Reflections 2019: Gary Headland – A very strong momentum

2019 has been an extraordinary year for the Lincoln College Group: After five challenging years the business model of the Lincoln College Group is reaching maturity and we have very strong momentum.

The whole organisation has gone from strength-to-strength, improving the quality of our provision as well as the relevance of the education that we provide to our communities.

I’d like to pay strong tribute to my team. During the past 34 years of my professional working life I’ve been privileged to work with some tremendous teams. My current team counts among the very finest I have worked with; together we are achieving some extraordinary things and I am immensely proud of them.

After five challenging years the business model of the Lincoln College Group is reaching maturity and we have very strong momentum.

Our further and higher education colleges in Lincoln, Gainsborough and Newark have improved again the quality of education provision while also opening a range of new programs increasing the relevance of our provision locally. These new programmes include a Care College, a Policing College and a Construction College in Lincoln. There are two really important characteristics of these new programmes, which we refer to collectively as ‘supra’ study programmes:

  • First, and foremost, is the exceptionally strong engagement by employers. The curriculum, wider enrichment activities and learning environment, are co-designed with employers to ensure they are highly relevant. Employers also play an active part in delivery with visits to their businesses, inspirational talks, work placement, etc.
  • Second, is the investment not only in the provision of high quality education but with matched funding by us to invest heavily in immersing the young women and men in the sector into which they wish to work, ensuring that they are highly inspired and with the right mindset for their chosen career; we call this the employability ‘wrapper’. As you would expect, the range and type of activities varies significantly from programme to programme. As an example, in addition to completing their core study programme (eg, engineering plus English and maths as appropriate) the A&DC students will complete mandatory physical fitness training twice per week, a week of adventurous training at RAF Crickhowell in South Wales, the National Citizenship Scheme, the Industrial Cadet Scheme plus immersion visits to RAF main operating bases, training bases and a wide range of visit to defence industry companies.

Our student numbers for 16 to 18-year-olds have grown for the first time in years and this not only improves our financial health, but also ensures a really vibrant college campus; frankly there is an amazing buzz across our UK college campuses.

At a personal level, outside of my career in the RAF, this is the longest I’ve ever been in any job and if I’m honest that has created some unusual feelings for me but I am very clear that through further and higher education locally we can help people and businesses to achieve extraordinary things and that is incredibly motivating. I am also heavily involved in many activities in our region that enable me to work with other businesses, including the LEP, Chamber of Commerce and the IOD, and that ensures that I am very busy and also exceptionally happy in my working life.

My New Year’s resolution for 2020 is to take a little more care of myself, to get myself back into shape so that I can lead the organisation effectively. There is a message here for all of us who lead and that is to make sure that we look after ourselves as well as the people who we lead: both are important!

Merry Christmas to you all and I wish you a healthy happy and productive 2020.

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