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After two decades in further education, the new principal of Suffolk New College Alan Pease is committed to working with businesses to support their recruitment needs and assist with the prospects of his students. With over 300 employment partnerships in place already, Alan recently visited the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce to outline his plans. His message to businesses is very clear. Come and work with Suffolk New College so that we can collectively solve regional and national skills challenges.

“I love sport and I’ve tried to apply the principles I’ve learnt from being involved in this industry in to the world of business and education.

“There is an absolute synergy between the two worlds (of sport and business) – teamwork, leadership, communication, hard work, resilience and so on. I love that quote from Jessica Ennis Hill – ‘the only one who can tell you ‘you can’t win’ is you – and you don’t have to listen.’

“This is the kind of mentality I try and bring to work and everyone at Suffolk New College tries to instil in our students.

“I became principal this year and I’m determined to continue to help build on the tremendous legacy of my predecessor (Viv Gillespie) who passed away in March 2023.

“Whilst it’s a hard act to follow Viv, as a business, we have grown exponentially this year. We now employ almost 800 staff, support more than 3000 young people and over 1000 adults via the programmes we offer. We also work with around 1000 apprentices and the thing I’m looking to grow most in the next year is the amount of businesses we work with.

“Currently, we have over 300 employer link ups. They (employers) support us in a number of different ways. From guest lectures to work placements.

“We have also signed long terms agreements with big organisations such as EDF Energy/ Sizewell C, Ipswich Town Foundation Trust and ESNEFT, and I’m determined to form more relationships with many others.

“We have an enormous skills agenda at the moment in this country and further education (FE) is going to be at the forefront of developing skills in young people.

“To do that with success, Suffolk New College – that has campuses in Ipswich, Otley, Halesworth and Leiston - needs to expand the work that we do with community, civic, education partners and employers, so that together we can create a future workforce that can immediately add value to businesses when they leave us.

“In order to train the next generation to the best of our abilities, we are currently amidst a major investment plan that ensures our students get to work in environments that are as close to real life as possible.

“We opened a ‘Googlesque’ 21st century Tech Campus the year before last and it has been a tremendous success. Just a few months ago the doors of a new Net Zero Skills Centre were opened and later this year, a Health and Science campus with a mock nursery and a virtual hospital ward will be officially launched after Christmas - and a farm shop is just about to open at our Suffolk Rural campus.

“By building and investing in state of the art technology and facilities, we feel able to help learners get the skills they need to go on and have meaningful and sustained careers.

“Our aim is to continue to grow so that we can provide an exceptional learner experience and to do this we are reaching out to the business community to say – come and work with us, support our learners on their next steps and help us show the important role that further education and businesses have in supporting the expansion of the local and national economy.

“If you want to work with us, please get in touch so that we can continue to deliver for you by creating a future workforce that has the skills you need.”

Watch the latest interview with Alan and Head of Public Affairs, Paul, here :

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Suffolk Chamber

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