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There are so many reasons why Grant Glendinning is looking forward to taking the lead at the Education Training Collective (Etc.).

An established leader in the sector, he has watched with interest not only the growth and achievement of the college group, which comprises Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training Group, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and the Skills Academy, but also the transformation of the Tees Valley’s industrial landscape.

Now appointed to be chief executive and group principal, Grant said: “This is a high performing college group situated in an area with so much future potential.  I can’t wait to get started.”

Grant, who is the current executive principal for NCG North, will join Etc. after the summer, taking the reins from Phil Cook who has led the college group since 2013.

Since his arrival, Phil has overseen the transformation of the college, initially Stockton Riverside College and Bede Sixth Form College, then NETA and more recently Redcar and Cleveland College.   

Phil said of his time at Etc.: “I believe passionately in high quality local colleges for local people and I think that’s what we’ve delivered. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with so many amazing people, who are totally committed to their students and their local communities, and it’s been a privilege to do so, and something that I will cherish.  However, it’s now time for me to move on, to new challenges, and I do so with the assurance that we have a committed and incredibly able set of governors, who I believe have made an excellent appointment in Grant.  I know that Etc.’s journey is far from over and that there is much more to come.”

Looking forward to continuing that journey, Grant, who is originally from Hartlepool, said the transformational nature of the area was part of the role’s appeal.

Plus, having left the area as a teen for university and going on to a career in teaching, leadership and management working in Eastern Europe, London and the North-west, he said, for him, this feels like a return home.

Still with family in Billingham and Hartlepool, he said: “Growing up in Teesside, it was a very different place, it felt like industry had had its day and that continued for decades.  To see the repurposing of the Tees Valley with strong economic and political leadership is fantastic. It is a really transformative story.”

While Grant describes his return to Teesside as “a happy coincidence”, he said the thought of now being able to work in the area and add value and impact was a real draw.  

Driven by a passion for further education and helping get young people and adults into meaningful jobs, he said: “It is an incredibly exciting time for the Tees Valley, not only when you think about Teesworks and the cradle of clean energy the area might become, but also the future vision for town centres in Stockton, Redcar, Middlesbrough, Darlington and Hartlepool, the opportunities for global inward investment that the freeport is going to bring.

“We could be looking at something akin to a boomtown for Teesside. What a fantastic time to join Etc. and be a part of all that.”

Mark White OBE DL, Chair at Etc., said: “As you would expect, recruiting a new chief executive and group principal for our group was always going to be a robust and rigorous process. Phil Cook has had such significant impact – for which the board is incredibly grateful - and his leadership has transformed this group to such an extent that we needed someone with the skillset and background to be able to pick up the baton and run with it.

“I am delighted that Grant has been appointed to the role and I know that the board is very much looking forward to working with him when he joins.”

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