East Sussex College Group, with college campuses in Eastbourne, Hastings, Newhaven, and Lewes has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer and Principal, Rebecca Conroy.

Rebecca has been Acting CEO since February this year and was appointed to the permanent role after a robust national recruitment process in which the College Group was supported by the Association of Colleges (AoC). East Sussex College has a c.£50 million annual turnover and supports 5000 young people, 9000 adult students and employs 1200 staff, and plays a vital educational role in the community.

The chair of the college governing body, David Smith, said of Rebecca: “Since taking on the leadership role on an acting basis, Rebecca has made a huge amount of progress in stabilising the college’s finances, supporting students and staff through the challenges of Covid-19 as well as providing significant community resources to the NHS and those in need of free re-training opportunities.

“She has gathered a talented and committed leadership team around her and has led by example with an open and honest communication style. The governing body was very impressed by the applications and interviews of some outstanding candidates from other colleges, but Rebecca’s performance stood out from the field.”

Rebecca has worked in the Education sector for over 20 years. She started her FE career at former Sussex Downs College, has held senior leadership roles within GBMET College before joining the East Sussex College leadership team in May 2018, as Principal of the Eastbourne campus.

Rebecca is a respected figure within East Sussex county, borough, and district teams, and is well known to headteachers and political leaders in the area.

During her six-month ‘acting’ role, she has improved the college’s financial health, despite the Covid-19 challenge, she has overseen the development of online learning capability throughout lockdown, and she has guided the college through a successful enrolment period for 2020/21 academic year.

Speaking of her appointment, Rebecca said, “It is a real privilege to have been appointed as CEO and Principal of this fantastic organisation. I am determined that East Sussex College will continue to provide our communities with high quality and relevant curriculum offers.

“The team at the college are truly dedicated to their students’ future success and have worked with such innovation and resilience through the challenges of the last few months. Our students deserve the very best – more so now than ever before.

“We are about to embark on a consultation exercise to develop our new strategic plan, with the target of being completed by the end of March 2021. I look forward to working with our broad range of stakeholders on that to shape our future together.”