Harrogate College joined Luminate Education Group in August 2019. If you have any questions about governance at Harrogate College please contact Melanie Halstead, Clerk to the Board, by calling 0113 235 4498 or emailing

To find out more about governance at Luminate Education Group, please visit

Governor profiles


Alison is a freelance Business, Marketing and Communications Consultant with 25 years’ Sales, Marketing, Communications, Branding and Operations experience, An outstanding communicator and multi-lingual, Alison’s first postgraduate qualification was an MA in English and German.  She then went on to study an MSc in European Resource Management.
Alison’s international career includes roles in industrial investment and the hospitality sector within Japan, Germany, Austria, Norway, Italy, Switzerland and most recently Harrogate, UK.  

Since September 2019 Alison has been the Junior Captain in triumvir at Rudding Park Golf Club, Harrogate.  

Alison is as a co-opted member of the Harrogate College Board


Dr Annabel Feez-Smith has been working in Education since starting teaching at Harrogate College in 2001. While working in FE she was tasked with the development and lead of a Higher Education curriculum for Fashion and related FdA and BA(Hons) courses. These proved very popular, and in collaboration with colleagues in what was the School of Art and Design, helped establish a successful HE portfolio for Harrogate College. With a broad skill base across Art & Design practice and a past career as a practicing artist and designer she had a particular interest in engaging new designers and artists in developing their entrepreneurial skills. Annabel completed a Doctorate in Design Practice in 2016 focussing on enterprise in the Art, Design and Fashion curriculum, in-line with industry concern with the business skills gap that was evident in recent graduates looking for employment.

Over time at Harrogate College, Annabel has led multiple programmes across the Art & Design curriculum and most recently, has been Programme Managing the Masters in Creative Practice. Art and Design enterprise is still a top priority for Annabel who is keen to see all her graduates succeed as entrepreneurial art and design practitioners in the future.

Annabel is the staff member on the Harrogate College Board


Colin was appointed as Principal and CEO of Leeds City College in 2015 before the change to become Luminate Education Group. Prior to moving to Leeds, Colin was Principal of Barnsley College for seven years where he steered the college to an Ofsted rating of outstanding.  He has worked in the further education sector for over 35 years; his background is as a teacher and manager in Skills for Life and provision for students with disabilities or learning difficulties. He has also worked as a part-time inspector for Ofsted and the Adult Learning Inspectorate.
Colin was awarded an OBE for services to further education in the Queen’s 2015 New Year Honours list.

As Group CEO Colin is a governor of the Luminate Education Group and sits on each board within the group’s governance structure; he is also a member of the Finance Committee, Governance & Nominations Committee and Property Strategy Committee


David Thorpe is Chief Operating Officer for STEM Learning – an organisation that supports the teaching and learning of STEM subjects and positively impacts almost every school and college in the UK.  STEM Learning’s mission is to ensure a world-leading STEM education for every young person in the UK.  Prior to taking this role David enjoyed a successful career as a Finance Director and a Chief Executive. He has worked in a range of industries ranging from branded fast moving consumer goods – Nivea – and in Healthcare. 

David’s role with STEM Learning is focused on ensuring the organisation’s operational and financial performance fully supports and enhances its academic delivery. He has been instrumental in delivering the cultural change necessary to build its operating capacity throughout all regions of the country.  David strongly believes that only through improvements in teaching will learning outcomes and young people’s engagement and enthusiasm for STEM subjects increase.

David is a co-opted member of the Harrogate College Board


Ian is a retired Finance Director with some 35 years of experience developed across a range of industries in the private sector. He has a proven ability and skills to initiate and drive change and increase the effectiveness of the enterprises for which he has worked. As Finance Director, whilst having the essential role of Corporate Finance, Team Management and Risk Management, just as important is coaching and motivating teams by being questioning and challenging to ensure critical business issues are being constantly reviewed and managed.

Since retirement in 2016, Ian has played an active role as a governor, with special emphasis on finance, to a large FE college, before joining the Luminate Education Group in June 2019. He believes that through education, individuals can enhance their ‘life’ chances and experiences for the better making a positive progress in and significant contribution to today’s society.

