Board of Governors and Executive Team

Board of Governors and Executive Team

Governor and Executive Team biographies

The Board of Governors is the governing body of Greater Brighton Metropolitan College. It is responsible for setting the College's mission and strategy and ensuring that its resources are used efficiently and effectively.

The Board consists of external governors, a staff governor, student governors and the Interim CEO. External governors bring a range of experience and knowledge from the business, public and voluntary sectors as well as local schools and community groups. The full Board of Governors meets four times a year in October, December, March and July. In addition to this there are four committees that meet regularly throughout the year, these are Audit & Risk, Teaching & Learning, Finance and HR & Remuneration.

Our governors uphold the highest standards of conduct, in accordance with the Nolan Principles of Public Life. In the spirit of our commitment to openness and accountability, the minutes of Board and committee meetings are available here

Agendas and supporting papers (within confidentiality rulings) can also be made available during office hours to any person wishing to review them. Please contact the Governance Officer, at clerk@gbmc.ac.uk for further information. 

Our Governors

Sue Berelowitz, Chair

Sue is passionate about supporting children and young people to achieve their potential. Growing up in apartheid South Africa profoundly affected her outlook and led to her lifelong commitment to justice, equality and fairness. Sue is Chair of Freedom from Torture, a national charity dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of victims of torture and is on the Steering Committee of the Sussex University Social Science Research Impact Acceleration Fund.

Sue has held leadership positions in children’s services and children’s human rights and was Deputy Children’s Commissioner and Chief Executive of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for 8 years. She is an expert in child safeguarding and chaired the first national inquiry into child sexual exploitation which provided incontrovertible evidence of the scale and scope of this form of child sexual abuse. Sue has sat on numerous government advisory boards and national strategic groups on child abuse and exploitation, youth justice and young people’s mental health including holding ministerial appointments to a large number of bodies such as the Family Justice Council and the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody. Sue chaired the children’s component of the UK National Preventive Mechanism for the Prevention of Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.

Sue is thrilled at being appointed Chair of Greater Brighton Metropolitan College because the College is the route to opportunity and a bright future for so many young people in Sussex.

Sue Berelowitz, Chair

Steve Bassam (The Rt Hon the Lord Bassam of Brighton), Vice Chair

Steve Bassam entered the House of Lords in 1997 and was a member of the last Labour Government as a Lords Whip, a Minister at the Home Office and Government Chief Whip. During his time in Government he was a Government Spokesperson for numerous Departments including the Cabinet Office, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Departments of the Lord Chancellor; Law Officers; Culture, Media & Sport; Work & Pensions and Communities & Local Government.

Steve served as the Opposition Chief Whip in the House of Lords and a member of the Shadow Cabinet between 2010 and 2018, during which time he also sat on several House of Lords Committees including the Privileges and Conduct Committee and the Procedure Committee. He recently chaired a House of Lords Select Committee investigating the Regeneration of Seaside Towns. Its final report was widely welcomed as an important contribution to economic regeneration policy development. In April 2019 Steve was appointed a Shadow Minister for Education with special responsibility for Further and Higher Education. In April 2020 he was appointed Shadow Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy & International Trade in addition to his Education responsibilities.

Steve was Leader of Brighton and then Brighton and Hove City Council from 1986/7 to 1999. In addition to his political career he has worked as a social worker and legal adviser for local authorities and in management consultancy for KPMG and Capita.

Steve is a keen cricketer and supporter of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. He also supports the Brighton Festival and is a Trustee of the Brighton Royal Pavilion.

Steve Bassam (The Rt Hon the Lord Bassam of Brighton), Vice Chair

Andy Cole, CEO

Andy is an experienced Chief Executive with a successful track record working in the further education and skills sector. He joins the college having overseen a significant whole-college recovery at Gateshead College, which has placed it on a sound financial and operational footing and able to continue to meet the needs of its local communities.

Prior to this, Andy led Kensington & Chelsea College through a difficult phase of its history, securing a major financial investment programme into its campuses and a successful merger with Morley College London.

For many years Andy supported a career as a practising fine artist by teaching part-time in a number of colleges (including a short stint at Northbrook College’s old Union Place site) and organising exhibitions of up and coming artists such as future Turner Prize winner Martin Creed, before joining Thurrock College in Essex in 1991 as a full-time lecturer.

