Mandie’s belief in the power of Further Education Colleges to improve students’ life chances and have a positive impact on social mobility, is rooted in her own personal experience. She proudly describes herself as a product of FE.
Mandie chose to continue her post-16 education in an urban FE college; she valued the experience as not only did she achieve high grades across the board, she also developed wider skills and attributes which prepared her to progress and succeed in higher education -ultimately achieving an MBA.
Mandie’s career in FE commenced 25 years ago at what is now one of the largest urban FE colleges in the country. In 1998 she made the move to Derby City and spent four years in various college management and leadership roles.
In March 2002, at its conception, she joined Derby College (now DCG) and in 2012 she was promoted from her strategy role to CEO with a clear mandate to improve educational standards and financial performance.
Under her tenure, the College has moved to a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating and during its 2016 inspection, provision for students with high needs was graded ‘outstanding’ with employer engagement recognised as excellent practice. This rating was confirmed, by Ofsted, in December 2019.
During her time as CEO, Mandie also held a number of non-executive and governance roles including: being appointed, as one of seven principals from colleges across the UK, to the DfE’s Principals Reference Group; chair of the CBI Regional Council, a member of various economic development leadership boards and a Director of Land-based Assessment Ltd.
She said: “I feel fortunate every day to lead an amazing college with the sole purpose of providing our students with an exceptional education as a catalyst for them to be successful in work, life and society.
“In addition, I have been honoured to work with colleagues from across the sector, and the DfE, to celebrate the further education sector’s valuable work in changing people’s lives for the better, identify challenges and potential solutions and discuss emerging policies and opportunities. Therefore, to receive this award for doing what I am privileged to do every day is truly overwhelming.
“I have been extremely humbled to be recognised, particularly in these unprecedented times, in the company of so many altruistic citizens who have had such a significant impact on our communities.
“The work that has been recognised, by this honour, would not have been possible without the immense support of my remarkable partners at work and home. I thank them sincerely for the opportunity to engage in this work and therefore receive this personal accolade.”