Furness College takes a step into the New Year with a new chair of governors.

Caroline Vernon has been appointed to lead the board after John Butler, of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, steps down after almost 10 years at the helm.

Mr Butler becomes vice-chair alongside existing vice-chair Jan Fielding, former deputy head at Barrow Sixth Form.

Mrs Vernon, who is headteacher of Victoria Academy, said: “Furness College is the largest provider of education and skills training in Cumbria with £47million-worth of investment over the past few years.

“To have such a high-quality learning environment here in the heart of Barrow is critical to the future of industry.

"I am looking forward to overseeing future innovative developments across the two campuses to ensure students continue to have the skills they succeed in further study or the workplace.”

Andrew Wren, principal and chief executive of Furness College, said: “We are delighted to have three very experienced leaders heading up our board of governors with impressive track records both in education and business to reflect the needs of our college community.

“Caroline is a well-respected education professional who is a great asset to our board. We were very lucky to have John lead us through a successful merger with the sixth form two years ago and are very glad he is staying on. Post-16 education is in very good hands.”

The merger has seen the two colleges form one partnership but operate across the two campuses – Channelside and Rating Lane – with both retaining their separate sites and identities.

The governing body’s membership includes three student governors, who are all studying at Furness College, representing the higher education, vocational education and academic education the college now offers.