New senior posts at growing Askham Bryan College

Campus principal for Cumbria and the North will be supported by new director of the North East

Kate Mallender Nick Barnes, left, and Wes Johnson of Askham Bryan College
Nick Barnes, left, and Wes Johnson of Askham Bryan College

An increase in student numbers and development of further learning centres has led to two new senior posts being created at Askham Bryan College in the North.

Wes Johnson has been appointed campus principal for Cumbria and the North, building on his role as principal at Newton Rigg College.

The new position also encompasses Askham Bryan’s centres at Newcastle, Teesside and Hexham.

Mr Johnson joined Newton Rigg in January 2012, following the addition of the college to the Askham Bryan family the previous August.

In the last three years, he has overseen considerable growth there, with student numbers rising from 350 to around 800.

Mr Johnson has also taken a leading role in the £3m redevelopment of the campus that has so far seen the addition of a state-of-the-art dairy unit at the college’s Sewborwens Farm, the opening of The Frank Parkinson Building agriculture centre, and on-going improvements to the college campus, including new equine facilities.

Mr Johnson said: “I am delighted to be expanding my role to encompass the North of England as well as continuing to oversee Newton Rigg and our work in Cumbria.

“Student numbers have risen substantially. Their enthusiasm for our courses is inspiring and says much for the commitment of staff and the strength of the education we offer.

“Providing first class education in agriculture and rural courses remains at the heart of what we do and being part of the local community.

“I’m looking forward to developing this still further with our centres in Newcastle and Teesside.”

Based near York, Askham Bryan College has sites across the North of England, providing education and training at all levels, from introductory courses for school leavers to honours degrees.

Although it specialises in agriculture and countryside management, a wide range of courses are available, from business studies to sport, engineering and child care.

In July 2011, Askham Bryan acquired Newton Rigg College, before buying of a 5,000 acre Cumbrian grouse moor two years later.

The latter is now used as a teaching resource, mainly by gamekeeping and countryside management students.

Newton Rigg, meanwhile, is the only college to have its own hill farm.

Following his appointment to campus principal for Cumbria and the North, Mr Johnson will continue to be based at the Penrith campus and will be supported by Nick Barnes in a new role as director of the North East.

Mr Barnes, who was previously head of sport, public services and outdoor adventure at Newton Rigg, has strong roots in the region, having been born and educated in Darlington.

His new role will involve developing the curriculum throughout the North East sites, working to bring land-based education into Newcastle and the Tees Valley.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer