In a move to supercharge skills development across the Tees Valley and beyond, Middlesbrough College has appointed Gary Potts as its new vice principal for business, innovation and community partnerships.

A seasoned leader with over 22 years in further education, Gary brings a proven track record of forging strong industry partnerships and ensuring educational programs align with real-world needs.

Gary arrives from Northumberland College where he was Principal. His extensive experience also includes roles at Darlington College and the Education Training Collective.

“Education is about unlocking potential,” said Gary.

“We must empower people to develop their skills, confidence and talents, enabling them to seize opportunities and ultimately transforming lives and driving prosperity.”

Gary emphasised the crucial role of partnerships in equipping people with the skills employers seek.

He explained: “Skills are on everyone’s agenda – from the government to employers locally. They are the key to unlocking economic prosperity for Tees Valley but can also be a barrier if not addressed.

“Middlesbrough College Group is the largest provider of further education in the area. Everything we do changes someone’s life for the better. The chance to impact so many lives is what truly excites me about this role and my contribution to the future of the Tees Valley.”

Gary has first-hand experience of the importance of skills training. After leaving school, he embarked on a five-year tool-making apprenticeship in Newton Aycliffe.

Gary specialised in design engineering, where he honed his skills in designing press tooling and programming machinery. He was then an operations manager in the advanced manufacturing sector, gaining valuable experience in production control and inventory management.

This well-rounded background ultimately led Gary to Darlington College, where he began his further education career.

Zoe Lewis, Principal and CEO of Middlesbrough College Group, is thrilled to have Gary on board.

She said: “We are delighted to welcome Gary Potts to the Middlesbrough College Group’s senior leadership team. Candidates with his extensive experience, background and calibre are very hard to find.

“We are confident that his leadership will be instrumental in propelling Middlesbrough College to even greater heights as we continue to empower our students and fuel economic growth.”

A resident of the Tees Valley for the past 25 years, Gary brings a deep understanding of the region’s needs and aspirations. His passion is further fuelled by the College’s reach – serving over 15,000 students and boasting a significant apprenticeship program with 2,200 participants.

Gary said: “I’m so excited about coming into such a key role and to be able to really make a difference.  I am passionate about Tees Valley, and I am excited to join the College where, in partnership with employers and stakeholders, we can positively impact our communities through providing the skills to enable high-quality sustainable careers locally.”