Governors appointed to Southern Regional College

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry announced the appointment and reappointment of members to the Governing Body of Southern Regional College.

The Minister has appointed six new governors and re-appointed two existing governors, whose first terms of office had come to an end. The new governors are Mr Scott Alexander, Mr Aidan McCormick, Mr John Nugent, Professor Gregory O’Hare, Mr Thomas Redmond and Ms Judith Thompson.

The governors who are being re-appointed for a second term are Mrs Sinead Challinor and Mr Gordon Gough.

The appointments of Mr Alexander, Mr McCormick, Mr Nugent, Professor O’Hare, Ms Thompson, Mrs Challinor and Mr Gough took effect from 1 August 2015. Mr Redmond’s appointment will commence from 1 October 2015. All the appointments are for a period of four years.

The governing body of a further education college is responsible for securing the efficient and effective management of the college, determining its strategic direction, appointing its senior staff and ensuring that the college acts as a responsible employer.

Appointments to the governing bodies of further education colleges are not currently remunerated.


1. Southern Regional College (SRC) is one of the six, large further education colleges across Northern Ireland. It has campuses in Armagh, Banbridge, Kilkeel, Lurgan, Newry and Portadown. In 2013/14 academic year (the latest year for which full, validated statistics are available), SRC had over 33,000 enrolments and employed an average staff of 1,018 (equating to a full time equivalent of 735.37 staff).

2. The new appointments are being made by the Minister following a public appointments competition. Both the appointments and reappointments are being made in accordance with the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.

3. Appointments and reappointments to the Governing Bodies of Further Education Colleges are for a period of four years and are not currently remunerated. However, plans to remunerate chairs and members of the college governing bodies are in train. It is anticipated that remuneration will be introduced during the early part of the term of these appointments.

4. Mr Scott Alexander is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and is currently employed as Head of Learning and Development at Legal Island, where his role includes the design of training events on employment law developments through the island of Ireland. Mr Alexander does not currently hold any other public appointments.

5. Mr Aidan McCormick is a qualified science and careers teacher and is currently employed as Education Advisor in the Education Authority, Southern Region (formerly the Southern Education and Library Board) School Improvement Service. He is a member of the Curriculum Advisory and Support Service (CASS) Senior Management Team, a member of the Local Management of Schools (Funding) Assessment Panel and of the Education Authority Southern Region School Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Appointment Team. He has Northern Ireland responsibility for the Department of Education (DE) funded STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Careers Information, Advice and Guidance programme; the DE funded Careers Teachers Continuous Development programme and the development of Work Experience procedures. Mr McCormick does not currently hold any other public appointments.

6. Mr John Nugent is currently employed as Deputy Director of Estates Management at Queen’s University Belfast and is a member of the Directorate senior management team which has overseen the development and ongoing implementation of the University’s Estates Strategy. He is a fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Mr Nugent does not currently hold any other public appointments.

7. Professor Gregory O’Hare is currently employed as Associate Professor at the School of Computer Science and Informatics, University College Dublin (UCD). He is presently also Director of UCD Earth Institute. During his career, Professor O’Hare has acted as an external examiner for Universities and for the Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) and is an international reviewer and expert in his field. Professor O’Hare does not currently hold any other public appointments.

8. Mr Thomas Redmond has worked in the Northern Ireland Civil Service since March 1976. His current post is as Head of Branch with responsibility for estates development across the further education sector. During his career he has worked in many areas of government including benefits administration, Employment Service, Careers Guidance and Further Education. For many years, Mr Redmond has been involved with community organisations, sports clubs and other organisations. These include Honorary Secretary of Warrenpoint Golf Club and member and chair of board of governors for St Colman’s Primary School, Newry. Mr Redmond does not currently hold any other public appointments.

9. Ms Judith Thompson holds a professional qualification in social work and has 20 years experience in the profession, as practitioner, a manager and as the organisational lead for skills and training for the Probation Board for Northern Ireland. She is currently employed by Skills for Justice as Business Development Manager for Northern Ireland and Scotland. Skills for Justice is the licensed Sector Skills Council for the justice, financial and legal sectors. From 1 September 2015 she has been appointed as the new Commissioner for Victims and Survivors for Northern Ireland; an appointment which attracts an annual salary of £75,000.

10. Mrs Sinead Challinor is a registered teacher with the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland and is a substitute teacher within the Education Authority Southern Region. She is also a volunteer with the Multiple Sclerosis Society. She has been a governor at SRC since August 2011. Mrs Challinor does not currently hold any other public appointments.

11. Mr Gordon Gough is the Chief Executive of Enterprise Northern Ireland, the membership organisation for the local enterprise agency network in Northern Ireland. An MBA graduate from the Open University, he also holds an MSc in Human Resource Management and he is also a Fellow of the Institute of Consulting and a past Chairman of the Northern Ireland branch. Mr Gough has a particular interest in economic development, enterprise, entrepreneurship and community regeneration. He has worked with many small businesses and community groups in the Craigavon area. He has also worked on various small business development projects in the EU, USA and Australia over the past fifteen years. His technical skills and expertise are in the areas of business planning, strategy and leadership, corporate governance, communications, media and public relations, financial planning, lobbying and coaching. He has been a governor at SRC since August 2011. Mr Gough does not currently hold any other public appointments.

12. All appointments are made on merit and political activity played no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published. In the last five years, Mr Alexander canvassed on behalf of the Scottish Socialist Party in connection with the Scottish Referendum. In the last five years, Mrs Challinor held office as Chair, Treasurer or Secretary of a local branch of the SDLP and canvassed on behalf of this political party, or helped at elections. Mr Gough, Mr McCormick, Mr Nugent, Professor O’Hare, Mr Redmond and Ms Thompson have not carried out any political activity in the past five years