That’s the message from Andrew Green, the new chief executive at Chichester College Group, as he takes his place as the leader of one of the largest college groups in the country.
The 52-year-old has worked in further education for nearly half of his life, starting as a student teacher in 1996 – a role which saw him ‘fall in love’ with the sector and the life changing opportunities that it provides.
He joined Chichester College, as it was then, in 2010 as deputy principal and then, latterly, became executive principal and deputy chief executive following mergers with Crawley College (in 2017) and Worthing College (in 2019), which led to the creation of the Chichester College Group in 2017.
He said: “I’ve been part of the group for 11 years. I know Chichester College Group very well and I’m honoured and privileged to be taking on the mantle of chief executive.
“Chichester College Group is Outstanding. We were rated Outstanding by Ofsted in 2014 and again in 2020, so in that respect I am planning more of the same – we’ll be delivering outstanding experiences for our students.
“I call students our customers, and any successful business puts its customers right at the heart of everything they do. We do that here and I’ll continue that ethos and that culture of delivering outstanding teaching & learning, outstanding support and outstanding experience.
“But I think there is still more to do, particularly around innovation and entrepreneurship.
“My whole educational ethos is built around developing the confidence, self-esteem and skills of young people, apprentices and adults. It’s about providing opportunities for them to grow as individuals and to become awesome human beings.
“It’s all about providing opportunities to volunteer, join a club, get involved with social action, work experience, trips – we do a lot of this already, but I want it to develop further. It’s those extras that make a difference.
“I love to see how the experiences we deliver can be life changing – seeing a nervous student come in on their first day, watching them develop into a confident, skilled person ready to go out to get their dream job or dream university place.
“That’s my job – to make sure our students and our graduates are the most sought after, either in the workplace or at university. That’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
As someone who has worked his way up through education, Andrew acknowledges the role his teams across all five Chichester College Group colleges will continue to play in the future success of the group.
He added: “Chichester College Group is a people business. We deal in people and people’s education, delivering life changing opportunities.
“The most important asset of this organisation is the staff. The reason we’re outstanding is the staff – so whether they are business support staff, teaching staff or student support staff, they all deliver outstanding service, support or teaching and learning on a daily basis.
“I like the phrase ‘happy staff, happy customer’ – if our staff are happy, then our customers will be too. That’s why we invest so much in our staff and why we’ll continue to develop our teams.”
And as Andrew takes the helm at Chichester College Group, he also paid tribute to the group’s former chief executive – Shelagh Legrave CBE, who has been appointed FE Commissioner.
Andrew said: “I have been Shelagh’s deputy for 11 years and she’s been an absolute inspiration, not only for the work she has done here at the college group but also for her work in the community and across the FE sector.
“She has done a tremendous job and it has been an honour to work with her.
“We’re extremely sorry to see her go, but we know she’s going to do a magnificent job as FE Commissioner.”
Chichester College Group covers five main sites; Brinsbury College, Chichester College, Crawley College, Worthing College and Haywards Heath College, which opened in September 2020.