Dr Jen Vanderhoven

The Education Training Collective (Etc.) has appointed four new industry leaders to its governing board in a move to help continue to drive the college group forward and inspire upcoming talent.

With an eye to the future, the formidable four come from a diverse range of specialist sectors, including a leading global biotech expert.

Biochemist and director of the National Horizons Centre, Dr Jen Vanderhoven, will join the board along with One Awards’ managing director Fabienne Bailey, operations director at PD Ports, Rachel Beeken, and retired operations manager, chemical engineer and industry consultant, Mark Wilson.

All respected in their fields, each shares a passion to help motivate and inspire young people and adult learners of the Tees Valley.

Dr Jen Vanderhoven, said: “For me, it’s about raising the aspirations of the future workforce. And, I want to show that the North-east is a great place to be and that you don’t have to leave the area to get an amazing job.”

Former vice president of global business change at Billingham-based FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, Jen’s career in bioscience has seen her at the forefront of global collaboration bringing together industry, academia and policy makers to drive innovation, research and ultimately develop treatments and life-saving medicines.

She said: “I have worked with so many inspirational people in my career and that has opened up opportunities to me. Now I am passionate about giving something back and encouraging others to be the best they can be.”

This is a sentiment shared by Fabienne Bailey. With more than 20 years working in the education, training and skills sector, for her there is no greater feeling than helping others to achieve their personal goals.

Whether that means helping the unemployed develop the skills they need to get back into work or seeing adult learners fulfil their lifelong ambition of going to university, throughout her career she has had the privilege of regularly witnessing both. Now she is looking forward to bringing that experience to the colleges that make up the Etc.

Describing herself as a lifelong learner, Fabienne said: “I feel I have skills to give and I am passionate about the Tees Valley. There are some fantastic industries here with good paying jobs, it is about helping people to know where the opportunities are and developing the skillsets to find those jobs.”

Relatively new to the area but no less passionate, PD Ports’ operations director, Rachel Beeken, recognises the opportunities that are out there.

A fast-paced career in logistics, progressing through the ranks, has seen her live and work all over the UK, and for a time in France, but now settled in Darlington she wants to share lessons learned with future talent.

“This is a growing area with investment coming in, particularly at the port. There are so many types of work that young people often don’t know is available, such as logistics. It would be great to show people from all backgrounds, the opportunities that are in this industry for those with the right skillset.”

Completing the quartet is chemical engineer Mark Wilson. Having spent a lengthy senior strategic career working in industry, taking in the likes of Huntsman Tioxide, ENSUS, SABIC and ICI, he describes the Tees Valley as being “on the cusp of an economic revival”.

Valuing people, training and the need for positive role models, his aim as a college governor is to help build further collaboration with employers, equipping people with the skills most needed.

He said: “The Tees Valley has a high percentage of families with multiple generations of unemployment and lacking roles models. I believe it is incumbent on schools, colleges and universities to help fill this void.”

Looking forward to bringing his own energy, time and expertise to the group he added: “The region has been very good to me and my family and I would like to put something back.”

The Education Training Collective incorporates Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and The Skills Academy.

Mark White, chair of the Etc. governors said: “At the Education Training Collective we are proud to have a corporation board comprising outstanding leaders with a rich and diverse skill set. We are delighted to now welcome Jen, Fabienne, Rachel and Mark, fabulous appointments whose unique expertise and knowledge, I am sure, will help drive further success.” 

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