Roger Cadbury – Patron

Roger has an MA degree from Cambridge. His career was in business in the food industry heading up various companies. He has chaired several voluntary bodies including the Bournville Village Trust, the Croft Trust for Adult Education, and the Warwick Independent School Foundation. He is a past Governor of Fircroft College and currently Patron.


Dr Cheryl Turner – Chair

Cheryl has over 40 years’ experience of working in adult learning. Her career has included teaching in FE, HE and community settings, developing and organising diverse programmes in inner-city/ rural areas, research, policy development, speaking, facilitating, and writing.

Cheryl joined the governing body in 2015 is the Chair of the Governing Body, Chair of Operations Committee, and Chair of Governance Committee. She is also a member of the Education Committee.

"My work has always focused on social justice and how learning transforms lives so I share Fircroft’s Mission and Values. Socially purposeful adult learning has never been more important and so it’s a privilege to contribute to and support this by being a College governor" - Dr Cheryl Turner.

In her spare time, Cheryl is a keen walker and reader (when she get the chance) and is very fond of doing both in Cornwall.


Mel Lenehan - Governor and Fircroft College Principal and CEO

Mel has always worked in the education sector. She started as a practitioner teaching in higher, further and adult education in the areas of Sociology, Politics and Psychology. Before joining Fircroft College, Mel spent 15 years working in a variety of roles for the WEA. Mel is passionate about adult education and the way it can change lives.


Claire Mutchell - Staff Governor 

Claire joined the governing body in December 2020. Claire has 2 careers, the first in training and education in the public sector and the second in careering and hospitality, recently becoming Fircroft's newest Kitchen Manager. 

Claire started her career teaching life skills to disaffected teenagers, she then worked at Birmingham and Solihull Learning and Skills Council, where, amongst other positions, she managed funding for a caseload of Further Education, Apprenticeship and Adult and Community Learning Providers. Claire finished her career in this sector as a WorkForce Strategy Manager at Solihull Council, this was a multi-agency role where she had responsibility for training the Children’s workforce and developing inter-agency relationships.

For the last 11 years, Claire has worked in hospitality and catering. She was a Head Chef and personal chef in France, Austria and Italy. In the UK Claire has been a Catering Manager and redesigned and created Catering provision in two different organisations.

I believe passionately in Fircroft’s mission and values; in particular, social justice, social mobility and sustainability. I really believe we can make a difference to the local community and make an impact on climate change - Claire Mutchell.

Claire enjoys nature and gardening, as well as exploring the link between our food and climate change. Creating a more sustainable food chain is very important to her. She also enjoys painting, music and the arts and is a am a keen skier and traveller.


Makhdoom Chishti

Makhdoom has broad experience in dealing with principles of public life in relation to selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. Makhdoom was an executive management professional with over 35 years of experience, working in public, private and voluntary sectors. He was responsible for the management and development of a portfolio of major development projects that delivered Birmingham’s housing, international kabaddi tournaments, Birmingham Paralympics, international exchange programme, employment, regeneration and economic development objectives. Makhdoom has previously been associated with Birmingham City Council in diverse roles such as Equality and Community Engagement Executive and Principal Strategy and Projects Manager. He is currently working as a Community Development Consultant.


Jon Darling - Vice-chair of the Governing Body and Chair of Audit Committee 

Jon is a chartered accountant with 20 years of experience in internal audit and risk management. He has refreshed and relaunched several internal audit functions and frameworks to make them more risk-based in their planning and reporting. Jon has been a Governor for 3 years. 

"Fircroft gives people a chance to improve themselves through education, especially where they’ve faced barriers and challenges that have affected their opportunities. Fircroft provides the learning environment for this and supports a range of wider initiatives that focus on social justice. It’s also a great team of governors and leadership, and I enjoy their company and learning from them" - Jon Darling.

Jon is a big sports fan, supporting Sheffield Wednesday, Yorkshire CCC and Minnesota Vikings. He loves reading crime novels and Calvin and Hobbes cartoons, and has a wide and varied Spotify playlist, from Doris Day to Metallica.


