Education Partnership North East (EPNE), which comprises Sunderland College, Hartlepool Sixth Form College and Northumberland College, has announced the appointment of two new Governors.

Nick Collins, Chief Financial Officer at Newcastle University and Darren Sterling, who is Regional Director of Equans, joined the group earlier this month.

Nick studied A-Levels at Sunderland College which prepared and encouraged him to apply to Oxford University. After graduating with a degree in Physics, he returned to the North East and joined the graduate accountancy programme at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Newcastle where he completed his accountancy qualification. After nine years, Nick then moved to Virgin Money following their acquisition of Northern Rock and worked in a series of senior finance roles.

Now the CEO of Newcastle University – responsible for the institution’s financial sustainability as well as overseeing the IT service and the Estates team – he hopes to use his career experience and knowledge of Higher Education to bring value to EPNE through his role on the Finance and Resources Committee.

Upon his appointment, Nick said: “I’m really excited to be joining the Finance and Resources Committee of EPNE. I hope to use the experience and knowledge of my career to date to help the College in delivering its vision.”

Darren is a firm believer in preparing young people for jobs of tomorrow, believing in the benefits of Apprenticeships for providing real-world skills and experiences.

Having held several senior roles at companies such as Regional Director at Robertson North West, where he transformed the North West business unit, he has experience of leading multi-disciplinary teams across a variety of projects in the region.

Darren said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as a Governor for Education Partnership North East, having worked closely with the team when Equans has been a construction partner to the group in the past. I’ve been able to see their enthusiasm for supporting the dreams and ambitions of young people across the North East first-hand.

“At Equans, I’m a passionate believer in equipping our workforce with the skills and experience to stay at the cutting edge of construction and Zero Carbon development, and it’s that same spirit that I’ll be bringing to the Board of Governors for EPNE.”

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19