College Group Appoints New CEO and Principal

A leading group of colleges in Warwickshire and Worcestershire has appointed a new CEO and Principal.

Sara-Jane Watkins has been appointed to the senior position at WCG (Warwickshire College Group) which includes six colleges across the Midlands and will start in September.

She is currently serving as College Principal at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) and has held the position since 2015, also operating as Deputy Chief Executive of the SGS Group, which includes SGS Academy Trust, SGS Commercial Service and the college.

During her tenure at the college, she has achieved significant growth in 16 to 18-year-olds learner numbers from 1,300 to more than 4,000, played a key role in developing the apprenticeship programme to 1,500 apprentices and expanding its provision for 14 to 16-year-olds.

She has also chaired the Department for Education Development Fund for Gloucestershire, helping to secure £5 million for developing low carbon training resources.

Sara-Jane has a background in the land-based sector and achieved a degree in Countryside Planning from the University of Gloucestershire in 1997. She joined Hartpury College after graduation and progressed to be Communications Director, before joining SGS in 2002 as Director of Corporate Planning.

WCG includes Royal Leamington Spa College, Warwick Trident College, Rugby College, Moreton Morrell College, Pershore College and Evesham New College.

She said: “I am honoured and excited to be stepping into this role. With over 20 years of experience in Further Education and five years at a land-based college, I bring a deep commitment to advancing the educational opportunities for both our rural and urban communities.

“My dedication to education has always been driven by the belief that every student deserves access to high-quality learning experiences, and I am eager to continue this mission at WCG.

“I’m looking forward to working with our talented staff and students, who are the backbone of the college, and fostering strong partnerships with local and regional stakeholders.

“Collaboration will be key as we work to secure investment and necessary support to provide the best possible resources and opportunities for our learning community.

“I am eager to contribute to the ongoing success of the college and to make a positive impact on the lives of our students and ensure we remain a vital resource for the communities and businesses we serve.”

Gill Clipson, Chair of the Corporation for WCG, said: “We are looking forward to maintaining the high quality of our provision and the strong reputation which we have established as Sara- Jane leads us through the next stage of development for WCG, focused on excellence in all we do and serving the needs of our local communities.

“We would like to thank Peter Husband for his excellent work as interim CEO and Principal over the last six months.”