A NORTH East college says it has welcomed its new principal onboard at one of the most exciting times in its history.
Anne Isherwood has joined Sunderland College as it presses ahead with its £24m revamp venture.
The ambitious building work includes new sports and arts academies at its Bede Campus, as well as improvements at Hylton and Washington.
She says one of her main focuses will be to ensure that Sunderland College students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and that one of her first tasks will be to ensure that happens.
Ms Isherwood had been principal and chief executive at Bishop Auckland College for two-and-a-half years and felt she made significant changes during her time there.
“Sunderland College is three times as big in terms of turnover and is a very interesting opportunity for me,” she said.
“One of the biggest challenges is to make sure the estates strategy is right in order to provide students with the type of environment they deserve and to make sure the finances are available to achieve that.
“The college wants to be part of the economic regeneration and recovery of the region and we and employers must work together to ensure the skills needed to support inward investment are available.
“At Sunderland College our core strength is providing quality teaching and learning and we believe we have an important role to play in making sure the skills match the needs of the jobs market. One of our roles is to guarantee that when young people leave here they don’t just have the qualifications they need but also the skills to make them employable such as communication and social skills.
“We have an obligation to make sure our students are job-ready.”
Ms Isherwood said that she had been very impressed by the commitment of the staff and credited them with the high success levels of students.
Starting her career in the hospitality industry, she moved into education later in life and trained as a teacher at the age of 30 – going onto teach hospitality subjects. As a result she values customer service highly.
“It is very important to see the student as a customer or consumer,” she said. “And I have pushed hard for that to be the case. That’s how we give them the best possible experience.
“In turn the college needs to meet the needs of industry and to manage that customer journey as well.”