A college group has appointed a new chair and vice chair to their board of corporation as the current chair gets ready to retire

Nelson and Colne College Group's current chair of the corporation Stephen Barnes retires from the board after more than 20 years of service, with the group welcoming a new chair, Phil Wilkinson and new vice chair Emma Schofield.

Ms Schofield is deputy director of human resources (HR) and organisation development at the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and is currently the safeguarding lead on the board of corporation.

Mr Wilkinson, currently vice chair of the corporation, begins as chair in February, and is Chief Executive Officer of Ascentis.

Mr Wilkinson said: “I am immensely proud to take on this position playing such an important role in the lives of all the learners and wider communities that we serve as the College Group.

"As, consistently, one of the highest achieving colleges in the country we are dedicated to enriching the education and experiences of all we work with, at all levels.

"Using the knowledge and experience gained from my established background in Further Education I can honestly say we haven’t been in a better position to positively influence the lives of so many across Lancashire, and particularly across East Lancashire.

“Stephen will be sorely missed, and has made a significant and lasting contribution to the college throughout his time on the board.

"Through his college role he has made a hugely positive and lasting contribution to and impact on Pendle, which will continue long after he retires from the college board.

"I look forward to becoming chair in February and building upon all his good work supporting the board to steer the college on to further success as we move forward.”

Mr Barnes joined the board of Nelson and Colne College when he was Chief Executive of Pendle Borough Council.

As corporation chair, he has led the board and college through key investment and growth opportunities such as the Lancashire Adult Learning and Accrington and Rossendale College mergers and the ambitious £3.5m capital investment programme continuing to transform the Accrington and Rossendale College campus.

Speaking of his retirement, Mr Barnes said “I am immensely proud of all the phenomenal things the College Group has achieved for our learners, businesses and communities we serve, and for my part in that story.

"I know the unfaltering commitment and drive to support all students to achieve their very best will continue, with the Group’s senior team, teachers and support staff.”

The board of corporation at the College Group is made up of members from business and professional, public sector and community backgrounds working as a team to determine the strategy and future direction of the College Group.