Movers & Shakers: Anne Jenkin, Baroness Jenkin of Kennington, named chancellor of Writtle University College

Julia Smith, chair of the board of governors at Writtle University College, Anne Jenkin The Baroness

Julia Smith, chair of the board of governors at Writtle University College, Anne Jenkin The Baroness of Kennington, chancellor for Writtle University College, and Dr Stephen Waite, vice-chancellor for Writtle University College. - Credit: Archant

Writtle University College has appointed an Essex baroness, Anne Jenkin, as founding chancellor from tomorrow.

The appointment coincides with the Chelmsford-based institution changing its name and updating its corporate branding to Writtle University College, after it was granted taught degree awarding powers and university college status.

The new chancellor was made Baroness Jenkin of Kennington in 2011 for her charity work and her efforts to increase the number of women in parliament.

She is a member of a longstanding Essex farming family based at Hatfield Peverel.

Together with Prime Minister Theresa May, Baroness Jenkin co-founded the campaign group Women2Win and is an active trustee of international agency UNICEF UK, The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), Cool Earth and Feeding Britain and an officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Agroecology Group.

Chair of Writtle’s board of governors Julia Smith said: “Today marks another key milestone in our strategic vision for Writtle and we are delighted that Baroness Jenkin is joining us at this momentous time for our much respected institution. Her knowledge, experience and passion for sustainability and education not only make her the right match for Writtle but these will be great assets in helping us achieve our ambitious purpose of transforming lives and the environment through inspiring education.”

Baroness Jenkin said: “My roots lie deep down in the Essex soil and Writtle’s excellent reputation is something I was brought up with. It is an immense honour to have been invited to be the university college founding chancellor and I am looking forward to supporting Writtle’s aspirations, to make the most of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in this new chapter as a leading specialist university college.”

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Vice-chancellor Dr Stephen Waite said “I am extremely pleased and proud that Baroness Jenkin has accepted our offer to become Chancellor and I am sure colleagues and students would join me in welcoming her to Writtle. There are exciting times ahead as we continue to deliver academic excellence for our students to move onto careers that make a positive impact across the world.

“Baroness Jenkin is a very well-respected and well-connected individual who brings a wealth of experience. I am looking forward to working closely with her during a landmark period in Writtle’s long and proud history.

“I would also take this opportunity to thank our leaving patron Alan Titchmarsh for the great work he has done supporting Writtle over the last 15 years, playing a key role in helping us achieve our aspirations.”

:: Nick Scully has joined East Anglian building materials supplier Kent Blaxill as branch manager at its store in Colchester where the company is headquartered. The appointment of Nick, 38, has enabled previous branch manager Andy McMahon to focus on sales development for the builders’ merchant business with his team of field sales account managers at Colchester and Bury St Edmunds.

Nick’s early experience was gained at Sainsbury, where he earned a Degree in Business Studies & Management, after which he climbed the ranks at B&Q as manager at one of its largest stores.

Nick said: “I am really excited to join Kent Blaxill Colchester and be part of its 178-year heritage. My aim is to make Kent Blaxill the merchant of choice for Colchester and the surrounding area by providing a great level of customer service; I am also aiming to expand our Kitchen and Bathroom area to offer an exciting showroom for the benefit of both our retail and trade customers. The Colchester site is a unique offering with a range of services unrivalled by any other local competitor.”

Ron McConnachie, KB commercial director, said: “I am extremely pleased to welcome Nick. His past experience with blue-chip companies and proven track record of running an operation of similar scale to our Colchester branch is sure to further enhance customer service in all areas.”

“The revised structure is going to be an impressive force indeed.”

Andy McMahon, whose title is now KB head of sales and product – building materials, said: “My role will be to work on increasing turnover by providing a more focused approach to builders’ merchant sales. I will be working with trade customers and suppliers to provide new opportunities for both parties.”

:: Cambridge-based diagnostics firm Owlstone Medical has made three appointments to its senior team.

The appointments follow the company’s recent £4.9m investment to commercialise its disease breathalyser and fund ongoing clinical trials in lung and colon cancer screening.

