College welcomes new chair

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The new chair of governors at Truro and Penwith College has spoken of his desire to ensure every student who attends the college leaves with not only a better education, but much improved life chances, as he settles into his new leadership role.

Robert Townsend, a former accountant at the John Lewis Partnership, Imerys and FX Plus has sat on the board of governors at the college since 2019 and was recently voted in following the departure of previous chairperson Jonathan Burnett.

Townsend has served as a school governor throughout his children’s education, having previously governed at St Minver School and Truro High School for Girls before his daughter attending Truro College prompted him to take on a more involved role at the college.

Speaking about the difference of his new governance role, Townsend said: “The role of governor is quite similar across all education providers but what makes it different at a large, tertiary college like Truro and Penwith is that there is more government and political involvement, it is a sector that feels much more in the political sphere. You also get those big links with industry and employers that you don’t tend to get in smaller institutions.”

For Townsend, being chair of governors is a role that carries pride and one that he thoroughly enjoys, although he is under no illusions that it comes with increased responsibility amid a series of unique challenges.

“Sometimes it feels like the sector is an afterthought within government, so we must do more to educate those decision makers and stakeholders about the power of further education providers to transform the lives of people and communities,” he said.

“Truro and Penwith College is a big player in Cornwall, we punch above our weight in the community and help people go on to achieve their ambitions whether that’s in higher education or employment, but we need to work together to amplify that message as much as possible.

“The whole skills agenda needs leadership centrally. It’s left as a political statement, but it could really make an impact if we engage with the right people.”

He insists being a governor is a valuable and worthwhile role and appealed for anyone who thinks they may be interested in taking on a college governor position to get in touch for a discussion.

“We welcome interest from people who think they’ve got something to give through their skills, passion and enthusiasm at Truro and Penwith College,” he added. “Come and be a part of it and help us transform lives in Cornwall for the better.”

If you would like to discuss the role of Governor at Truro and Penwith College, please contact clerk to the corporation Alison Winter on 01872 305000.