Lottie Thompson is the Director of Governance for Hull College. She is an advisor to the board of governors  having been at the college for around seven years, starting in a dual role as a lawyer and clerk before progressing to the role of Director.

Tell us a bit about your college

”We are a large Further Education college with sites based in Hull and Goole and we offer a wide variety of educational offer ranging from a  14-16 College, 16-18 vocational programmes, adult learning, apprenticeships, and a Higher Education provision. We also even operate a nursery!”

What skills/traits are you/were you looking for in your governing board members?

”We have recently reconsidered  our governance model, moving to a  traditional committee structure, so we have been on the search for a number of new governors to ensure we have the right skillsets for each of our committees by extending our external membership by five members. So, we needed to find  strong board members to provide support in a range of different areas. Specifically, we have been searching for expertise in estates, HR and organisational development, finance, and educational experience.”

How did you find out about the Inspiring FE Governance service?

”I found out about Inspiring FE Governance via our Clerks’ network and through National Leaders of Governance, so the name came up a lot in governance circles! It was helpful to be able to set the criteria for the skills we needed and use the search function to look for volunteers on the website. We found 2 co-opted advisers, one with audit skills who, within 6 months, we were able to invite to join us as a  governor. The second volunteer is a governance professional, a skillset that you don’t find a lot, so we were really pleased with the results to support our future succession.”

Do you have any advice for other colleges recruiting governors?

”My advice would be around succession planning. Don’t wait until you have a need for new governors, try and stay ahead of the game and keep logging on to the website and seeing which volunteers are available and the skillsets they have, because you may not have a need for them in the immediate term, but you could well require their skills and experience in the future or should the unexpected arise.”

Do you have anything else to add?

”I found the service really easy to use and it was helpful to be put in direct contact with the volunteers to understand what they were looking for and see if there was a good fit.  I know a lot of us in the sector make direct approaches to our local communities to varying degrees of success.  It was really helpful having a pool of individuals who already wanted to volunteer their services.”