Sheffield College chief leaves just two years into role

Paul Corcoran
Paul Corcoran
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The Sheffield College’s chief executive has resigned with immediate effect.

Paul Corcoran, who took over at the college two-and-a-half years ago, has left permanently less than a fortnight since taking a leave of absence ‘for personal reasons’.

Principal Angela Foulkes, who only started in her post at the beginning of the academic year, has now stepped up as acting chief executive and accounting officer.

In June Mr Corcoran announced plans for a shake-up across the college’s four campuses – City, off Granville Road, Hillsborough, Olive Grove and Peaks in Waterthorpe - that put dozens of jobs at risk. Forty senior leadership, managerial, business support and administrative posts were to be cut, as part of drive by the college to invest in frontline teaching. At the time, Mr Corcoran promised that a new job would be created for every one of the lost roles.

A consultation was launched with staff and trade unions, but there is believed to have been unease among employees about the way the restructure was being handled.

There are around 1,400 staff at the further education college, which runs full and part-time academic, vocational and professional courses for around 16,000 young people and adults each year, offering A-levels, apprenticeships and degrees.

Ms Foulkes succeeded principal Heather Smith, who retired in summer after 33 years’ service spanning various roles. A new finance director, Kate Platts, was hired in August.

Mr Corcoran, aged 52, came to the college from DeltaRail, a Derby-based railway software, technology and services company, where he was commercial director. He had also held director-level positions with Amey Infrastructure Services, Amey Datel and Jasmin Plc. Before joining industry, he worked at Derby University, including a spell as a senior lecturer in engineering. He replaced Heather MacDonald as The Sheffield College’s chief executive.

Richard Wright, chair of the college’s governing body, said: “We wish Paul well and would like to thank him for his contribution to the college, which remains focused on its top priority of transforming lives through learning and providing an inspirational experience for students.”