleges of all types and specialising in humanities and leadership and management. Melanie has held senior positions in two FE colleges (in Hastings and Eastbourne), has worked for East Sussex County Council as an education officer and taught in a 14 -19 school in Leicestershire. She is an Oxford graduate and a Fellow of the RSA.

Stella Mbubaegbu, CBE

Upon joining Highbury in 2001, Stella embarked on an extensive programme of change, refocusing the College to address emerging local, regional and national priorities in FE. Under Stella’s leadership, Highbury College has gone from being Ofsted-rated ‘Satisfactory’ in 2003 to ‘Outstanding’ in 2011.

Stella is a firm believer that education should transcend social, economic and geographical borders. This belief has led to the development of the Institute of Technology & Management, an innovative partnership with the Cross River State government in Nigeria to create an entrepreneurial polytechnic institute in the State.

Stella was awarded a CBE by her Majesty the Queen in 2008 for her services to further education. She has been a South of England Business Personality of the Year for demonstrating inspired leadership, and was recognised by The Education Foundation as one of the Education Reformers of 2013 for leading a Gazelle entrepreneurial college with a reputation for excellence in technical and vocational training.

Stella is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, the Royal Society of Arts and the NEF Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange, a Patron of the Institute for Learning and the WorldSkills UK Champion for the South East Region. Stella is a qualified teacher with a BA (Hons) degree in English and an MA in African Literature, as well as an MEd with Distinction from the University of Sheffield.

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