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Gill Alton awarded OBE in Queen’s 2018 Birthday Honours List for services to education

The Grimsby Institute Group is delighted to announce that Gill Alton, Chief Executive, has been awarded the rank of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to education.

First instituted by King George V in 1917 the OBE is awarded to individuals who have made major contributions at a local level, or whose work has gained a national profile.

Gill’s award was made in recognition of her unwavering commitment to further education and for her achievements in ensuring further and higher education in Grimsby, Scarborough and Rotherham played a major part in the development of hundreds of young people and adults.

It also recognises the focus that Gill has had on engaging the business community to support further and higher education.

Gill joined the Grimsby Institute in March 2016 as Chief Executive and set an agenda that saw the Group achieve superb results for its learners.

This has also been recognised with an Ofsted Outstanding rating, three AoC Beacon Awards, a TEF Silver award in higher education and numerous developments across the Group including Scarborough TEC’s new campus, which provides outstanding further education facilities in the North Yorkshire town.

With a career spanning more than 30 years, Gill started as a Lecturer in 1984 before working up to Curriculum Manager in 1990 and Vice Principal of Curriculum and Quality in 1996.

In 2010, Gill took up post as Principal and Chief Executive at Rotherham College, where she oversaw the development of the College to achieve its best Ofsted rating and become a significant stakeholder in the development of the Rotherham community.

With a wealth of experience at a senior level in further education and a strong strategic leadership capacity, Gill has been selected by the Further Education Commissioner for two influential groups; the Principals Reference Group and the National Leaders for Further Education. In both cases Gill is one of seven senior leaders who were selected to support the sector.

Gill supports the wider education sector as a Trustee of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, a Director of Open College Network in the Yorkshire and Humber region and as Vice Chair of the Mixed Economy Group, which is the leading support group for higher education professionals in a further education setting.

The regional business economy also benefits from Gill’s sector expertise as she is a member of the Humber LEP Business Development Board.

Speaking about the award, Gill said: “I was completely overwhelmed and humbled when I heard the news.

“I’d like to acknowledge and thank the people I’ve worked with, who are the very best in the sector and have achieved wonderful things for Rotherham, Grimsby and Scarborough – this award is really a result of their hard work.”

Jonathan Lovelle, Chair of the Corporation of the Grimsby Institute Group, has worked directly with Gill for many years.

Describing her as an example of the “very best leadership”, he commented: “Gill has made a difference to hundreds of thousands of learners across the communities of Yorkshire and Humber region.

“Her drive, ambition and selflessness led her into the role of CEO for the Grimsby Institute Group, which is the only college in Lincolnshire and Humber to be awarded Outstanding by Ofsted under her leadership.

“It is a privilege for me as Chairman of the Group to work alongside Gill and to see her now be formally recognised today with this honour, which is so well deserved.”

Continuing, Jonathan said Gill’s “highly innovative and enigmatic” approach to leadership has received national recognition by the FE Commissioner, with the appointment as National Leader of FE.

“Her inspirational and unwavering commitment is also shown by her supporting other colleges, which clearly shows her unwavering commitment to ensure the inclusivity and success for all.

“She works tirelessly and selflessly, allowing her co-workers to push boundaries and to achieve their full potential.

“Gill freely shares her knowledge and experience to help others achieve the same high standards. She is a truly inspirational leader.

“She is generous, fair and constant in her dealings with all she meets and is an example of the very best leadership which is so good for enabling young people to achieve their potential and improve their workforce skills.”