As a governor of Luminate Education Group Ian serves on the Group Board, Harrogate College Board, Group Audit Committee and Chair of the Group Finance Committee


James is the Chief Executive Officer at Haddletons, a legal and professional services company based in Harrogate. With a background as Group General Counsel and company secretary at a large pharmaceutical company and a partner at 2 large commercial law firms, James has a wide range of experience. In private practice, James has advised both HE and FE sectors with matters of governance and compliance.  In public service, James has served as President of Leeds Law Society and as a member of the risk and audit committee of Leeds Community Foundation.  His skill set includes leadership and consensus-building.  James believes in, and acts on, ensuring that opportunities are spread across society irrespective of background and that everyone has something to give.

James is a co-opted member of the Harrogate College Board


John is a Partner with international legal services business DWF Law LLP. He has lived and worked in and around Leeds for over thirty years and first became involved with FE and HE governance in 2006 with Doncaster College. A passionate believer in the transformative power of education, John has also been a lay trustee of Leeds Beckett Students’ Union.

As a governor of Luminate Education Group John sits on the Group Board and is Chair of the Harrogate College Board and Chair of the Group Audit Committee


Louise has led the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC) since it was first established in 2002. The West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges Ltd is a company which operates on behalf of seven further education colleges in West Yorkshire. Louise has developed collaborations between the colleges and other strategic partners and stakeholders in order to better meet the skills needs of individuals and businesses in the area.   Working closely with businesses, organisations and training providers Louise has worked on projects to deliver workforce training and skills support. These programmes contribute to the economic growth of the region, tackle social mobility and connect the education and business sectors. 

Louise has worked in further education for over 30 years. A graduate of University College London and member of the British Psychological Society, Louise has taught in both colleges and universities. A resident of North Yorkshire, Louise is a passionate advocate of lifelong learning and skills.

Louise is a co-opted member of the Harrogate College Board


Phil is the CEO and founder of the Absolute Commercial Interiors Group, which has gained an enviable reputation for design, quality and delivery. He has a proven track record at the helm of numerous successful businesses over the last 20 years and firmly believes in the development of others within his organisations. He is an apprentice trained joiner, who continued his education via Leeds College of Building ending with HNC in Building Studies and membership of the Institute of Building.

Phil is mentor to colleagues and a number of fledgling businesses. Phil enjoys sharing his experience of successes and more importantly his experience of failures.

Phil is a co-opted member on the Harrogate College Board


Rickie has been teaching in a Harrogate secondary school for 13 years, taking on a range of roles including class teacher, Head of Sixth Form and Deputy Head teacher. Educated to degree level in Sport and Exercise Science, Rickie has also gained a wealth of experience teaching in other vocational areas such as Business Studies, Travel and Tourism, Public Services and Health and Social Care. During his time as a senior leader, he has developed knowledge of a range of areas such as quality assurance processes, appraisal, self-evaluation, Ofsted inspections, budgeting and safeguarding procedures. Rickie is passionate about ensuring a breadth of high quality provision and opportunities for young people across the Harrogate district.  

Rickie is a co-opted member of the Harrogate College Board


Trevor has worked in local government for over thirty years. He has been responsible for a wide range of services throughout his career but always with Economic Growth and Planning at their core having led directorates incorporating these disciplines at Teesdale DC, Ashfield DC and Scarborough BC, joining Harrogate Borough Council as Director of Economy and Culture in 2017.

Trevor recognises with enthusiasm the exciting opportunities that there are within the district and wider region to drive forward and deliver economic growth and was pleased to join the board of Harrogate College in 2019, recognising that education of the area’s young talent is critical to driving economic prosperity. He is committed to influencing and informing qualification and training provision to maximise inward investment and ensure the skill sets match the economic growth aspiration and potential of business and industry.

Trevor is a co-opted member of the Harrogate College Board


Harrogate College

Hornbeam Park Ave, Harrogate HG2 8QT United Kingdom

Tel: 0113 386 1997