Governance

Who we are

Corporation Board

Mark Longshaw profile photo

Chair - Mark Langshaw MBE

Mark joined the Board in August 2016 and was appointed as Chair of the Corporation in August 2018. He is Managing Director of Continental Teves UK Ltd, a significant employer in the Ebbw Vale area which specialises in the manufacture of high performance engineering components for the automotive industry. Mark has extensive managerial and business experience and provides the Board with a useful insight into the training needs of the mechanical engineering and automotive industries as well as the economy of the Blaenau Gwent area. He also serves on the Board of the Welsh Automotive Forum and is Chair of both the Blaenau Gwent EFFECT Project and the Blaenau Gwent Enterprise Board.

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Vice Chair - Hilary Aldridge

Following a period as a solicitor in private practice, Hilary had a successful career at the National Rivers Authority and Environment Agency before joining FERA (Food & Environment Research Agency). At FERA she held senior roles including Director of Policy and Director of Operations before serving as CEO for two years. She is now self-employed and runs a property business in Monmouthshire with her husband. Hilary has a strong personal interest in education which she attributes to having a Headmaster for a father. She previously served as a Governor at York College and is a Member of Ridgeway Learning Partnership (a multi-academy Trust). Hilary Chairs the Board’s Curriculum & Quality Committee.

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Guy Lacey

Guy has over 25 years’ experience of teaching and management in both the secondary and further education sectors and was appointed as Principal and Chief Executive of Coleg Gwent in April 2016. In his previous role as Deputy Principal (External Engagement), Guy was responsible for developing the College’s external partnerships and commercial activities, making strong, strategic relationships across the sector.  Guy has worked as an examiner for the University of Cambridge examinations syndicate and has been a peer Inspector with ESTYN for over ten years. He is Deputy Chair of Colegau Cymru and serves as a Governor at a secondary school.

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Hamed Amiri

Hamed is Head of Development at NewLaw Solicitors in Cardiff where he is responsible for IT development and business systems strategy to support strategic business targets through technical innovation. He previously worked at Target Group Ltd in a similar role. Hamed arrived in the UK as an eleven year old refugee and having completed his BSc in Computer Science, he hopes to act as a role model for young people from diverse backgrounds. He volunteers as a motivational speaker and mentor and in 2016 won as ‘Inspiring the Next Generation’ award. Hamed is Governor with responsibility for Diversity.

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Sue Ball

Sue began her long career in the NHS as a nurse and has held both clinical and non-clinical managerial roles. She is currently Assistant Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, a role in which she is lead on a range of key projects for both ABUHB and NHS Wales. Sue is passionate about the importance of training and skills in the region and the need for organisations to collaborate; she is currently part of a project between the health board and Coleg Gwent to encourage young people from deprived backgrounds into medicine.

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Anthony Basnett

Baz has over 30 years’ experience in electronic engineering. He served for 17 years in HM Forces, joining as an Apprentice Electronics Engineer and rising to the rank of Warrant Officer. Baz recently joined VMWare as Director, Solutions Engineer following several years as Head of Systems Engineering at CISCO UK Enterprise. He has completed his MBA and is a Chartered Manager. He also sits on the Board of the Power Network Demonstration Centre, which is part of Strathclyde University. Baz Chairs the Board’s Finance & Resources Committee.

Liz Brimble

Elizabeth Brimble

Liz recognises the importance of choice in education and training, having gained her own qualifications in the workplace after leaving school at sixteen. She worked her way up into management roles in the financial services sector and spent time as a civilian officer with the Police National Computer Bureau. Having achieved her MBA, Liz is now Director of Qualifications, Registration and Fitness to Practice at the Education Workforce Council. She lives in the Newport area and both her children have studied at Coleg Gwent.

Aaron Feist

Aaron Feist

Aaron is a Student Governor. He is currently studying Engineering Technologies at Crosskeys Campus and is a Class Representative. He is enthusiastic about contributing to the work of the Corporation and wants to work to improve the learner experience. Aaron is a voluntary youth leader and enjoys playing the guitar.

Chris Freegard

Chris Freegard OBE

Chris first joined the Board of Coleg Gwent in 2010 and served two terms of office. Following a change in circumstances he has recently re-joined the Board. He retired from his role as Managing Director of Newport City Council in 2009 and has held a number of Board roles since. He is due to retire as a Governor of the University of South Wales shortly, having previously chaired the university’s Audit Committee and served as Vice Chair. Chris is also a Trustee of Kaleidoscope, a substance misuse charity and a former Director of Newport City Homes.

Megan Grace

Megan Grace

Megan is a Student Governor. She is studying A Levels at Crosskeys Campus and is aiming to study medicine at university. Meg has represented her school and Coleg Gwent in debating competitions and is keen to ensure that learners are at the centre of the Board’s decision making. She’s a Student Ambassador and a keen sportswoman.

