Principal and Chief Executive Rachel Kay is celebrating four years at the helm of Macclesfield College Further and Higher Education. Since she took over in August 2015, the College has received a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, is ranked as one of the top 30 nationally for achievement, the best performing FE college in Cheshire and Warrington for Education and Training, and has signed a partnership with Michelin-starred chef Aiden Byrne to launch the new Whites Chef Academy.

As well as improving quality across the college and building its reputation, Rachel was determined to nurture its partnerships and deliver for the local community. In the past four years the College has built its employer network by 200% to 500 of the leading businesses across the county, plus sector leaders in aerospace, construction and engineering.

This year will see the newly launched link with Macclesfield Town FC and Stockport County FC, which has seen bumper applications as young people look to take advantage of building a career alongside their love of sport.

In addition to her role, Rachel has joined the board of the North Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, and is actively engaging with all local businesses.

2018-19 was a landmark year with 100’s of apprenticeships being delivered through the College, with 97% of students going on to work on completion of their apprenticeship and success rates are 5% higher than the national average. The College has seen a 175% growth in apprenticeships in just 18 months.

In January the College launched the Macclesfield Manifesto, pledging to place 100 apprenticeships with 100 businesses in just 100 days. The college was successful, raising awareness about the pathways for young people to earn as they learn, and creating more than 136 apprenticeship opportunities.

 The College won the Business and Education Award from East Cheshire Chamber and Rachel is currently shortlisted for the Inspiring Women award – Apprenticeships sector by Apprenticeships 4 England.

Commenting on the past four years, Rachel said: “I can honestly say I’ve loved every minute and can’t quite believe that it has been four years. Our aim as a team is to be an outstanding college and that vision has never changed. Achieving a Good rating from Ofsted was a major milestone to us achieving our goal and all our processes, operations and behaviours are designed to help us move forward.

“Our role at the heart of the Macclesfield community is about delivering for our students, building their technical and employability skills and ensuring they are ready for the workplace. We work in partnership with employers to ensure our programmes are designed with their needs in mind and ultimately help to grow our local economy.

“Credit must go to the entire team who work so hard on a daily basis, and I’m looking forward to working with them over the next four years.”