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 at local and national levels, including 20 as a teacher in community, further and higher education settings. She believes strongly in adult learning and its power to change lives for the better.  While employed by the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), she organised and supported many rural and inner-city courses. Later working for the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), she became NIACE’s Head of Learning in Families and Communities, supporting providers and researching, publishing and speaking on adult learning. On secondment to the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) she supported BIS’ work on equality and diversity and later, on secondment to the Local Government Association, she was the Senior Policy Advisor on adult education for local authorities. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Learning and Work Institute, a WEA Ambassador, and is immensely proud to be associated with Fircroft and its wonderful work.


Lesley Lucas – Vice Chair

Lesley Lucas is Vice Chair and Chairs the Audit Committee.  She has been a governor since 2003 and is a passionate believer in the life-changing impact of the college.  Lesley trained as a Chartered Accountant and her last role was as Head of Internal Audit at one the UK’s largest universities.  She is currently involved in setting up a new cooperative aiming to improve social inclusion for children and young people with additional needs.  


Paul Caulfield- External member of the Education Committee 

Paul is MBA Portfolio Leader at Nottingham Business School. In his teaching he aims to develop better business leaders with the skills, knowledge and behaviours to create a more responsible, valuable and inclusive economy. Prior to joining academia, Paul has worked with a number of global companies and NGOs on strategic business development. His research and teaching interests include: Responsible leadership and strategies for Sustainable Business Growth. He is passionate about co-creating inclusive, experiential, and collaborative learning environments both online and in the classroom.


Neena Chauhan – Staff Governor (Support)

Neena graduated with honours from University of Birmingham with a degree in Social Policy. Since graduating, she has worked for over five years in the adult education sector in social research, volunteer development, project support and marketing and communications. Neena enjoys working in education and is passionate being involved in projects that have real impact on local communities, helping improve educational opportunities and progression for all.


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

Jon is a chartered accountant with over 15 years of experience in internal audit and risk management. He has worked across a range of public and private sector organisations, including the co-operative and charity sectors. Jon is currently Head of Internal Audit at the University of Birmingham and is also on the Midlands Committee of the Institute of Internal Auditors. Jon is a long-suffering fan of Sheffield Wednesday, and also supports Yorkshire cricket, England rugby union and Minnesota Vikings in the NFL.


Roanne Finch – Staff Governor (Academic)

Roanne teaches Personal and Social Development courses at Fircroft. She is a former student who received the Collaboration and Mutual Learning Award 2017. She specialises in delivering courses on health and well-being, stress management and human behaviour. Experienced in supporting people in recovery from addiction, with mental health issues and learning difficulties, Roanne enables students to grow in self-awareness and effect positive change in their lives. She incorporates various self-help tools and techniques into her teaching practice, with a particular emphasis on mindfulness. She held a mindfulness session for all college students and staff on World Mental Health Day.


Reverend Jennifer S. Mullis OBE

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

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 he is 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.


Birgit Kehrer

Birgit Kehrer is originally from Bavaria, Germany. She has been living in the UK for about 25 years. Since 2010, Birgit has been running a social enterprise catering company in Birmingham, supporting people 'furthest from the labour market' back to work. Before that, she worked in a variety of fields whilst undertaking her part-time PhD. She has worked with young people with (social) barriers to learning within a large union led organisation in Germany , undertaken qualitative research into barriers to employment in Yorkshire as part of large EU funded structural fund project and worked in many different catering establishments alongside most of these. She has been living in Birmingham since 1999 with her partner and adopted a nearly 7 year old son, who is now a teenager. She takes a keen interest in issues related to children with care backgrounds and delivers training around adoption issues


Earl Hibbert Biography

Earl began his career in sales, recruitment and learning & development in the early 90’s, for a successful national and recognised recruitment provider. Throughout this 15-year employment he held key strategic and senior positions. Earl also ran his own business and consultancy specialising in designing and delivering bespoke recruitment and training solutions for national clients within a myriad of sectors. In 2006 he further progressed his journey within L&D where he specialised within the skills and apprenticeship sector, Earl went on to design, launch and implement a formal national skills and Apprenticeship programme for two major blue-chip recruitment and training organisations.

In 2015 he joined Pertemps Network Group as the Head of Skills and Apprenticeship Development reporting directly to the board. Earl is the strategic and operational leader of the Pertemps Network Group Apprenticeship and Skills programme. Here Earl ensures the group integrates existing recruitment and training solutions into the new Apprenticeship landscape and reforms for internal and external clients.

Earl is dedicated to his own professional development and to further enhance his commitment to L&D in 2018 he embarked upon a part time Senior Leadership Master’s Degree Apprenticeship with Aston University which is developed specifically for senior leaders.


David Chance

Dave is currently studying at Fircroft College as an Access Course student for the Social Sciences and Humanities representing the students as part of the governing body. As someone who has lived in Birmingham for the entirety of his life thus far, he believes in the value of bringing together widely diverse people of all backgrounds and allowing them to see their potential as individuals. He stresses the importance that changing your life through education should be able to take place at any point during your life and aims to bring down the barriers that prevent people from doing so. Dave enjoys reading, serial television series and various leisurely sport such as winter sport and badminton.


Luke Doherty - Biography  

Prior to reading for the Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences, Luke Doherty spent the last year working within the Religious Education and Humanities Faculty of a local High School, whilst teaching English as first language to Refugees and Asylum Seekers. In addition to this, Luke has experience working in Birmingham’s first permanent homeless shelter, Tabor House, run by Fr Hudson’s Care. The end of Luke’s school career saw him excel in roles such as the Teaching and Learning, Gifted & Talented and SEN coordinator. Here Luke’s passion for educational empowerment and support for those on the fringe of society was nurtured. A practising Roman Catholic and active member of the Labour Movement; Luke is highly invested in Social Justice and equality in educational opportunity. Luke is particularly interested in student-centric learning and student feedback. Luke now sits on the Education Committee and works in collaboration with the student body. Future ambitions include lecturing and educational consultancy. His academic interests include Modern Political History and Thomistic Theology. Luke also has an amateur interest in classical music and art.