Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Improving outcomes – and not just for students

As the Principal of a college which spans four distinct campuses, stretching across a large portion of Kent's coastline, improving the outcomes for our thousands of learners is our business.

But in order to do that, and to really ensure the College's students get the highest quality education I need each and every staff member to also be working hard. We recently celebrated our annual Star Awards, which showcases the diligence of our staff, highlighting individuals who have consistently gone above and beyond in order to better our students. It is what we all do, consistently, because it is what we are all passionate about. So it really hurts me to see that recent statements from the University and College Union (UCU) are branding college leaders like myself, as people who have failed to back their staff, or lobby to ensure the best outcomes for them.

Our staff are our stars
So let me tell you a quick tale about a job interview I recently held. When the candidate asked me what scope there was to develop their career, I was proud to have an answer which promoted my personal and professional belief that staff - or human capital in business-speak - are our greatest resource. ‎Telling that interviewee – who eventually became a member of staff with us – that we would back him, and invest in his development sums up what East Kent College, and many other colleges across the country are all about. Namely improving people, whether they be staff, or student.

After all, it is the collective staff passion which creates the environment that enables our students to succeed, and while I have a guiding hand on the tiller, it wouldn't be possible without their hard work and dedication. In return, I dedicate myself to ensuring our staff have the best possible outcomes, whether that is through workplace training opportunities or being a considerate and flexible employer.

Now, with all that I have said so far allow me repeat a point which is key; my personal belief is that our staff are our greatest asset.

I'm committed to always fighting for the best possible outcome for the College's staff members
With that in mind, understand that I will always fight for the best possible outcome for staff, and will lobby and work tirelessly to ensure they are well looked after. The dedication I give to their cause is matched by the dedication they give to our learners.

So perhaps before other off-the-cuff statements about college leaders being unwilling to fight for their staff are made, those who make the comments should visit colleges up and down the land, meeting with principals like myself, staff members who are joining, and those who have been part of our colleges for some time. We are, after all, all on the same side and with the same fundamental goal; to get the best possible outcome for FE, for our students, for our communities and for our staff. I hope that everyone keeps that in mind.


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