Andy held senior posts in various colleges in London, before taking up his first Principal/CEO role at the College of North West London, where he oversaw a significant upturn in the outcomes for students and apprentices, as well as bringing financial stability to the organisation. During his tenure, the college worked closely with local authorities to inform their skills strategies and co-design provision, notably being commissioned to run the Kings Cross Construction Skills Centre for Camden council following the collapse of Carillion, and also working with Skills and Employment colleagues at the Greater London Authority to help establish the Mayor of London’s construction academy network.

Andy is looking forward to working with key stakeholders to ensure a secure and purposeful future for skills and training provision across Worthing, Shoreham and Brighton.

Andy Cole, CEO

Paul Lansdowne, Staff Governor

Paul is a Staff Governor, working within the Construction and Engineering curriculum area where he teaches Electrical Installation to Levels 1, 2 and 3 across full and part-time students, including apprentices. Paul started his career as an Electrical Installation apprentice and established his own successful business later in life, before returning to academia as a mature student when he studied Electronic Engineering to HND level at City College Brighton & Hove (now GB MET) in conjunction with Brighton University.

Since joining GB MET as a lecturer, Paul has completed the Certificate In Education and seeks opportunities to maintain his own Continuing Professional Development. Paul enjoys his daily contact with students and implements innovative teaching methods to support his students as well supporting colleagues to deliver to the best of their ability. Having recently experienced life as a student at the college, Paul is well placed to understand the needs of students and places their success at the heart of everything that he does.

Paul Lansdowne, Staff Governor

Robert McCloskey, FE Student Governor

Robert is on his second year of the Level 3 Performance and Production In Acting course. As student governor he is constantly learning and developing in his work with the board. Robert applied for the position in order to represent the voice of all students in the college at board level, and he is constantly attempting to achieve the best outcome for all students and the GB MET population. In addition, Robert is also a member of the Student Executive Group who work together to address criticisms, concerns, and suggestions raised in student rep meetings.

His interests include reading and writing, and the subjects of philosophy, as well as science and psychology. Robert’s main interest though is acting, and being able to perform and embody characters on stage or on screen.

Robert McCloskey, FE Student Governor

Phil Frier, Governor

Phil Frier spent the first 20 years of his career in teaching, pastoral and management posts in colleges in Sussex and Hampshire before taking up Principal and Chief Executive posts in Sixth Form and FE Colleges in Eastbourne, Brighton and Kent over the following 20 years.

Until last year he was an FE Adviser for five years working with the FE Commissioner team at  the DfE.

He is currently Chair of Rockinghorse the official charity of the Royal Alex’s Children’s Hospital in Brighton and also a Trustee of 'Albion in The Community’, the Brighton and Hove Albion charity arm.

Phil Frier, Governor

Sean Jacob, Governor

Sean has more than 25 years of commercial leadership experience after an early career in the Royal Air Force, where he trained as a fast jet pilot, before roles supporting the implementation of a new air defence radar system and a final tour with joint intelligence forces in Berlin.

Sean has built his commercial experience across multiple industries. As COO Sean grew a niche IT services company substantially, taking it into the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list, prior to its acquisition by Compaq. More recently, as a management consultant, Sean has delivered operational transformation programmes for both large and small organisations globally; his clients have included O2, Unilever, The World Bank and the AA Group.

Sean's last consultancy role was with L3 Commercial Aviation in Crawley, where, as interim Vice President, Operations, he was responsible for the move of their full flight simulator build and training facilities to the new London Training Centre and also led a number of significant change programmes across their international commercial training operations.

In March 2020 Sean became co-owner and CEO of FTA-Global, a commercial flying training school based at Brighton City Airport.

Sean is married, with three children, two still at university.

Sean Jacob, Governor

Anne Ackord, Governor and Chair of HR and Remuneration Committee

Anne Ackord is the Chief Executive Officer of the Brighton Pier Group PLC. The Group owns and operates Brighton’s Palace Pier and many other leisure industry businesses, including nightclubs and golf courses. Originally a college lecturer with degrees in Politics and Sociology, Anne has over 30 years of experience in the field of leisure. She chairs the local Tourism Alliance, a group of over 90 local businesses, and is passionate about education and training in all fields.

