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Corporation Member Profiles

Alan Aston

Alan Aston joined the Corporation in 2012.  He was born and educated locally and taught at Wolstanton High School for 32 years, being appointed Head in July 2011.  He retired from this position in December 2015.  Alan is the Vice-Chair of the Education & Standards Committee.





Nikhil John Aggarwal

Nikhil is the student governor representing the Stafford College campus and joined the Corporation in 2017.  Nikhil is currently studying a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business. 




Charlie Awde

Charlie is the student governor representing the Newcastle-under-Lyme College campus and joined the Corporation in 2017.   Charlie is studying 3 A Levels and a Diploma in Sport & Exercise Sciences.



Syd Birkin

Syd was the Vice Chair of the Stafford College Board and Chair of the Finance and Resources Task and Finish Group.   The retired director of a major IT services company, Syd has many years of experience in management covering sales, marketing, operations and customer service.



Karen Dobson

Karen originally trained as a nurse and health visitor and worked in the NHS for 13 years.  She moved into Further Education as a Lecturer in Health and Social Care and after various promotions made the move to Newcastle-under-Lyme College in 2002 where she was appointed as Director of Curriculum & Strategic Planning, a post she held until August 2004 when she became Principal.  Karen has a Health Sciences degree from Coventry University, an MBA from Keele and currently sits on the National AOC Sports Policy Group




Jeff Dutton 

Jeff is the Stafford College staff member of the Corporation.  Jeff is the Curriculum Leader for Level 3 Computing.



Martin Earnshaw

Martin Earnshaw currently lives in Stafford and joined the Corporation in 2017. He is a highly experienced European HR Director. Martin was most recently based in Minneapolis for 3 years and before this was based in Belgium for just short of 10 years. He is skilled in developing robust European HR and business strategies, harmonising Pan-European HR structures and driving key HR initiatives and projects.

Councillor Gareth Jones

Gareth is Vice Chair of Corporation and chairs the Finance & General Purposes Committee. He has been a member of the Corporation since 1992.  Gareth retired from his position as a senior manager for Liverpool Health Authority in 2007.  This was a role that had significant financial/resource management responsibility and Gareth brings a wealth of experience and commercial and financial acumen to the Board.   He is also a member of the Search and Remuneration Committees.  Gareth regularly participates in college events where he gains a valuable insight into the views of our students.



Simon Leech

Simon is Chair of the Corporation, currently serves as Vice Chair of the Finance & General Purposes Committee, and is also a member of the Search Committee and Remuneration Committee.  Simon is a criminal law partner in Walters and Plaskitt solicitors and also has experience as a member of the Management Committee of the Newcastle Citizens Advice Bureau.  Simon brings a wealth of experience in effective business practice and legal expertise to the Board.



Steve Jones

Steve is a qualified chartered accountant and is currently the Finance Director of Hanley Economic Building Society, a position he has held for 9 years.   A graduate of Stoke on Trent Common Purpose he has a keen interest in the regeneration and wellbeing of the local area and has been actively involved in the voluntary sector for over 15 years.   Steve is currently the Chair of Age UK and Vice-Chair of NSMind (having stepped down as Chair after a 5 year term). Steve is Vice-Chair of the Audit Committee.



Bernard Lovatt

Bernard is now a partner in Bernard Lovatt & Associates LLP and is actively involved in encouraging the economic development of the area. Bernard sits on the Audit Committee of the Corporation.   

As an Engineering Ambassador, member of the management committee for STEMNET in Staffordshire and a member of the North West Midlands Network Committee of the Institute of Engineering and Technology Bernard is active in encouraging students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Bernard regularly participates in college events.



Jeremy Pert

Jeremy was a member of the Stafford College Board since September 2015 sitting on the Curriculum Task and Finish Group.  He has much experience of local community leadership first as an elected Parish Councillor and then as a Borough Councillor.  Most recently he has acted as Cabinet Aide to the Sports and Leisure portfolio holder and as Cabinet Member for Communities on Stafford Borough Council.

Jeremy has many years of commercial experience in warehousing and distribution, most recently as Sales and Account Director in the logistics industry.



Lesley Rollason 

Lesley is the Head of Policy and Planning at Staffordshire University.  She has worked in the Higher Education sector for over 20 years and has a Professional Doctorate in Education from Sheffield University.  Lesley has served as an elected parent governor at Alsager School, and is currently Chair of the Academic Progress Committee at Staffordshire University Academy in Cannock.  Lesley is Chair of the College’s Education & Standards Committee and the Staffordshire Governor representative on the AOC Regional Committee.




Jim Rowley

Jim, a qualified chartered accountant, joined the Corporation in 1994.  He is currently Chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Search Committee.  Jim was a Finance Director in the local NHS for nineteen years and was the Director of Finance & Systems Reform at Stoke on Trent Primary Care Trust (a role with commissioning responsibility of c£500m) before retiring in 2010.  Prior to his retirement he was an active member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and served on several national finance committees.   Jim has also provided advice and guidance to Government on NHS pension reforms.



Lynsey Shearsmith

Lynsey is the Newcastle-under-Lyme College staff member of the Corporation.  Lynsey is the College’s Student Engagement Co-ordinator.




Francis Tunney

Francis retired in August 2010 from his post as Headteacher of Painsley Catholic College in Cheadle, Staffordshire Moorlands, where he served for 20 years. During his tenure Francis led the College through four successful Ofsted inspections with Painsley, achieving outstanding status. Francis was the recipient of the 2010 Midlands Headteacher of the Year Award.  Francis is a resident of Newcastle under Lyme.  Francis brings to the Board his considerable experience and knowledge of the 11-18 schools sector.


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