HALTON College is looking forward to making new appointments and a major investment in the wake of the resignation of principal Graham Hilton.
The college, which has campuses on both sides of the Mersey, has already appointed a new vice principal and acting principal, Ray Dowd has revealed early stage proposals to create a brand new campus in Widnes town centre which could cost up to £30 million.
Mr Dowd said he aimed to boost standards and pointed to solid results in the college's latest inspection. He said his aim was to work towards excellence in all areas of higher education.
He said: 'My primary interest is to take forward the agenda set by the board which is to work towards being excellent in terms of the provision of further education. I have great expectations.
'We have a good and successful record - we were re-inspected in October and all four areas were graded as 'satisfactory.' Therefore we have no areas of concern left in the college - which is a positive.
'We are in the process of looking at how we can properly reward and recognise the contribution of our staff because our staff are very important and have done a sterling job and we want to ensure that we can keep them and encourage them.'
Mr Dowd said that the students in Runcorn and Widnes would be welcoming a new vice principal but the appointment of a permanent principal was still to be made.
He said: 'There are no names in the pipeline. I am acting principal but the nature of the way I was appointed prevents me from becoming a permanent principal to the college.
'However, we have appointed a new vice principal who starts in April. Patricia Grimwell has a commercial background and is very pleased to be appointed and looking forward to the challenge.
'In the longer term the Government is keen that we improve the skills of our nation. One of the issues we have to address is how we work with local employers to raise the skill levels and qualifications of the workforce and she will bring that experience in.'
He added: 'We know there is growth in the construction industry for jobs, we know that health and social care is an area for growth and we know manufacturing in Halton is very positive with lots of inward investment. So these are things which will determine the type of college that we need to be. What we are doing now is starting to plan for that future.'