Bury St Edmunds: Scores applying for senior posts at West Suffolk College

Dr Ann Williams

Dr Ann Williams - Credit: Archant

TWO senior roles at the West Suffolk College have attracted a total of 46 applicants which has left governors “delighted”.

Dr Ann Williams, the current principal at the campus in Bury St Edmunds, is retiring in September after 32 years at the college, the last 10 as principal. Phil Thirkettle, vice-principal (curriculum and quality), is also retiring after 27 years at the complex.

A shortlist of candidates is due to be drawn up this week after 11 people applied for the senior position and a further 35 for vice-principal.

They have come from all over the country and as far afield as Scotland and the West Country and Richard Carter, chairman of governors at the college, said he was impressed with the quality of the candidates.

“We have been delighted by the response after advertising the posts nationally and the quality of applicants is very good and I’m very pleased,” he said.


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Interviews for the principal are due to take place on March 20 and 21 with a recommendation going towards the board of governors on March 22 when it is hoped an appointment will be made.

The successful person will then be involved in appointing the vice- principal who is expected to be chosen by the middle of April.

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Mr Carter said: “Clearly people have seen that West Suffolk College is a place that they would like to come and work as it is such a good college with a great reputation. We are delighted that so many people have responsed to the vacancies and that we have had such a strong response.”

During Dr Williams’ tenure she has developed the college so that it is now the largest establishment in Suffolk delivering further and higher education, with a large programme of apprenticeship training and provision specifically tailored to meet the needs of local employers.

Other developments include the construction of several new buildings, the modernisation of buildings which date back to the 1960s and the extension of the college campus to include The Milburn Centre, in Anglian Lane. In 2012 Dr Williams was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours when she was awarded the OBE for services to further education.

Meanwhile, scaffolding on the new £7.5million further education building is due to be taken down in the next fortnight and the large crane dismantled.

Mr Carter added: “This building is a new landmark, not just for the college but for the town.

“I believe it puts the college on a footing with the cathedral or the borough offices – the key institutions of the town.

“It makes a huge statement about the college, and I think that is something very special.”

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