Meet the expert team leading the opening of SGS Berkeley Green UTC

15th March 2016
Meet the expert team leading the opening of SGS Berkeley Green UTC

In the build-up to UTC Day, which takes place Friday 18th March, we are thrilled to share with you the team leading the opening of SGS Berkeley Green UTC:

Neill Ricketts, Chief Executive Officer, Versarien – Employer Sponsor

Neill is a graduate engineer with over 20 years of senior level experience in manufacturing and engineering companies, including several directorships of AIM-quoted companies. Neill has demonstrated success in introducing and commercialising new technology, including new materials and coatings for diverse sectors from aerospace to Formula One, including significant work in the oil and gas sector.

Neill has successfully led several successful turnarounds and was a board level director at Elektron Technology plc, a group which included Total Carbide, which at that time sat within the Elektron Ventures division. Neill also has much experience working with major employers across the region and is the Chair of the Engineering and Manufacturing Group for employers across Gloucestershire and brings many employer links to this project.

Professor Kamal Bechkoum, Head of School- Computing and Technology, University of Gloucestershire – University Sponsor

We are thrilled to have Kamal as part of our team. Kamal has already worked on opening one UTC successfully at Silverstone and hopes to replicate the success of this project in Gloucestershire.

Kamal Bechkoum, Professor of Computing, is Head of School of Computing and Technology. Before joining the University of Gloucestershire Kamal worked for a number of UK higher education institutions including Cranfield, De Montfort, Wolverhampton, Derby, and Northampton where he was Executive Dean of the School of Science and Technology with university executive responsibility for research and enterprise and intellectual capital.

Kamal has extensive experience of university curriculum design, development and examination from Foundation Degree to Doctorate level. He has a considerable experience of the design and delivery of academic programmes, both in the UK and internationally.

Kamal has an excellent knowledge of the complexities inherent to technology-enhanced learning with, a significant understanding of the technological and business challenges of driving technology change and process improvements within an educational environment.

He achieved a PhD in Software Techniques for Computer Aided Engineering from the University of Cranfield, UK. He is also a Fellow of the British Computer Society and a Chartered IT Professional.

Specialties: Subject specialism is Artificial Intelligence, particularly intelligent software agents and their applications. He has been published on a regular basis in this area. Otherwise, he is interested in education, leadership and international partnership and collaboration

Sara-Jane Watkins - UTC Director, College Principal, Deputy Chief Executive SGS Group

Sara-Jane Watkins was appointed Principal at SGS College in September 2015, after working at a senior level within further education for the last 15 years, and is responsible for providing leadership of all functional and curriculum areas, implementing Corporation decisions, day to day management of budget and resources, plus overseeing all aspects of staff and student discipline.

With a Masters Degree in marketing from the University of the West of England and an Honours Degree in Countryside Management, Sara-Jane was previously Communications Director at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire.

Sara-Jane has also been a School Chair of Governors and has led on a primary School federation.

Kevin Hamblin - College Sponsor Group Principal and Chief Executive Officer, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College

One of the main sponsors of the UTC, is SGS College. We are delighted to welcome the South Gloucestershire and Stroud College Group CEO to the Project Steering Group. Kevin has vast experience and commitment to transforming education for young people and is a qualified engineer himself and therefore brings immense passion to this project.

Kevin Hamblin was originally appointed Principal and Chief Executive of SGS College (formally Filton College) in December 2001, later appointed Group Principal and Chief Executive Officer of the College in November 2015. Born in Nottingham, he left school at 16 and undertook a mining engineering apprenticeship with British Coal, before becoming a Colliery Training Officer. In 1989, he started a BA (honours) Degree in business at Wolverhampton Business School, while being a sponsored student and working with BAA Gatwick Airport Limited personnel and training department.

On completion of his degree in 2001, Kevin worked as Commercial Manager, then Commercial Director of a private training company, before becoming Head of Open Learning at Swindon College in 1997. This led to a role as Head of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Systems Engineering at Swindon, before becoming Vice Principal at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire in 1999.

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