Introducing our new Principal, Stuart Cutforth

Stuart Cutforth

First of all Stuart can you tell us a bit about your background?

I was born and bred in Chesterfield and started working life at the National Coal Board as an apprentice electrician. After leaving school at 16 I studied at the former North East Derbyshire College in Clowne (which subsequently became the Clowne Campus of Chesterfield College) as well as at Chesterfield College itself here at the Infirmary Road Campus.

So what about your career in Further Education then, how long have you worked in the industry?

My career in further education spans over 34 years at 8 different colleges. I've held a range of positions starting as a main grade lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at North Notts College, in nearby Worksop, before joining Halton Riverside College in Merseyside as a Senior Lecturer in Microelectronic Systems. A particular highlight was delivering bespoke automated manufacturing systems, including robotics, to some major blue chip companies in the North West including Shell, ICI and Ford Motor Company.

Since then I've held a range of senior positions in the sector across the UK such as Faculty Director, Assistant Principal, Deputy Principal and Interim Principal before taking on my first full-time Principal and Chief Executive role at City College in Birmingham. Prior to coming to Chesterfield College in November 2014 I was the Principal and Chief Executive of Northumberland College in the North East of England for two years. 

So how does it feel to be back where it all began?

It feels like I’m coming home and to lead this college is a dream come true for me personally. I am truly humbled and delighted to be a part of this great college and to work alongside such a hardworking and talented group of staff. I can’t wait to get started. The previous Principal and his talented, dedicated and extremely competent senior management team, supported by a strong and supportive governing body, have done an amazing job over the past few years which will make my task much easier. The aim is to reach outstanding and to go on to be the highest performing college in the sector. Working together as a team I’m convinced that we can achieve it.

And what about the town itself, is it how you remembered it?

Having worked in various parts of the UK, the friendliness and openness of people in Chesterfield is probably one of its key strengths. The resilience and tenacity of the local business community to succeed is clearly a significant strength along with their determination to be the very best at what they do is there for all to see and some of the success stories in this great town are something to be really proud about.