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The Pryce has been right for region’s Further Education

Ian Pryce CBE retires as CEO of The Bedford College Group having transformed educational and training opportunities across the region. Businesses and politicians pay tribute to him at a special event in Bedford on December 7.


RETIRING AFTER 28 years, more than 25 of them as CEO, Ian Pryce leaves behind a modern Further Education college group fit to train people for the demands of the future…

Ian’s leadership has taken Bedford College from an organisation building on the past engineering glories of the town of Bedford, to a regional group serving Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes, which truly shows how Further Education can meet the skills needs of modern Britain.

Growing from Bedford College there followed a merger with Shuttleworth College, near Biggleswade, another with Tresham College in Northamptonshire and most recently Central Bedfordshire College in Dunstable. 

Tresham included the National College for Motorsport at Silverstone and then a link with the UTC at the same world-famous location.

It is fitting that Ian’s retirement coincides with the official refurbishment of the 1959 tower block at Bedford. The building is now a shining beacon of the very latest digital, science and technology training. 

Earlier this year a new Sixth Form establishment was opened in Corby town centre, the latest in a long, long line of offerings. 

The Bedford College Group is now rated one of the top ten colleges in the UK – it was recently named the national College of the Year. The group is an excellent example of how loyal and consistent leadership can result in really positive outcomes for communities.

Ian’s achievements were recognised when he received a CBE in 2011 for services to further education. That success has been sustained  and today The Bedford College Group’s student numbers stand at 18,000, having risen from 5,000 when Ian took over as chief executive in 1998.

The Bedford College Group is the largest provider in the region of education for students aged 16-18. It supports thousands of apprenticeships and sends more young people to university than any other establishment in the region.

As an accountant by profession, Ian knows that only the most robust, efficiently financed organisations can adapt to meet the changing demands of government and the community. A solid financial base has allowed The Bedford College Group to deliver the best value service in challenging times and financial astuteness has enabled it to access millions of pounds in funding for the benefit of the local community. In doing so, it offers to its students a more modern choice of learning.

Take into account all the projects that the Bedford College Group has brought to Bedford under Ian’s leadership and it adds up to more than £100 million being invested in education. This includes:

  • Sponsorship of the £25 million project that is Bedford Academy.
  • He chaired to opening of the national success story that is Bedford Free School.
  • The former Harpur Trust school in Bromham Road became the modern Bedford Sixth Form which now has nearly 1,000 students – a blueprint which is now being repeated in Corby with the new sixth form which opened this autumn.
  • Transformation of Shuttleworth College, an old-style agricultural facility, into a modern land-based learning centre.
  • Delivering to the community of Wixams a much-needed primary and secondary school as part of Bedford College Academies Trust.
  • Increasing the value of a University Technical College at Silverstone with links to The Bedford College Group’s National College for Motorsport .

Today, The Bedford College Group has links with over 1,500 employers ranging from global giants such as Lockheed Martin, Tata Steel, Weetabix and Vauxhall to start-up businesses across the region.

Employability and entrepreneurship have long been qualities which have been instilled into students and which Ian has encouraged. He has led by example and allowed talent to flourish among students and staff so leaves behind a lasting legacy of a Further Education college group fit to face the challenges ahead.

Ian’s successor as CEO is Yiannis Koursis OBE.


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