Anne Ackord, Governor and Chair of HR and Remuneration Committee

Frances Duncan, Governor

Frances has worked in the not-for-profit, private and statutory sectors working as CEO, director, project developer, governor and volunteer. She has focussed much of her career and life on furthering inclusion and supporting vulnerable people and communities. 

She is CEO of The Clock Tower Sanctuary (CTS), the only day centre in Brighton & Hove that provides a central, safe space for young people who are homeless or insecurely housed. 

Frances Duncan, Governor

Mark Crowter, Governor and Chair of Audit & Risk Committee

Mark is a chartered accountant, statutory auditor and a Partner at Galloways Accounting. Galloways have a presence across Sussex and their head office is in Brighton. 

Mark has worked as a business partner and adviser to businesses, FE colleges and Sixth Form colleges for more than a decade. Much of this work has involved supporting large organisations through periods of dramatic change, and in this context, Mark has built an experience of managing risk in challenging commercial environments.

Mark has first-hand experience of the need for high-quality skills, education and training provision and the impact on GB MET's ability to attract and retain the best employers.

Mark Crowter, Governor and Chair of Audit & Risk Committee

Duncan Adams, Governor

Duncan has a long history in further education and has been on the senior leadership team of three different education groups leading on marketing and public relations, student recruitment, school partnerships, commercial developments and stakeholder relations. He has also led on large scale transformation programmes and has a passion for digital innovation and how this can engage students and the wider community.

More recently Duncan was the Director of Communications and Governance at the national charity Victim Support where he led on national digital projects as well as running the governance operation of this leading charity. He is also a trustee of St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Eastbourne and sits on their Income Generation Committee.

Duncan currently works with public sector bodies and charities to look at how they can transform their operations and enhance their digital strategies. He lives in East Sussex with his partner and is passionate about equality and diversity as well as supporting disadvantaged young people.

Duncan Adams, Governor

Tosin Adebisi, Governor

Tosin is an edupreneur, trainer, coach, and culture catalyst. He works as Senior International Lead at the University of Sussex where he is responsible for strategy development, stakeholder engagement, partnerships and strategy development.  

He has over 10 years experience in higher education advancing internationalisation, learning and development, employee engagement and student experience. He was a recipient of 'The Education Awards' (Sussex Spirit Award) in 2020.

Tosin believes that institutions can do more to help every student achieve their full potential. He is the founder of The Student Coach which works with institutions to close the academic and success gaps for students from underrepresented groups.

Tosin Adebisi, Governor

Kirstin Baker, Governor

Kirstin had a long career in the civil service and was most recently HM Treasury’s Finance and Commercial Director. Earlier in her career Kirstin was part of the senior team leading the Treasury’s response to the banking crisis and was awarded a CBE for this work. 

Kirstin has also worked as a competition official in the European Commission, as an EU policy adviser in the Cabinet Office and as a senior civil servant in the Scottish Government, leading work on infrastructure investment banks.

Kirstin is currently an Inquiry Chair at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and a Non-Executive Director at the CMA, the Pensions Regulator and University Hospitals Sussex.  She is also a Council member at the University of Sussex and a governor at a Brighton primary school.

Kirstin Baker, Governor

Allyshia Vallier, HE Student Governor

Allyshia Vallier is our higher education student governor. We will have more information about Allyshia coming soon. 

Allyshia Vallier, HE Student Governor

David Russell, Governor and Chair of Teaching and Learning Committee

David joined the Education and Training Foundation as CEO in January 2014. He has grown the Foundation from a fledgling organisation to one delivering effective support programmes for leaders, teachers and others across the education and training system. David has a wide range of policy and programme management experience on national education and skills policy in England, including the Academies Programme and the Adult Skills Strategy. Until 2013 David was Director of ‘Closing the Gap’ in the Department for Education, responsible for FE and Vocational Education Reform, Apprenticeships 16-18, and a range of schools policies including the Pupil Premium and pupil behaviour. Prior to joining the civil service David was a teacher.

 

 

 

David Russell, Governor and Chair of Teaching and Learning Committee

Martin Colyer FCA, Vice-Chair and Chair of Finance Committee

Martin currently provides financial consultancy services in the renewable energy, fintech and pharmaceutical sectors. In the charitable sector Martin acts as Audit Chair for a leading prep school and an art therapy teacher training organisation in addition Chairs a local charity providing supported accommodation.

