Former West Cheshire College principal Sara Mogel has been made an OBE for services to vocational education in the New Year’s Honours list.

She retired from her post as principal of West Cheshire College in the spring of 2013 having worked in education for all of her career.

When she took over at West Cheshire College at the end of 2000 the college had property, financial and quality issues.

On her retirement the college had become a respected vocational specialist college with two new campuses in Ellesmere Port and Chester, it was financially sound and had been judged good with many outstanding features by Ofsted.

Working with employers and delivering training and apprenticeships tailored to their needs became key to the success of the college.

The college also became the first in the country to have a Jobcentre Plus office on its campus and was nationally recognised for getting the long term unemployed into work.

It won national beacon awards for practical teaching and practical learning and for inclusion.

During her time at the college, Sara chaired an organisation of all Northwest English colleges called Fusion which supported colleges and private training providers in meeting the needs of employers.

She was on the board of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, the Ellesmere Port Development Board and Chester Renaissance.

She was also on the board of a college in Halton and a school in Chester.

Prior to joining West Cheshire College, Sara was an inspector and then senior inspector for the Further Education Funding Council for England.

In this capacity she was responsible for national good practice reports and inspection reports for the humanities and for leadership and management.

She also supported the work of the Kennedy Committee on widening participation in further education which changed the funding methodology for further education in England to encourage colleges to enrol adults who had not been previously been successful in education.

She has been a local education officer in Cheshire and manager in both a school and college in Kent.

Sara said: “This is a tremendous honour and I am delighted to see recognition for vocational education.

“When I started out to deliver vocational learning which aimed to make students employable and work ready this was an unusual thing.

“I was lucky to be surrounded by talented people at West Cheshire College who were able to bring about this revolution in learning and open it up to all.”

Sara is not alone in her family in being on the New Year’s honours list.

She added: “The most amazing thing is my sister, Mary Berg, has been made an MBE for education, heritage and charity work in Kent.

“It can’t happen very often that sisters are honoured in this way. It makes it very special for both of us.”

Sara is still busy in her retirement. She is a trustee of Signature, a charity promoting and supporting excellence in communication with deaf people, a member of the Museums and Attractions Partnership of the Canals and Rivers Trust, a director of the Women’s Leadership Network, an assessor for the National Beacon Awards scheme and an adviser and consultant for further education.