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Staff Profiles

What our new staff have to say about us!

Working here at Warrington & Vale Royal College has been the best working experience I have ever had.”
I feel supported by my managers. Even after just 3 months I feel that I have got to know people, systems and processes.”
The HR team were very responsive and supportive.”
The recruitment process was very clear and open. I felt supported throughout and knew what was expected of me.”
Everybody I had any dealings with were professional, courteous and efficient. It was a seamless process.”

Meet our staff

Andy Atkin Director Apprenticeships

Andy Atkin, Director of Quality - STEM & Apprenticeship Delivery

" I joined the college in 2014 as a lecturer and was promoted to Curriculum Manager in 2016 and then to Director in 2020.

My current job entails providing senior leadership in my Curriculum & Apprenticeship team areas, managing an Assistant Director and a number of Curriculum Managers, developing a career-led curriculum to meet students’ and employers’ needs, working on external projects, meeting with employers, attending meetings and training, mentoring staff, completing quality-led activities, and assisting with recruitment for both students and staff.

I am currently studying for a Masters in Educational Leadership. The programme provides valuable leadership and management training, and development opportunities.

Prior to joining the college, I was a bricklayer and junior site manager for 15 years, working in domestic, housing, and commercial sectors. I completed my PTLLS teaching qualification (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector), and then progressed on to do my Certificate in Education, during which time I volunteered at Accrington and Rossendale College.

I get a great sense of pride from my students and staff achievements. I joined the teaching profession so I could pass on my skills to the future generations. The college provides a good work-life balance, with excellent benefits, which includes a generous annual leave entitlement, competitive salaries, access to a free gym and free on-site parking.

To thrive at the college, you need to deal well with pressure and be very organised. Teaching is all encompassing and demands a degree of flexibility. Staff also need to be able to deal with student behaviour and communicate effectively with all stakeholders.

I love working at the college and aspire to work towards an executive management role."

Ben Brady Assistant Director

Ben Brady, Assistant Director for Curriculum

"Within this diverse role, I line manage Art and Design, Performing Arts, Business and IT courses at the college, whilst also line managing the Curriculum Managers for Games, Media and Photography, Health and Social Care, Foundation Learning, Sports, and Public Services.

My main focus is to ensure a strong and consistent learning experience across college. Within my role I also teach on a range of Art and Design courses, which helps me keep in touch with the daily challenges faced by our teachers and to ensure that actions are put into place to resolve these.

A typical week will see me attending meetings at various levels across college, attending external events to inform strategic planning and development, supporting curriculum managers in 1:1 sessions, meeting with parents and external stakeholders, managing registers, timetabling, monitoring attendance, student progress, retention and achievement, and teaching. Each day is incredibly varied, and it is important to remain responsive to issues as and when they arise.

I studied GCSEs and A Levels, and then completed a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Mid Cheshire College. From there I went on to complete a BA Honours in Fine Art at Liverpool Hope University, followed by a PGCE in Further and Higher Education with Manchester Metropolitan University. To further deepen my knowledge of Fine Art I completed a Post Graduate qualification in Fine Art at the University of Chester.

My background is in lecturing, having worked as an Associate Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Chester, and then an Art and Design Lecturer at Mid Cheshire College.

I love working at the college as each day throws up new challenges. It is incredibly rewarding to see students develop their skills, confidence and knowledge during their time in education, and to witness their positive destinations. There is a strong support network at the college, where we all help each other to achieve a common goal, supporting students to reach their full potential.

Managing teaching, managerial and leadership responsibilities is challenging, and I have to constantly juggle lots of tasks at the same time, often working to tight deadlines.

My ambition is to support the college on its journey to outstanding. I also wish to continue on my own professional journey into senior leadership."

Elaine Gunderson Student Inclusion Manager

Elaine Gundersen, Safeguarding and Inclusion Manager for Apprenticeship, HE and Adults

"I work with the students to enhance their experience, and help to remove any barriers, to ensure they have the best possible experience during their time with us. I work with external agencies to provide support for the students, and I manage a small team of Progress Coaches, who monitor attendance, progression and achievement. As a team we deliver tutorials to the learners, offer pastoral support, look after their safeguarding and welfare, and help to ensure that the learners develop a broad range of skills, essential for their own personal and professional development.

I have a BA Honours degree in Hospitality Management with Tourism. After University I worked for Disney on their cruise ship, the MS Disney Wonder. I started work as a Purser in Guest Services, and was then promoted to Captain’s Assistant, and then Accommodation Officer. After I left Disney I went to work for the P&O Cruise Line as the Assistant Food and Beverage Officer.

I love working with people, so I then retrained to become a teacher so I could inspire young people to reach their potential and follow their dreams. I have 12 years’ experience in teaching, and have taught Hospitality, Travel & Tourism and Business courses.

The college is a lovely place to work. I call colleagues my 'work family'. There are opportunities for progression, and to work in lots of different areas. I have taught in three departments, which has given me the relevant experience for my current role.

I have to really prioritise my work load, as the demands of the job can be high, and sometimes it feels like there are not enough hours in the day. Everyone is so supportive though, and people really care."

Lauren Dower Marketing Manager

Lauren Dower, Marketing Manager

"I attended St Chad’s Catholic High School in Runcorn, where I gained 11 GCSEs. Following college, I enrolled at the University of Chester, and graduated with a First Class Honours degree in English Language and Literature.

After I graduated I worked for Camp America as an Equestrian Director in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Back in the UK I then joined the Spirit Pub Company as a Graduate Trainee General Manager. After completing the graduate scheme I was offered the newly created position of Marketing Executive at one of Manchester’s top hotels, The Midland. During my time at The Midland I was fortunate to work amongst critically acclaimed chefs, experience some of the nation’s best hotels, and I even met the Prime Minister at the Conservative Party Conference which was hosted by the hotel! After a couple of whirlwind years, I applied for a job closer to home as School Engagement Officer at the College, and after 10 months in that role transitioned into the role of Marketing Officer and now 4 years on, I am the Marketing Manager!

"I thoroughly enjoy working at the college, every day is different and fast-paced. There's lots of opportunities to further your skill-set and everyone at the college is friendly and welcoming, and they really look after their staff.

My aim is to continue working for the college to gain experience and grow in confidence. I am learning a lot from my manager, who is extremely passionate and has great marketing experience in FE. The college has come a long way since the merger, there’s still a lot to be done, but I am excited to be part of the journey."

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