A NEW figure has been appointed to lead York College.

Lee Probert will take over as principal and chief executive of the region’s largest further education college on June 1 when Dr Alison Birkinshaw retires after 11 years at the helm.

Mr Probert who has been principal and chief executive at City of Bristol College since January 2016 said he was excited to be taking up the post.

The news was announced by the governors at college, where more than 7,000 students are enrolled.

Chair of governors Shirley Collier said: “York College has thrived under Alison Birkinshaw’s leadership and we are very pleased to be appointing someone of Lee’s calibre with a track record in building strong teams and putting students at the heart of a college.

“We value our relationships with our community – with our students and their families, and working with employers across the city and beyond.

“We are delighted to have found someone who embraces partnership working and who has strong values to guide their work. We look forward to seeing Lee establish himself in the region and build on everything Alison has achieved to ensure that all our students progress and are equipped with the qualifications and skills they need.”

Mr Probert said: “Under Dr Birkinshaw’s leadership the college has become nationally renowned for the quality of education it provides to students across Yorkshire. I am looking forward to joining the established leadership team and working with them and the board of governors, staff and students, to continue this journey of excellence, whilst seeking opportunities to ensure the college is well placed to respond and benefit from the changing requirements of colleges.

“I look forward to bringing my skills, experience and networks to bear to support the college’s continued development.”

Dr Birkinshaw said: "Serving as principal for York College and the local and regional community is a great privilege and I have every confidence that Lee will be supported, as I have been, by parents, businesses, and community groups so that we know all our students will continue to be successful as they move on to the next stage in their careers.”

Mr Probert is also on Bristol’s Learning City Partnership Board and chairs the Post 16 Strategy Group for the City of Bristol. He is a member of the Trust in Learning (Academies) Board of Directors and the South West CBI Regional Council as well as the CBI’s National Employment and Skills Board.

Until December 2015 he served as the deputy chief executive of the Hull College Group, prior to which he was a director for the Learning and Skills Council national office in Coventry; the Executive Director of the 157 Group; an independent Governor of the University of Worcester and Chair of the Board of Directors of Sirius Academy.