August 30, 2019 @ 10:45 by Steven Hugill
A well-known North East business figure has been appointed chairman of a further education institution.
John McCabe has replaced the outgoing Robin Mackie in the role at Gateshead College.
A former North East England Chamber of Commerce president, John brings more than 30 years’ industry experience of public relations, communications, stakeholder engagement and economic development to the position.
After starting his career as an apprentice at Northumbrian Water, he moved into agency and in-house public relations roles before spending 12 years as corporate affairs director at aluminium mining group Rio Tinto (formerly Alcan).
In 2013, John established PR and creative design agency Fusion PR, and earlier this year competed in the North of Tyne mayoral elections as an independent candidate.
A firm advocate of developing vocational skills, he said: “It’s a huge privilege to be appointed chair of the top-performing college in the country.
“Robin has chaired the college with great distinction and can be proud of all that has been achieved by students and staff during his tenure, which has seen this organisation firmly established as the outstanding leader in its field.
“I’m also really impressed by the culture of high aspirations and success that make this the college of choice for students, businesses and for those who want to work in the further education sector.
“My priority now is to work with the board and (principal and chief executive) Judith Doyle CBE to help ensure Gateshead College builds on its reputation, profile and many achievements; taking the college to the next level.”
Rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, Gateshead College is ranked the best-performing college in England for post-16 education and training, based on the achievement rates of students.
The organisation works with dozens of employers across a wide range of sectors, delivering flexible vocational learning programmes that enable businesses to get the skills they need.
Judith said she is delighted to welcome John to his role, adding he will continue the excellent work carried out by Robin.
“It was very important to us that, having worked hard and achieved so much in recent years, we recruited a successor to Robin who shared our ambition and aspirations,” said Judith.
“We set out to find someone who can help us take the college to the next level – and we have absolutely found that person in John.”
Outgoing chair Robin, who held the role since 2008, added: “John comes with an outstanding business network – he has fantastic credentials and the respect of employers across the North East.
“I’m positive he will further the college’s business aspirations and take this fantastic college to the next level.”