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Dudley College of Technology appoints new Chief Executive & Principal

Nov 13 2019

Left to right: Neil Thomas – newly appointed Chief Executive & Principal of Dudley College of Technology alongside Lowell Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Dudley College of Technology and Chair of the Board of Dudley Academies Trust.

Dudley College of Technology, one of the country’s highest performing further education colleges, has today announced the appointment of Neil Thomas as its new Chief Executive & Principal.

Mr Thomas, who previously held the sole role of Principal at the College, will take up the post in January 2020 when the current Chief Executive, Lowell Williams, steps aside to follow new opportunities. Mr Thomas has worked alongside Mr Williams for over ten years and has helped build the College’s success, which includes achieving Ofsted “outstanding provider” rating in March 2017 and securing Government backing for the Black Country and the Marches Institute of Technology (IoT), one of only twelve new IoTs selected for development following a national competition.

The College will be appointing a Chief Operating Officer, to work alongside and deputise for Mr Thomas, and also a new Vice Principal, to strengthen the senior team. The new appointments will ensure the College’s ability to deliver its ambitious strategic plan for 2020-23, which is currently out for consultation with key stakeholders.

Mr Williams will be retained as a strategic advisor to the College’s Corporation through to Easter 2020, in the first instance, to help oversee the transition and to support Mr. Thomas in the hand-over period. Mr Williams will continue to lead on the development of the Black Country and the Marches Institute of Technology during this transitionary period.

Commenting on the appointment as outgoing Chief Executive Officer Mr Williams said: “I am absolutely delighted the Corporation has decided to appoint Neil as my successor. He is very definitely the right person for the job. I have every confidence that he will lead the College from strength to strength. The further education sector continues to be an extremely challenging arena in which to work, but Neil has proven over the years that he has the resilience, skills and ability to deliver successful outcomes for our learners. It’s great that a local Dudley boy gets the chance to run this amazing College and to serve his local community.”

Commenting on his own role Mr Williams said: “I will be retaining a close interest in the College and in the Borough. I will continue to offer my support to the College, as required, and I will be retaining my roles as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Dudley Academies Trust and Chair of the Black Country Living Museum. I will also be taking up new a position as Non-Executive Director of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust. But I will never forget my time at the College. It has been such a privilege to work here.”

David Whatton, Chair of the College’s Corporation, commented: “I am pleased to be able to confirm the appointment of Mr. Thomas to the post of Chief Executive & Principal of Dudley College of Technology. The whole Corporation is confident Neil will provide thoughtful, energetic and committed leadership to secure the College’s future success.” Going further he said: “Neil inherits a fantastic legacy. Under his leadership the College will retain its relentless focus on meeting the needs of learners and employers, locally, regionally and nationally.”

Expressing his own delight at the appointment Mr. Thomas said: “I’m delighted to be taking up the reins at this College, which I love and feel so passionate about. I’m fully committed to delivering on our future strategic priorities, as detailed in our ambitious new strategic plan. Young people and adults in Dudley and the wider Black Country deserve the very best from this College and I will work tirelessly with my colleagues to give them just that.”