Reflections: Gary Headland – A year of rewards

This year has been characterised by hugely rewarding developments in both my personal and professional life. 2015 heralded the birth of my second child, William and saw Lincoln College Group embark on a journey of transformation that will further enhance the education we offer to thousands of students at home and abroad.

My wife, Julia, and I were blessed by the birth of our second son, William in February. A gap of 12 years between the birth of our first son, Charles, meant that we had to re-learn what life is like with a young baby in the house.

Charlie and William.

Charlie and William.

At the ripe old age of 46, those middle-of-the-night feeds and nappy changes hurt a little more than they did 12 years ago but equally I am much more patient now and can honestly say that it has been a wonderfully fulfilling 10 months watching William develop. I’m rather proud of the two additions to my face in the form of bags under my eyes that have developed alongside him!

At work, the pace of change has been exhilarating and the extent of change has been more extensive than anything I have experienced before in my 29 years of professional working life, some highlights include:

Lincoln, Gainsborough and Newark Colleges

During 2015, we have innovated and implemented a new transformation capability that has enabled us to re-think and re-shape our colleges with close involvement of staff from across the organisation at every level. We are very clear about our mission which is to be employer-led producing a highly skilled and productive local workforce. Implicit within this mission is to provide outstanding teaching and learning and to provide the best possible experience and outcomes for our learners.


Both academies are working exceptionally hard to raise the aspirations of their learners and improve their outcomes and prospects. A particular highlight for us is that the Newark Academy moved into a brand new £20 million school building in December.

Lincoln University Technical College (UTC)

Alongside Siemens and the University of Lincoln, we have sponsored the Lincoln UTC during the past year and I have been Chair of the Board. The highlight of the year was moving into the UTC’s new permanent location, Greestone House, and hearing the students tell Lord Baker about their excellent learning experience.


I am actually writing this article in a hotel room in Riyadh as during the past year, we have successfully opened a new vocational education business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). We have also commenced a second operation in the Republic of China. We have around 3,000 full-time students overseas already.

2015 has been an extraordinary year both at work and at home. I am blessed and proud to have a strong and loving family. I am also very fortunate to work with terrific people and to have a job that makes people’s lives better through education and skills, creating opportunities for local businesses and local people.

2016 already looks full of promise with a wide range of potential growth opportunities both in the UK and overseas in line with our strategy and vision for the future of the Lincoln College Group.

My New Year’s Resolution

My New Year’s resolution is to improve communication both externally and internally across the Group.

Gary Headland MA MBA Chartered FCIPD MIoD
A former Royal Air Force officer, civilian police director and private sector director, Gary Headland is the CEO of the Lincoln College Group which comprises colleges in Lincolnshire and Newark, academies in Gainsborough and Newark, colleges in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and China and a range of UK commercial subsidiary companies. Related roles include: Chair of the Lincoln University Technical College; Chair of the Federation of Greater Lincolnshire Colleges (the 10 further education institutions across Greater Lincolnshire); Member of the ‘Leadership in Lincolnshire’ Group; Patron of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce; Member of Court of Bishop Grosseteste University; Member of the RAF College Cranwell Independent Advisory Panel; and Member of the Association of College International Portfolio Group.