Newly appointed Chair highlights bright outlook for the region

November 15, 2022

The new Chair of the NESCol Regional Board has outlined the role the College will play in ensuring a prosperous future for the North East.

Susan Elston has been selected for the key post following a rigorous recruitment process conducted by the Scottish Government. The new Chair succeeds Ken Milroy, who retired earlier this year.

Ms Elston has been a member of the Regional Board since 2018 and brings a wealth of experience to the position.

She held several senior leadership positions over the course of a 30-year career in industry, latterly as Senior Vice president Energy and Resources at Sodexo, and is a former Institute of Directors Female Director of the Year. Her past board roles include serving as Chair of Aberdeen foyer and as a member of the Oil and Gas UK Board.

The Regional Board Chair said: “There are of course great challenges in the College sector, in the wider economy and socially. It is important when we consider those challenges we focus on the opportunities we have at NESCol and ensure that we are at the centre of positive change in the region.

“Meeting the needs of young people and driving progress in lifelong learning are fundamental to the future of the North East and NESCol is committed to playing that important role.

“As an institution we have to be engaged with the national agenda, for example in tackling child poverty, and to use that as the foundation for our own regional aspirations. Our ambition is to be the best and there is work to be done to understand how that is defined and realised.

“My remit as Chair and that of the board members more widely is to support the Executive Team – but also to provide challenge and scrutiny. Board members use their experience to fulfil those vital duties and we are very fortunate to have diversity in experience, sector knowledge and also in thinking. That will stand us in very good stead.”

In addition to leading the NESCol Regional Board, Ms Elston will provide an influential voice for the North East on the national stage and plans to champion the pioneering work being done by the College and its partners.

She added:  “Every College has a different part to play, depending on the landscape in which it operates and the outlook in the area it serves. In this region there is a wide ranging remit, for example in care and hospitality, running in parallel to the specific requirements of energy transition.

“Without knowing exactly what the future will look like, the world will be very different in the next five to 10 years and the needs of industry will have moved on considerably. Our vision is for NESCol to be at the leading edge of that evolution, not waiting to be asked or told what is required but to be actively shaping the learning and training that will create an agile and adaptable workforce.”

Further information on the appointment can be found here.