Sean Lyons, 62, an experienced senior executive in the steel industry and former director at Sherwood Forest NHS foundation Trust began his new role on Friday, February 1..
He said he and his fellow governors, together with the senior management team led by interim principal and chief executive Martin Sim, would do everything in their power to return the college to a stable financial footing, which would involve a wholesale review of the scale of its operations.
He insisted staff would continue to be “treated with dignity and respect” during a difficult restructuring process.
And he promised the student experience would not be affected, saying learners could feel assured that their teaching and learning remained the number-one priority.
Mr Lyons continued: “The immediate goal is to improve the college’s finances and re-focus the organisation. We need to demonstrate that we are creating a financial recovery plan that is both viable and deliverable, that we continue to closely monitor our performance, and that we keep everybody – staff, students, the local community, and our funding agencies – informed about our progress.
“In addressing the issues that have driven these financial pressures – basically, the college has over-stretched itself in previous years – the organisation now needs to alter in size, in accordance with the provision that it’s capable of delivering.
“We will be re-focusing the college to become more of a local provider, tuned-in to the requirements of the community.
“Sadly, this means some short-term pain as we implement a staffing restructure.
“However, we will do our utmost to ensure that people are always treated with dignity and respect, and use all opportunities to re-deploy colleagues into other roles or help them find alternative employment.
Mr Lyons said: “Although the college is going through some significant difficulties at present, I’ve experienced similar situations at other organisations in the past, where things needed to improve, so I’d like to see what I can do to help.”
He described the role as chairman as a “major privilege”, adding: “I intend to hold that privilege very carefully and do whatever I can to provide the leadership and guidance that is needed. I’m excited about the journey ahead and certainly not daunted by it, although I don’t underestimate the challenge either.”
“We can’t change what has happened in the past – but we can influence the future. This community needs and deserves a thriving further education college that is fit-for-purpose and that provides every learner with the opportunity to improve their life chances.”