The extraordinary contribution – spanning 20 years – of Bridgwater & Taunton College’s Chair of Governors has today been recognised with a richly-deserved MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for 2019.
Derek Randall, an astute business leader with a high level of strategic and commercial awareness, has directed transformational change to see the College become one of the largest and most successful in the country. Under his stewardship it has secured over £40m of public and private investment and undergone two successful college mergers, now offering world class facilities and equipment, including the Government flagship National College for Nuclear. As Somerset experiences an unprecedented period of inward investment and regeneration, the College is spearheading the drive to reap maximum benefit for local people, ensuring that they are offered the skills training they need in order to enjoy meaningful, rewarding and satisfying careers.
The College’s reputation is outstanding. It is a founder member of the Chartered Institution for Further Education, has gained no less than 14 national Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards, was named the Times Educational Supplement 2016 FE College of the Year and achieved Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education in 2000 and 2015. Derek’s commitment to excellence has also directly resulted in the College’s sponsorship of the Bridgwater College Trust, a Multi Academy Trust supporting a number of local academies, transforming the educational experience of over 1,500 local pupils.
Beyond the College, Derek’s contribution has been no less significant. As Chair of the Association of Colleges’ Regional Committee he has elevated standards of college governance in the South West, mentoring many new chairs of corporation and supporting colleges through challenging periods. The high levels of respect and regard that he enjoys from fellow chairs of corporation across the South West stem from his unswerving belief in harnessing education and skills training to secure growth and prosperity for business and communities. He fully understands the importance of strategic interaction with government to negotiate additional resource for post-16 education, and his drive, passion and support mean that the South West college community consistently performs well, creating a sustainable skills and infrastructure legacy for their combined 300,000 students and 25,000+ employer partners.
Speaking after the announcement, Bridgwater & Taunton College Principal and CEO Andy Berry said: “I am absolutely delighted that Derek’s achievements over the past 20 years have been recognised in this way. He has given generously of his time, working ceaselessly and tirelessly for the good of the College, and always in a voluntary capacity. He has brought a wealth of experience and commercial insight to the College Board, all of whom value his guidance, wit and warmth. This honour is indeed richly deserved.”
Of his award, Derek said: “I am delighted to receive this honour. It has been a privilege to work with such a highly talented group of professionals, fully committed to respond to student, employer and community needs.”