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National Express exec to replace Christine Braddock at Birmingham Metropolitan College

Andrew Cleaves to replace Dame Christine Braddock who has been principal for 17 years

Andrew Cleaves

A senior executive from National Express will take up the post of principal and chief executive at one of the country’s largest further education colleges.

Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet) has revealed Andrew Cleaves will take up the new post in May.

Mr Cleaves is currently managing director of the transport group’s international division, having formerly run its Birmingham-based UK Coach business.

He previously spent 12 years in senior roles at Tube Lines, managing the public private partnership with Transport for London for infrastructure and maintenance of the Tube. He was part of the team which invested £10 million on a training school for engineering Apprenticeships for its workforce.

BMet, which has 50,000 students based on 20 campuses in the Greater Birmingham area, was formed in August 2009 through the merger of Matthew Boulton College and Sutton Coldfield College.

Mr Cleaves succeeds Dame Christine Braddock DBE who, after 17 years as principal, will retire this year. Under her leadership BMet has developed some of the strongest results in the country, enhanced by its long-term strategic partnerships with internationally recognised companies including Caterpillar, BMW, Samsung and Jaguar Land Rover.

Past president of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, a CBI council member for the last ten years, a member of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board and former deputy chair of Midland Heart Housing Association; Dame Braddock’s role in the development of the Further Education sector at a national level was recognised in 2013 when she was awarded a DBE for her services to further education.

Last year Dame Braddock was appointed as the High Sheriff of the West Midlands and Deputy Lord Lieutenant.

Dame Christine Braddock
 

Dame Braddock said: “I am delighted to be handing over the college in its best shape yet. I know Andrew will build further on the work we have done to date and will be fully supported by the best team of staff he could wish for. I will miss everyone at the college and our students but I am looking forward to moving into a new role that of chair of the Children’s Hospital which will bring some differing challenges. I wish Andrew all the very best – I know his connectivity to business will lead the college in the right direction for its future.

“The governors, and everyone involved in the recruitment process which began last autumn, identified knowledge of the business community gained at a senior level and the ability to build partnerships as critical requirements for my replacement.

“Employability is at the heart of everything we do, and engaging with employers to discover their requirements for now and into the future is central to our strategy.”

Mr Cleaves said he’d been drawn toward the BMet role through the focus on partnerships and employability.

“I’d met Christine some time ago, when I joined  Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP (GBSLEP), and could see how passionate she was about putting students at the heart of the educational process, which of course is where they should be,” he said.

“I was also impressed when I first visited the Matthew Boulton campus to see how much had been invested in designing and providing quality facilities to create a strong learning environment.

“The teaching staff are well-motivated, there is a strong leadership team in place and chair of corporation Steve Hollis and the governors are also in tune with the college’s approach.

“I feel strongly that education is about equipping youngsters with the correct set of skills and abilities, and also the right mind set, to get them into work, whatever that might be.

“As the UK economy continues to recover we have to provide young people with the necessary skills for them to be successful.

“To do this we will strengthen our links with businesses across the region both large and small, stakeholders and local authorities. Under my leadership I am determined that the team at BMet will bring all these aspects together to provide a compelling mix, that will see our students succeed in an ever-changing world.”

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