Northumberland College has announced a new board of governors to drive forward an ambitious new vision, which will benefit students, stakeholders and the local economy.

Including prominent, senior and well-respected figures from the North East business community and covering a range of diverse industries, the combined expertise of the new board will play a significant role in delivering an ambitious strategic vision including a multi-million-pound investment programme across all College campuses, improved learning provision and enhanced facilities for students and the local community.

With a strong focus on industry and employer partnerships, commercial offering and maximising the College’s £2.5 million, custom-built STEM Centre at its Ashington campus, head of HR, Kerry Patterson from Blyth-based advanced machine and robotics manufacturer, Tharsus, has been appointed to the board.

With nearly 20 years’ experience in the HR sector, Kerry’s expertise has been instrumental to developing strategies to drive business growth since joining Tharsus in 2014. In her role on the senior management team, Kerry has been responsible for a number of key transformational HR projects which share similar values to those which Northumberland College is keen to drive forward in its new iteration as part of Education Partnership North East.

Likewise, Andrew Ferguson, commercial and real estate manager and chartered surveyor at Virgin Money has joined the board to help support the College with the management of its key assets at its campuses across the county. With a wealth of experience in investment, corporate real estate and business operations, Andrew has taken part in a leadership programme with Virgin Money, providing him with the opportunity to spend time with both Bath Rugby and Team GB to better understand high performance environments and the behaviours required to succeed within them.

Furthermore, energy and renewables business leader, Ian Brown of MKM Technology is also one of ten appointed, alongside Jeff Hope, head of manufacturing unit at AkzoNobel Ashington, John Holmes, chairman of Bernicia, finance expert Dawn Chadwick of Dawn L Chadwick Insolvency Ltd, chartered secretary, Neil Salvesen, legal advisor and county councillor, David Towns, visiting Professor of Innovation and Enterprise at Newcastle University Business School, Alison Shaw, Holly Thompson of Future Skills Vision and Louise Doyle, founder and director of Mesma.

Nigel Harrett, Principal of Northumberland College commented: “This is an incredibly exciting time for Northumberland College as we drive forward significant improvements and investment across all campuses, and embark upon a new chapter, providing new opportunities for students, staff, employers and the local community.

“The governing body will play a highly instrumental role in successfully delivering this period of change following our merger with Sunderland College earlier in the year and their experience across all areas of business will help consolidate Northumberland College as the county’s premium provider of further and higher education. We’re delighted to welcome them on board.”

Northumberland College is part of regional college group, Educational Partnership North East, which also includes Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form. The College, which has sites in Ashington, Berwick and Kirkley, Ponteland, provides a range of further and higher education courses and employer-focused apprenticeship programmes. For course information and enrolment enquiries, call 01670 841200 or visit