Martin qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1973 with KPMG London. After 25 years working in senior finance positions with US multinationals in the financial services and technology sectors he joined a private equity funded technology start-up in the mortgage sector. Martin acted as both CFO, COO and finally CEO taking the business through to a market leading position and a successful exit to private equity in 2012. 

Martin lives in Sussex and is married with two children. His interests include skiing, golf, gardening and music.

Martin Colyer FCA, Vice-Chair and Chair of Finance Committee

Kathleen Downes, Co-opted Audit Committee Member

Kathleen is a qualified Chartered Internal Auditor, with 25 years' experience working in the profession. Moving between local government, education and the NHS around Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire she has worked alongside political change and ever decreasing finances to deliver high quality services through a mix of in-house provision, shared services/consortia and also outsourced contracts.

Kathleen has worked for Brighton & Hove City Council since 2003 and during this time has also studied as an adult learner at the College, completing an NVQ in reflexology and a short course in creative writing.

Kathleen Downes, Co-opted Audit Committee Member

Chris Bennett, Co-opted Audit Committee Member

Chris is a Chartered Accountant with over 12 years Accounting and Finance experience in the U.K. and U.S. within the Financial Services, IT and Aviation sectors working for Mazars LLP, American Express Inc. and Equiniti plc.

He has held a variety of roles including Internal and External audit, Financial Planning & Analysis, Commercial Finance Business Partnering, Finance Transformation and is currently the Finance Director for the Airline and Academy training division of L3Harris Technologies Inc.

Chris Bennett, Co-opted Audit Committee Member

Executive Team

Andy Cole, CEO

Andy is an experienced Chief Executive with a successful track record working in the further education and skills sector. He joins the college having overseen a significant whole-college recovery at Gateshead College, which has placed it on a sound financial and operational footing and able to continue to meet the needs of its local communities.

Prior to this, Andy led Kensington & Chelsea College through a difficult phase of its history, securing a major financial investment programme into its campuses and a successful merger with Morley College London.

For many years Andy supported a career as a practising fine artist by teaching part-time in a number of colleges (including a short stint at Northbrook College’s old Union Place site) and organising exhibitions of up and coming artists such as future Turner Prize winner Martin Creed, before joining Thurrock College in Essex in 1991 as a full-time lecturer.

Andy held senior posts in various colleges in London, before taking up his first Principal/CEO role at the College of North West London, where he oversaw a significant upturn in the outcomes for students and apprentices, as well as bringing financial stability to the organisation. During his tenure, the college worked closely with local authorities to inform their skills strategies and co-design provision, notably being commissioned to run the Kings Cross Construction Skills Centre for Camden council following the collapse of Carillion, and also working with Skills and Employment colleagues at the Greater London Authority to help establish the Mayor of London’s construction academy network.

Andy is looking forward to working with key stakeholders to ensure a secure and purposeful future for skills and training provision across Worthing, Shoreham and Brighton.

Andy Cole, CEO

Helena Thomas, Principal

Helena started her career in education volunteering at her children’s junior school. This led to her first role within an FE college, working as a Learning Support Assistant in the late 90s. Since then, she has progressed into teaching and then onto various leadership and management roles in both academic and support departments at Highbury College and Fareham College, including 11 years at Northbrook College.

Under Helena’s leadership and her collaborative working practices, her teams have achieved outstanding grades within Ofsted and good outcomes within QAA. Through her head of department roles, Helena also has a track record of supporting teams through times of strategic and operational challenge. In her most recent post as Assistant Principal at the MET, she played a significant part in the College achieving the TEF Silver for HE, amongst many other external quality measures. In her current role as Principal, Helena is responsible for leading curriculum and quality, as well as specific management of the College’s provision for English and maths.

Helena Thomas, Principal

Jon Rollings, Chief Operating Officer

Jon Rollings is the Chief Operating Officer of Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, and was previously COO of City College Brighton and Hove. Prior to this, Jon spent nine years as Director of Finance and Corporate Services at Northbrook College, responsible for leading the finance function, all other support services, and a successful property re-development strategy.

Before entering the Further Education Sector, Jon spent a number of years working for Southern Water.  After joining as a trainee accountant, he held a range of roles, covering all aspects of Finance, as well as risk management, compliance and projects in IT and HR, finally progressing to Group Financial Controller.


Jon Rollings, Chief Operating Officer