Chris Hodkinson has been appointed as business development vice president and takes responsibility for managing the company’s business development efforts for cancer products. He joins from Abcodia Ltd, a company developing tests for early detection of cancer, where he was a co-founder, director and chief operating officer. He has more than 15 years working in pharma and biotech companies including GSK and Biowisdom, and brings extensive commercial, technical and regulatory experience.

Dr Marc van der Schee (MD, PhD) joins as lead clinical research scientist to design and oversee all clinical trials where he will be responsible for driving product development through into clinical practice. Marc’s 10 years of experience in the field of volatile biomarker research spans medical, epidemiological, chemical analytical and data-analysis. During his PhD he pioneered the use of exhaled breath analysis in lung cancer, asthma and colorectal cancer amongst others. For this work he received various awards including a Marie Curie Fellowship.

Hamilton Scanlon joins as manufacturing vice president and has more than 30 years’ experience of taking products through the full development life cycle and into full scale production launch.

His manufacturing experience ranges from start-up companies through to public limited companies and he has been responsible for setting up manufacturing facilities in China, Italy and the UK.

Co-founder and chief executive of Owlstone, Billy Boyle, said: “Owlstone Medical was created very specifically to advance our breathalyzer for very early stage diagnosis of disease when it can be treated more effectively for better patient outcomes. We are excited to see the company expanding so soon after being spun-out, and are confident that Chris, Marc and Hamilton will be great assets to the team.”

Dr Mike Cox also joins the firm as program manager responsibility for developing medical grade hardware used in diagnostic tests and supporting regulatory affairs and Jon Charters joins as quality assurance/regulatory affairs manager.

:: Ellisons Solicitors has taken on new staff at its Ipswich branch.

It has hired solicitors Samantha Cass, who joins the employment team, and Jennifer Howard-Dobson, who joins the corporate commercial department.

They are also joined by associate solicitor, Joanne Kelly, who joined the Colchester head office more than a year ago, has recently relocated to the Ipswich branch to expand the commercial property department. Alexandra Chisnall has also recently joined the team as a commercial property paralegal.

New planning specialist Claire Barritt is also based at the Ipswich office and joined the team earlier in the year. Her previous roles including head of corporate services at Ipswich Borough Council. She brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge of the Ipswich and Suffolk property market.

Senior partner Guy Longhurst said: “The Ipswich office has been a huge success since opening in 2014, resulting in us moving to bigger premises earlier this year.

“Our Suffolk client base continues to grow and as such the need for more lawyers was paramount to ensuring our clients receive the excellent client experience they have come to expect. Joanne, Samantha, Claire and Jennifer will no doubt positively impact even further upon the Ipswich office and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for our Suffolk home.”

:: A college and a catering firm have celebrated three years of working together by hosting an apprenticeship graduation ceremony.

a group of 10 staff from the facilities management and catering firm Vertas Group Limited picked up certificates after successfully completing qualifications at the Suffolk campus of Easton and Otley College.

Head of human resources at the Vertas Group, Kate Harrison, and head of work-based learning at the college, Mark Stead, presented the awards.

Mr Stead, said, “In the last three years, 102 catering staff from The Vertas Group have started an apprenticeship with Easton and Otley College.

“The average age of those studying is 44 years of age. We have achieved a 75pc success rate (which is 5pc above the national average) and we look forward to continuing to work with the Vertas Group in the development of the staff in business, catering, horticulture, leadership and management. Everyone should be very proud of their achievements.”

Mrs Harrison, said: “Taking on a qualification whilst working and having a busy personal life takes an amazing amount of dedication. I’d like to thank the college for their support. All in all, we are keen to invest in our staff and we really look forward to building our relationship with the college in the future.”

A special award was handed to 42 year old Ann Jarrett from Woodbridge, who received the Vertas and Easton and Otley apprentice of the year accolade.

“It’s been hard but I stuck at it. I was surprised to win the special apprentice of the year award but chuffed. It’s been challenging and fun and I’ve had a good laugh along the way. I might think about studying more in the future,” she said.

:: The People Solutions Team, an occupational health service provider based in Pakenham, Bury St Edmunds, has welcomed experienced health and safety adviser Kevin Lynch. Kevin has extensive knowledge of health and safety legislation and more than 15 years’ experience over a broad range of industry sectors. The team includes four qualified nurses.