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College governors speak of ‘really rewarding’ role

Gail Bleasby

Telford College’s governors have spoken of the ‘really rewarding’ role they are able to play in helping the organisation to grow and thrive.

February 29th is National Governors’ Awareness Day, which is showcasing the crucial role which governors play in the education system, and recognising their commitment.

Telford College is governed by a corporation made up of experienced professionals with a wide-ranging local, national and international business pedigree.

It is chaired by Gail Bleasby (pictured), who has been a governor since 2017. She is an integration programme manager for life and pensions company ReAssure in Telford, part of Phoenix Group, with a background in project and programme management.

“Our current corporation includes people from the IT sector, financial services, data sciences, as well as those who are interested in teaching,” she says.

“We oversee the workings of the wider college, helping with the strategic vision and providing oversight to stretch and challenge the leadership team.

“The best thing about being a governor at Telford College is seeing how the students are learning, and the exciting strategic projects being undertaken to help grow the college, and the borough.

“Being a governor typically involves about two to three hours of time a month – and it is really rewarding work.

“We are always looking to broaden the range of experience on our governing body, so would welcome the opportunity to talk with anyone who may be interested in joining us to help shape the curriculum, and the future of the college.”

Chris Pallett, from Bespoke Computing in Telford, has been a Telford College governor since 2018, and says he volunteers because it is important to him that he ‘puts back into the local community’.

“It is also an opportunity to develop myself as a person and helps the day job too; being exposed to a larger business with strict rules around governance allows me to provide better and more robust advice to my clients.”

The college is constantly on the lookout for new potential governors who could bring fresh expertise to the role. It has broadened the skill set of its corporation in the past few months with four new appointments.

Gill Eatough, Hollie Whittles, Teresa Tanner and Jim Arnold have decades of experience spanning education, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and much more.

Gill – who received an MBE in the New Year Honours list – was the founding chief executive of the Telford-based Learning Community Trust which runs more than a dozen secondary, primary and specialist school sites across the county.

Hollie is a passionate advocate for digital skills and apprenticeships. She is an award-winning TEDx speaker, author and director of two digital companies – Purple Frog Systems and FraggleWorks. She is also the National Policy Skills Champion for the Federation of Small Businesses.

Teresa completed her general nurse training in Shrewsbury in 1983, followed by registered sick children’s nurse training in Manchester. She has worked within Shropshire since 1990, and spent the last 16 years as lead for safeguarding children for The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

Jim launched his career with a business studies BTEC at Telford College and led to senior leadership positions in finance, sales, operations and general management in a USA-owned global manufacturing business.

  • For more details about Telford College’s corporation and its governors, click here. To enquire about governor opportunities, speak to Joanna Perch, governance professional, on 01952 642200, or email