College Leadership

As a further education corporation, Furness College is ultimately led by its Board of the Corporation (Governors).

Reporting to the Board, the College’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) is responsible for all aspects of strategic and operational leadership of the College.

The SLT is responsible for ensuring that the College achieves its vision and strategic objectives, whilst upholding core values, all of which are set by the Board, ensuring the highest standards of teaching, learning and assessment, outstanding outcomes for learners, and a strong and sustainable financial position.

Led by the Principal/Chief Executive, who is also an ex officio Board member, the SLT also comprises two Assistant Principals, for Curriculum, and Planning, Performance & Quality, three Directors of Curriculum each of whom have cross-college responsibilities, a Director of Corporate Services and Director of Finance.

The wider College Management Team (CMT) includes all college managers and provides leadership and management across the whole college.

Furness College Leadership Charter

College Management Chart

Senior Leadership Team

Nicola Cove
Principal and Chief Executive

Nicola Cove was appointed Principal and Chief Executive of Furness College in September 2023, having initially joined the College as Deputy Principal in September 2018.

After completing a degree in Maths at the University of York, Nicola joined the Accountancy and Audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1997 on its graduate accountancy training programme, based in Plymouth. During her training, Nicola worked with a broad range of clients from small farm accounts to SEC-listed companies to colleges, universities, regulated charities and other third sector organisations. In 2000, Nicola completed her chartered accounting exams and became a Member (and more latterly Fellow) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. During her six years at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Nicola specialised in the public sector, and within that, predominantly further education. Nicola then moved into the FE sector, joining City College Plymouth in 2003 and rapidly rose through the ranks becoming Director of Finance and ultimately Deputy Principal.

Nicola is passionate about further education and its impact on the economic, social and cultural development of the Furness area and wider region.

In her spare time, she enjoys travelling the world, reading, and is an ardent Plymouth Argyle fan and likes to follow the mighty Green Army to away matches when they are playing in the North West.

Zee Walker
Assistant Principal, Planning, Performance and Quality

Zee Walker joined Furness College in 1997, starting her career within the field of European funding. She has progressed within the college, enjoying a number of roles including Contracts Manager, Quality Manager and Director before commencing her current role as Assistant Principal, Planning, Performance and Quality.

Before graduating from Lancaster University in 1997 with a BSc in Operational Research, Zee attended Furness College as a Business and Finance student. It was this time at Furness College which sparked her passion for education and she has experienced first-hand the impact a community college can have in changing lives for the better. She has continued to develop her skills within the field of IT, gaining a Foundation Degree in Business Information Technology in 2006.

She enjoys the challenges faced in her current role and feels privileged to work alongside highly talented staff who are committed to providing a high quality learning experience for all students.

In her spare time she enjoys sailing, cycling, reading and walking her two Old English Sheepdogs.

Sue Hannan
Assistant Principal, Curriculum

Sue Hannan was previously Director of Young People’s Learning at the college, having held a senior management position at Barrow Sixth Form College having worked there for 20 years, initially as a Tutor of Health and Social Care before moving in to management as Work-Based Learning Co-ordinator, Senior Tutor, Director.

Sue initially qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1989 and spent some years working as a Staff Nurse followed by a period as an Occupational Health Nurse Adviser with British Gas. Having graduated from University College of St Martin with a BA (Hons) in Health Studies in 1996 Sue moved into the education sector completing a PGCE in post-16 Education.

Sue is a Barrovian and an ex-student of the sixth form college. As a teacher passionate about changing young people’s life chances, Sue is proud of the progression her students have made to Higher Education to become the nurses, teachers and social workers of the future.

Outside of college, Sue is married (to the boy she met as a student at sixth form!), she enjoys walking her Tibetan Terrier Mylo around the Furness area and the Lakes, is an keen skier and is often found with her head in her Kindle reading.

Steve McAloone
Director of Curriculum, Technical, Adult and Employer Learning

Steve McAloone is Director of Curriculum, Technical and Adult Learning. He is a qualified engineer who left school at 16 and commenced a traditional apprenticeship in the shipyard in Barrow. He entered the FE sector in 2000 following 12 years in retail. During his time in FE, Steve has undertaken a wide range of roles from Learning Support, Work Based Learning Assessor and Lecturing before becoming Curriculum Manager.

He was responsible for the project management of the new £4m Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centre at Channelside. This new facility allows the college to deliver key elements of the Cumbria LEP’s priorities in the south of the county as part of the governments STEM agenda. It was completed in July 2016 and, as the hub of innovation and skills in the area, houses state-of-the-art technology.

Steve is a non-executive board member and North West regional coordinator for the National Forum for Engineering Centres (NFEC) and has worked with the New Engineering Foundation as a STEM Assured Advisor. He was awarded Lecturer of the year in 2014 by the Cumbria Newspaper Group. He has a passion for German engineering and his ambition is to refurbish a split-screen vintage VW camper van.

Helen Gibson
Director of Curriculum, Head of Sixth Form

After many years working at Barrow Sixth Form College, Helen joined Furness College as Deputy Head of Sixth Form when the two colleges merged in August 2016. Helen has subsequently moved up the senior team as Director of Curriculum, Head of Sixth Form and Helen is also the College’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Kate Colebourn
Director of Curriculum, 14-19 and Higher Level Learning

Kate joined Furness College in 2012 as a lecturer in Technical Engineering, quickly progressing to Curriculum Manager. In 2014 Kate took on the role of Head of Area for Technical and Build Engineering, incorporating the Construction curriculum area.

After completing a MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds, Kate moved to Scotland and joined the Forestry Commission as part of their Graduate Development Programme. Kate worked with developing renewables, specifically hydropower, across the forestry estate as well as working in a range of core functions including Human Resources, Procurement and Corporate Services. On completion of the programme, Kate took up the role of Glentress Peel Project Manager and managed the delivery of a £9 million new visitor centre development in the Scottish Borders.

Relocating to South Lakeland in 2010, Kate took on the position of Improvements Engineer with James Cropper PLC, a world-class advanced materials and paper products group based near Kendal. In 2012 Kate became a Charted Engineer, professionally registered with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.. While working for James Cropper PLC Kate built relationships with local education providers offering placement projects, acting as a mentor to 6th form learners and an industrial sponsor for a series of school based projects. It is throughout this work that Kate’s passion to inspire others to learn was ignited and ultimately compelled her to move into education full time.

In Kate’s spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors horse riding, bike riding and walking with her husband and two young children. Kate also relishes the opportunity to eat delicious food in nice places!

Sue Russell 
Director of Corporate Services

Sue joined Furness College in November 2022 as the Interim Head of Human Resources and subsequently took up her current role of Director of Corporate Services in August 2023.

Prior to that she has undertaken a number of senior leader roles across HR, Operations and Business Transformation. Sue has worked in a number of sectors, including Telecommunication, Financial Services, Outsourcing and Defence, working for a number of well-known brands such as BT, Cooperative Bank and Rolls-Royce.

Sue re-located to the area two years ago and enjoys, being ‘out and about’ walking along the coast-line and into the Lake District and her drive to work, which has the most magnificent views and is her favourite of all of the daily commutes of her career to date.

LA14 2PJ
Rating Lane
LA13 9LE
Contact Us Tel: 01229 825 017 (Channelside Campus)
Tel: 01229 828 377 (Barrow Sixth Form College)
Email: info@furness.ac.uk
Business Support Tel: 01229 844 836
Email: businesssupport@furness.ac.uk
Of Course You Can!