West Thames College (WTC) is a medium-sized general further education college with two main sites in the London Borough of Hounslow. WTC offers a broad curriculum in most subject areas for full- and part-time learners and includes full-time provision for pupils aged 14 to 16. The majority of learners study on full-time 16 to 19 study programmes.

Adult learning programmes include English for speakers of other languages, access to higher education and skills for employment programmes in partnership with Jobcentre Plus. There is a small apprenticeship programme in logistics. Programmes for learners with high needs include supported learning for moderate learning needs, vocational learning and supported internships.

The Board of Governors at WTC includes people drawn from a range of backgrounds and experiences reflecting the community that the College serves.  Their experience, knowledge and skills make a vital contribution to the continuing development of the College.

We spoke to Jon Allen from West Thames College about his experience searching for skilled volunteers using the Inspiring FE Governance service.

What skills/traits were you looking for in your governing board members?

‘’The Board of Governors includes people drawn from a range of backgrounds and experiences reflecting the community that the College serves.  Their experience, knowledge and skills make a vital contribution to the continuing development of the College.

The purpose of using Inspiring FE Governance was to strengthen our current governor skills set. In particular we were looking to further enhance financial, budgetary, education, HR, corporate governance and strategic expertise amongst our membership.’’

How did you find out about Inspiring FE Governance?

‘’We found the service through a simple Google search!’’

What was the outcome?

‘’Over the last year we have successfully recruited five new governors all of whom were referrals from Inspiring FE Governance. All five have a board range of skills and expertise and they have already made significant contributions to the Board.’’

What advice do you have for other boards looking to fill vacancies?

‘’Although it is important to fill any identified skills gap, especially in the area of finance and having in place at least two qualified accountants/and or appropriate financial expertise, it is important to also take a holistic approach when looking to fill vacancies.

For example, to plan for succession planning to enable a smooth transformation from when governors complete their term of office; Would the individual fit in with the cultural and ethos of the College? Are they strategic enough in their thinking? Can they add value to the Board? Have they the capacity for further development?’’