The College’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) is responsible for the strategic leadership of the College and ensuring it achieves its vision and strategic objectives, whilst upholding the core values, all of which are set by the Board of the Corporation. The ELT consists of the Principal/Chief Executive, the Deputy Principal, Curriculum and Quality, the Deputy Principal, Finance and Resources, and the Assistant Principal, Head of Sixth Form. The wider Senior Leadership Team (SLT) is responsible for all aspects of strategic and operational leadership of the College, ensuring the highest standards of teaching, learning and assessment, outstanding outcomes for learners, and a strong and sustainable financial position. The SLT consists of all members of the ELT together with five Directors, each of whom have cross-college responsibilities.
Furness College was graded GOOD college by Ofsted in March 2015 with OUTSTANDING provision in engineering. It also received an excellent Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) report in February 2016 for its higher education provision where it was commended for its student enhancement activities. In August 2016, the College merged successfully with Barrow Sixth Form College, forming the largest college in Cumbria; prior to merger, the sixth form college was also graded as GOOD with OUTSTANDING provision in Law. It is also one of the first four providers nationally to become a member of the newly formed Institution for Further Education.
Andrew Wren joined Furness College as Principal and Chief Executive in September 2015. Having grown up in Cumbria, he moved to East Yorkshire, graduating from the University of Hull in 1993 with a BA (Joint Honours) in French and Scandinavian Studies. With a work background in hospitality and retail management, he moved into Further Education as a lecturer at Hull College in 2002 before taking up a new post at East Riding College where he became Vice Principal. He completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at the University of Huddersfield and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management with the Chartered Management Institute.
Andrew is committed to providing the highest quality provision and believes firmly that Further Education colleges, such as Furness College, have a critical role to play in providing learning opportunities to help transform the lives of individuals and impact positively on employers. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, spending time on his boat and anything related to I.T. At weekends, he can usually be seen out walking on the fells with his two beagles, Freddie and Ralph.
Mark Nicholson has held his current post of Deputy Principal Curriculum and Quality since 2009, having first joined the college as a Lecturer in Engineering in 1987. He has held a number of posts at all levels within the college, having completed a BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering with the Open University and a Certificate in Education with UCLan. In 2008 he completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Management with Lancaster University and more recently the Aspiring Principals and Senior Leaders programme with LSIS. Mark is hugely proud of the impact that Furness College continues to make on the lives of its students and the success of businesses large and small.
Outside of work, Mark is a director of Cumbria Cricket Ltd, having played and coached cricket throughout his life. Married to Deb and a proud father to Christian and Jordan, Mark has a new addition to the family, his cockapoo puppy Cassie. Mark and Deb have the distinction of completing all 214 Wainwright fells of the Lake District.
John Smith is Deputy Principal - Finance and Resources. He began his career in 1976 with Newcastle City Council, securing his first senior finance position, as the Principal Accountant to the Education Committee in 1987. Following his decision to leave the authority in 1990, he gained a further 20 years' of valuable experience, holding the positions of Finance Director and Company Secretary of Tyneside Training and Enterprise Council for 11 years, and more recently, nine years as the NE Region’s Finance Director with the Learning and Skills Council. John joined the college towards the end of 2010, taking up his current position of Deputy Principal, Finance and Resources. He also has five years’ experience as a non-executive director with Northern Enterprise Ltd, a small venture capital company based in the North East.
His mix of experiences spanning local government, the Civil Service and private sector, positions him well for a college of further education in that a private sector approach to financial management can be central to direction and motivation, whilst public sector values and behaviours under-pin everything his does.
John has lived in around Lowfell, Gateshead, since childhood, and has been married for over thirty five years. He has one son who has recently graduated in Sports Journalism from UCLan. His out of work interests include looking after his golden retriever, DIY, growing fruit and vegetables and time permitting, leisurely cycling holidays.
Jo Anson is the Director of Higher Education at Furness College. With a background in teaching Computing at Stockport College and over 25 years at Furness College, Jo is passionate about vocational education especially at higher levels and with the use that technology has in enhancing and enriching teaching, learning and assessment. Over the last 10 years Jo has led a number of validations and quality assurance processes with respect to Higher Education courses at the college which has enabled the number of courses and students to double in that period. Areas of particular focus are the BEng Honours programmes in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering which have been accredited with the IET. With support from the Cumbria LEP and HEFCE Catalyst funding a £4m Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Centre is currently being built to enhance the research facilities for the student at higher levels and increase the workshop space for the growing demand.
With the £43 million build of the Furness College campus, Jo has led the ICT strategy and implementation of the infrastructure and deployment of classroom technology for all areas of the curriculum. The focus has always been to ensure that students have the very best in technology to complement and enhance teaching, learning and assessment. Developing strategies for the training and sharing good practice of various technology-based elearning platforms is key to the full use of the capital investment.
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 of Information before commencing her current role in Planning and Performance.
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.
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.
Sue Hannan is Director of Young People’s Learning. Sue previously 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 and latterly as a Director.
Sue initially qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1986 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. Still teaching in the classroom, Sue is proud of the progression her students make 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.