Barking and Dagenham College

Get in touch: call 020 8090 3020 

Visit our head office: Dagenham Road, Romford, Essex, RM7 0XU

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Meet the Principal

Cathy joined Barking & Dagenham College as Principal and CEO in September 2008. She is passionate about the power of learning and training, and how it can transform people’s lives.

Her vision is to create “A Truly Great College - Passionate about Success” and under her leadership student success rates have risen by 15%, business networks and partnerships have significantly increased, enhancing the student and staff experience and a 21st century set of facilities have been developed, with and through, BDC’s student views and designs!

Championing the College’s values of Innovation, Entrepreneurialism and Creativity, Cathy leads her team to deliver consistently motivational learning experiences that provide “live briefs” from businesses and offer ‘real paid work’ opportunities for students. Many of these live briefs are delivered through the Entrepreneurs’ Academy, which Cathy launched in 2009, matching live briefs from external companies with student talent. The college's Number 1 strategic priority is to provide transformational, inclusive and entrepreneurial learning. 

Cathy explains why this emphasis on real work experience is so important, “As the London economy develops eastwards it will provide a wealth of opportunity for BDC graduates. Excellent technical and professional skills are not enough on their own. The job of the BDC team is to support, encourage and inspire students to unlock their entrepreneurial potential and to develop those T-shaped skills, such as initiative, self-confidence, resilience and business acumen, that we Gazelle Colleges recognise are essential for the 21st century.”

Within a short space of time the Academy helped embed and entrepreneurial ethos into the fabric of the College, and gained national recognition. In November 2011 BDC won the TES FE Award for Outstanding Entrepreneurship in Learning and Skills. Then in November 2012 BDC secured a second TES FE Award, this time for the Outstanding E-Learning Team.

Cathy serves on a number of local, regional and national boards and she openly engages in collaborative learning, sharing and business opportunities. Through collaboration she has secured the opening of the College's brand new Technical Skills Academy in September 2012, as a result of excellent partnership working with the local council. BDC recently opened its own student designed POD (Pitch On Demand) in collaboration with local business people committed to BDC’s Gazelle Local brand - pledging to inspire students to create their own work opportunities.

Cathy started her working life as a school teacher in Scotland. She worked as a drama therapist in a Psychiatric Clinic and she has held various teaching and leadership roles previously in 5 London colleges. Other board level roles include: Association of Colleges (AoC) National Principals’ Enterprise and Curriculum Portfolio Groups; AoC London Regional Committee; Barking & Dagenham Chamber of Commerce; Barking & Dagenham Public Service Board; Barking & Dagenham 14 – 19 Partnership Board; Centre for Excellence in Manufacturing and Engineering (CEME); and, the Skills, Jobs & Employability Board (Vice Chair).