Dr Lis Smith takes up her role as Principal and Chief Executive at Preston College.

The former Director of Skills and Employment at the North West Development Agency has over 20 years experience working with the further and higher education sector.

Dr Smith has previously worked to improve skills, employability and productivity throughout the region. Her most recent role saw her working with education and skills institutions and agencies and facilitating major initiatives and projects.

With an extensive academic background including a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Sciences, Dr Smith brings vast experience and a clear commitment to education and learning to Preston College as the FE sector faces a very testing future.

Dr Smith joins the College at a challenging time for the Further Education sector generally, following the recent Comprehensive Spending Review and subsequent cuts to funding.

However, as a result of decisions taken during the previous academic year, the College is now in a much stronger position to move forward and overcome the challenges associated with reductions in funding, whilst retaining a clear focus on high quality outcomes for its learners.

Outgoing Principal Willie Mills said: “Dr Smith will take over a successful college with sound finances, fantastic students, exceptional staff and a brand new redevelopment programme.”

It is also worth highlighting that it is a hugely exciting time for Preston College, with a new £5m Visual and Performing Arts Centre due to open at Fulwood campus in September, and a host of national awards being won by many departments, students and staff.

Preston College’s multi-million pound new development will see industry standard TV, radio, music and drama studios opening, to give students a real understanding of the creative industries while they study. The centre will also help to boost the College’s provision and reputation in this growing area.