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Gower College Swansea CEO Mark Jones Receives MBE in King’s Birthday Honours

Gower College Swansea(@GowerCollegeSwa) is proud to announce that its Chief Executive Officer, Mark Jones, has been recognised with an MBE for services to education in the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours list. This prestigious honour highlights Mark’s exceptional contributions as an education leader in both Wales and across the UK.

With a career spanning over 19 years as a Principal and Chief Executive, Mark stands as one of the longest-serving College Chief Executives in the UK. His dedication to enhancing the lives of others through the power of education has left a profound impact on countless students and the broader educational landscape.

Since joining Gower College Swansea as Principal in 2013, Mark has successfully increased and diversified the institution’s income from £36 million to an estimated £60 million next year. This financial growth has enabled significant reinvestment into new teaching blocks and student facilities across three campuses, leading to impressive academic results and a rise in student enrolment.

Under Mark’s leadership, Gower College Swansea boasts the highest rate of students progressing to Oxbridge institutions in Wales, with around 10 learners achieving this milestone annually. Furthermore, he has overseen a remarkable expansion in apprenticeship provisions, growing from 500 apprentices in 2016 to 3,500 this year, benefiting both learners and employers.

Mark’s tenure has not been without challenges. In 2016, he adeptly guided the College through the aftermath of a significant fire that affected the main teaching building at Tycoch Campus for a year. His exceptional crisis management ensured that education continued with minimal disruption, as lecturers were supported to teach in temporary accommodation using resources from other institutions.

In addition to his role at Gower College Swansea, Mark is a past chair of Colleges Wales and since stepping down has chaired its Finance Directors group for the past five years and is actively involved in numerous stakeholder and policy groups with Welsh Government and other key stakeholders.

As a board member of the South West Wales Regional Learning and Skills Partnership, Mark has chaired several sub-committees over the past eight years. He currently chairs the Provider Group, shaping skills activities associated with the Swansea Bay City Deal.

Mark’s commitment to education has also extended outside of Wales as a past vice chair of the Collab Group, a group of some of the largest and influential colleges across the UK. Mark is also a former member of the advisory board of the International Education Group of Beijing Foreign Students University.

In his role, Mark has also been previously Highly Commended in the Wales Director of the Year Awards and a finalist in the Leading Wales Awards.

Upon receiving his MBE, Mark Jones said:

“This honour is a testament to the collective efforts of the dedicated staff and students at Gower College Swansea. I am deeply humbled and remain committed to driving positive change through education.”

Delighted with the news, Principal Kelly Fountain said:

“We are delighted and extremely proud that Mark’s significant contributions to education and Gower College Swansea have been recognised with an MBE.

“On behalf of everyone at the College, we would like to congratulate him on this remarkable achievement.”

Chair of the Governing Body, Meirion Howells added:

“Mark’s visionary leadership and dedication have transformed Gower College Swansea into a model of educational excellence. We are incredibly proud of his achievements and this well-deserved recognition.”

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