BURNLEY UTC APPOINTS OPS DIRECTOR

A former education advisor has been appointed as the new operations director for Visions Learning Trust, Burnley’s £10.3m University Technical College (UTC).

With more than twenty years’ experience in the education sector, John Proctor, 43, from Atherton in Manchester, has held previous positions including an advisor for Blackburn with Darwen Council (BwDC), where he worked with educational institutions to ensure quality learning was delivered to young people in the borough.

Prior to his advisory role at BwDC, John was a senior leader at a school in Wigan and held posts as head of mathematics and ICT in other schools in the region.

John was appointed by Visions Learning Trust following a role as curriculum advisor at Blackburn-based training provider, Training 2000. He will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the UTC, based at Victoria Mill on Trafalgar Street, Burnley, to ensure that young people leave the UTC with the qualifications and skills they need to maximise their career potential.

He will also liaise with the VLT’s employer partners, including leading firms such as Rolls Royce, Chubb and Fort Vale, to develop and facilitate employer-led projects, a main aim of the UTC’s curriculum.

“I am delighted to be given this fantastic opportunity and I am thoroughly looking forward to working closely with managing director (principal designate), Martin Callagher, to provide local young people with learning that meets the needs of employers,” said John.

“Our vision is to bridge the gap between education and business and we will be leading the way on innovative learning in Pennine Lancashire. It will be my job to guarantee that Visions Learning Trust matches and exceeds the quality of education for young people and that they leave the UTC equip for the world of work.

“My role will also be to ensure we inspire learners who may be having difficulties in traditional education settings to achieve. Visions Learning Trust will provide opportunities for those young people to invent solutions to employer-posed problems and for the gifted and talented to work innovatively as they strive to become the engineering and construction leaders of tomorrow.”

John, who is originally from Leeds, is married with two daughters in high-school and is a keen musician and a former musical director for the local theatre group. John said he hopes to use his musical talents to inspire other youngsters at the UTC.

“I play the organ and the keyboard and have the ambition to start a Rock School in the UTC - I’m already planning our first gig for summer 2014! We have an exciting programme of enrichment activities for all our learners and we have recently partnered with Burnley FC to deliver the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.”

Steve Gray, chief executive at Training 2000, lead sponsors of Visions Learning Trust, added: “The operations director role is vital to the success of the UTC and it was important that the right person was appointed.

“After a very thorough process, I am really pleased that we have been able to appoint someone of John’s calibre who will bring enthusiasm, knowledge and a wealth of educational experience to deliver the high expectations for the UTC.”

Combining traditional education programmes with employer-led technical training, Visions Learning Trust will focus on developing the high skills levels required by employers in the engineering, advanced manufacturing and construction industries. Development and conversion of the historic Victoria Mill in Burnley is being undertaken by Nelson-based Barnfield Construction in a joint venture with Burnley Borough Council. The facility will be fully operational by August 2013.