As he steps down from his role as principal and chief executive, Peter McCann is proud of the progress Kirklees College has made during his five years in charge.
Peter will leave in August, having joined in May 2011.
During this time the college has dramatically improved its facilities with the opening of new buildings including the Huddersfield Centre, Engineering Centre and the Process Manufacturing Centre, due to open this summer.
The college has also received national recognition including a National Beacon Award for its Aspiring Managers training programme in 2014 and a Beacon award runner-up commendation in 2015 for application of technology in learning.
“When I joined the college back in 2011 the college was faced with a £7.6m operating deficit,” said Peter.
“So my first 18 months were very difficult to get the college on an even keel financially whilst still improving teaching and learning and student success.
“We’ve had lots of further challenges since the original deficit with year-on-year cuts in adult funding up until 2015, which have made the financial journey difficult.
“It was also essential that we listened to employer needs and invested in the future for Kirklees and the employers who provide employment for our community.
“The engineering and process manufacturing centres will provide essential skills for economy and I am proud we have been able to achieve that despite our difficulties.
“The thing that kept me focused and determined was the wonderful staff and students at the college and the broader community, who supported the college and our students to succeed.”
Peter has lived in West Yorkshire for over 20 years but originates from Bootle on Merseyside.
Before embarking upon a career in further education, he went away to a seminary at the age of 10 to train to be a priest but left at the age of 19 to train and work in accountancy before undertaking voluntary service in the Seychelles.
Upon returning to the these shores he subsequently trained as a teacher before eventually finding his final career path in further education to add value to lives through the power of further education and training.
When he leaves Kirklees College Peter will continue to live in the area which he now regards as home having moved here to take up the post.
He added: “I will miss the staff and students when I leave. They have been a privilege to work with and they should be proud of all their achievements.
“If I had a message for Huddersfield and Kirklees, it is that we need to be rightly proud of our heritage but more aspirational and creative looking forward.”