Reverend Jennifer S. Mullis OBE - Chair of the Remuneration Committee

Jen left the Civil Service (after 30 years) in March 2017. She is the Managing Director of Wordsmith and Willow Limited - a small consultancy company specialising in: Further education and skills policy; Solutions for disengagement and poor aspirations in young people; Strategic development of organisations; and Unlocking creativity for personal development and growth. Jen is a Methodist Minister and was awarded an OBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours’ List for her work contribution to Further Education and the communities in Yorkshire


Tom Pettitt - Chair of Education Committee

Tom has spent all his working career in the Third Sector, generally running small charities. These include an environmental organisation, a volunteer group, an IT training charity and a Law Centre. Currently, Tom has retired from his role as Head of Finance at Woodbrooke, a Quaker education and conference centre just 400 yards from Fircroft. A regular cyclist, he helped form Pushbikes, Birmingham’s cycling campaign group, back in the days when the car was seen as king in Birmingham. Tom is currently the Chair of the Education Committee.


Parminder Garcha 

Parminder works as Senior Responsible Officer – Adult Education, at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. Previously he worked at Birmingham City Council, serving as Head of Service for 14-19 Participation and Skills and Interim Head of Careers. He is an expert in Post 16 education, adult education, employability and skills. This has been gained through extensive experience of working with local colleges, training providers, voluntary sector, schools, employers and councils for over 20 years. He is passionate about the young people and adults achieving their full potential into higher education, employment and/or apprenticeships.

He has held several roles previously at the Learning and Skills Council, firstly at the Black Country office as the lead for European funding, managing multi-million-pound budgets and then as lead for adult skills in Sandwell. He transferred to the Birmingham and Solihull office, where he led on several projects including college mergers, work-based learning, apprenticeships, quality and intervention.

Prior to working in public service, he held several roles, working for British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, a national environmental charity, a local welfare-to-work provider and a community education charity. He started his career as a young entrepreneur in the publishing business.

Parminder has served as a Board member of several local charities and colleges and holds several positions: He is Chairperson of Sikh Nari Manch UK, a small local charity working in the field of social welfare and adult learning in Erdington, North Birmingham. He is Trustee of Victoria Specialist College in Northfield, who support young adults with Profound Multiple Learning Disabilities and Complex Health Care needs. He is also Governor at Joseph Chamberlain Sixth-Form College, judged ‘outstanding’ in inner-city Birmingham.

His varied other interests include parenting, being a father of two children, currently in secondary schools in Birmingham and teaching Yoga. He qualified as a Kundalini Yoga Teacher in 2009 and runs various classes and retreats. He is currently studying for an MSc in Public Leadership and Management at the University of Birmingham.


Vivienne Shapley - Safeguarding Link Governor 

Vivienne previously worked for over ten years for British Waterways, which later became Canal & River Trust, whose aim is to provide wellbeing for all. During this time Vivienne specialised in property portfolio management and currently works for Galliford Try as an Internal Audito. Vivienne has been on the board for a year and also sits on the Staff and Student Services Committee and Operations Committee. 

"I am passionate about continued development both in the classroom, professionally and personally having seen and experienced the positive and transformative impact this can have on an individual’s life". - Vivienne Sharply.

Vivienne also dedicates her time to being a leader at her local Brownies where she enjoys helping the Brownies try new things, have fun and fulfil their potential.


Yusuf (Joseph) Abdel-salam - Student Governor 

Yosuf has been a student governor representing our Student Voice for the past 3 years. Yusef worked in Amman, Jordan as an assistant lecturer at a private college. He completed voluntary work in the Addiction and Recovery sector in the UK which he found to be very rewarding.

"The social justice ethos is at the heart of the college and also my own. It is therefore a privilege to be even a minute part of this mission of helping towards achieving that ethos" - Yusuf (Joseph) Abdel-salam

Yusef's other passions and interests include Islam, Philanthropy, Yoga, 12-step recovery Art, Graffiti, Family, History, Politics, and Religion.