Awaiting profile photo

Samantha Morgan

Sam was elected as Student Governor for Higher Education in February 2020. She is studying the Foundation Degree in Criminal Justice at Crosskeys Campus. Sam is also a Class Representative and balances her time between college, working part time in finance, running her own dog grooming business and being a mum to two young children.

Darragh Hanley-Crofts profile photo

Darragh Hanley-Crofts

Darragh is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and is a Financial Reporting Manager at the BBC where he is responsible for project managing the Annual Report and Accounts process and for providing technical accounting and reporting leadership. Prior to this, Darragh worked at PriceWaterhouseCoopers where he developed an in-depth understanding of audit and governance requirements in the public sector, including Further Education. Darragh is a keen sportsman and enjoys cricket, squash and running marathons.

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Siân Hughes

Siân is the Business Support Staff Governor. She was first appointed in 2015 and was re-elected by her peers in November 2018. Siân is professionally qualified as both a teacher and in library and information management, with expertise in learner support. She has worked as a primary school teacher in the UK and Sweden and in a range of library and learning centre roles. In her current role as Head of Learner Services at Pontypool & Usk Campus, Siân has built productive working relationships with colleagues throughout the College.

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Ray Morrison

Ray has over 30 years’ experience in marketing, business development and senior management with blue chip, global pharmaceutical companies. Since 2013 he has been the owner/director of Bluebird Care Newport, a successful domiciliary care franchise. He volunteers with The Alzheimer’s Society and is a Dementia Friends Champion, recently supporting City of Newport Campus to achieve ‘Dementia Friendly’ status. Ray is strongly committed to improving the care sector through training and partnership working and serves on a number of groups across Gwent to support this. Ray is Governor with responsibility for Safeguarding.

John Phelps

John Phelps

John began his career as an apprentice engineer and worked in industry for several years before retraining as a teacher. He worked in education for over thirty years and much of that time was spent in the FE sector. He was Vice Principal at Coleg y Cymoedd for ten years, with responsibility for curriculum and quality development. Since retiring, he has worked as a self-employed educational consultant and adviser. He is passionate about ensuring that the people of South Wales have access to first class educational experiences. John is Governor with responsibility for Health & Safety.

Matt Preece

Matt Preece

Matt is a highly experienced manager with over 25 years’ experience in the retail sector at store and regional level. He is now self-employed and works under the Business Doctors banner as a management consultant and business coach. His role provides support with strategic planning and implementation as well as ongoing support and mentoring to SME business owners in the region. Matt is a keen sportsman and a former student of the college.

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Wendy Rogers

Wendy was elected as Teaching Staff Governor in August 2018. She has worked for the College for over thirty years in different roles and is currently a part-time Health & Social Care tutor at Crosskeys Campus. In her other role as Lead Tutor for the Inspire to Achieve team at Crosskeys, Wendy supports those learners identified as being at risk of dropping out. She is a volunteer on the Torfaen School Inclusion /Exclusion Appeals Panel and has served as a Community Councillor and School Governor in the past. Wendy is the UCU Representative at Crosskeys Campus.

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Lizzie Swaffield

Lizzie is a Welsh speaker and brings to the Board extensive experience of the education and wider public sectors, particularly in relation to partnership working. She has recently taken up a new role as Qualifications Manager at Qualifications Wales and was previously Executive Programme Director: Partnership and Professional Engagement at the Athrofa, Institute of Education, University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She previously held roles at the Wales Centre for Equity in Education, UWTSD, the Heads of the Valleys Education Programme, and in local government.

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Martin Veale

Martin is Chair of the Audit Committee and brings to this role experience and expertise gained over 30 years in senior finance, audit and governance roles in the Welsh public sector. He is a Justice of the Peace and holds a number of Board and Audit Committee roles at organisations including Sport Wales, Velindre University NHS Trust and Pembrokeshire County Council. He is also a Governor at his daughter’s school.

External Co-opted Members

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Paul Davenport

Paul has served as an external, Member of the Audit Committee since December 2015. He has experience of working in both internal and external audit in the private sector and provides expertise in audit, process analysis, risk management and systems based controls. He is currently Audit Director (Europe and Asia) for Opal Vauxhall Finance, based in Cardiff. Paul previously served as treasurer and a trustee of a hospital radio charity.

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Gareth Watts

Gareth has served as an external Member of the Audit Committee since November 2015. He brings to the committee experience as an accountancy and audit professional in both the domestic and international public sector. Gareth is Head of Internal Audit at the National Assembly for Wales. He has previously held posts at the Wales Audit Office and the United Nations Board of Audit. Gareth is also a School Governor and an honorary auditor for the Unitarian Church.

Governance Officer

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Marie Carter

Marie has been Governance Officer since June 2015. She is responsible for the day to day operation of the Board, providing it with advice on procedure and policy, organising and recording meetings and record keeping; she also acts as Freedom of Information Officer for the College. Marie has worked at Coleg Gwent for twelve years, previously in learner support and teaching roles and prior to that she had a career in the Civil Service which included several years as Clerk to a Government advisory committee.