Principal to become the first CEO of the new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research

Following the announcement made by Jeremy Miles, Welsh Government Education Minister earlier this week, the College is pleased to announce the successful appointment of our current Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Simon Pirotte as the first CEO of the newly formed Commission for Tertiary Education and Research (CTER).

The Commission will be the strategic authority for overseeing all aspects of Tertiary Education and Research in Wales, a new Welsh Government sponsored body created under the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Act.

The Commission will be responsible for the strategy, funding and oversight of further education (FE), including colleges and school sixth-forms, higher education (HE), including research and innovation, adult education, adult community learning, apprenticeships and training.

Since joining Bridgend College as Principal and CEO in 2013, Simon has led the College in delivering some outstanding results. Following a full inspection by His Majesty’s Inspector Estyn in March 2022, the College was praised for its strong supportive and inclusive culture for learners and staff.

The College continues to build upon its previous excellent Estyn inspection result, achieving a number of prestigious awards in recent times, including the Times Educational Supplement UK FE College of the Year and ranking in the top 50 ‘Best Large Companies to Work For in the UK’, being placed at number 33 in the Best Companies list for 2022. The College also achieved number 8 in the ‘Best Companies to Work for in Wales’ category and 3rd in the UK within the ‘Education and Training’ category for 2022.

In 2018, Simon received the award for ‘UK Institute of Directors Public/Third Director of the Year’ and in 2021, Simon was recognised in the New Year’s Honours List, receiving an OBE for his services to higher and further education, having made significant impact throughout his career, spanning the school, further education and higher education sectors.

Current Deputy Principal, Vivienne Buckley, will become the interim Principal and CEO of Bridgend College, enabling the governing body to formally commence a recruitment process to appoint permanently to the role.

“The appointing panel for the Interim Principal of Bridgend College was unanimous in its decision to appoint Viv Buckley to lead the College following Simon Pirotte’s appointment to CTER. As Chair of Governors, I look forward to working with Viv, who is an exceptionally gifted and energetic leader and one who will be purposeful and determined to build on the current success of the College.”

Jeff Greenidge, Chair of the Governing Body of Bridgend College

“Bridgend College is a very special place and I shall miss it so much. I am incredibly proud of the College’s sustained journey of success. Achieving excellence is one thing, but maintaining it and improving takes commitment and dedication of incredible staff, governors and partners who create an inclusive environment for our learners to be happy, safe and successful.

I feel absolutely privileged to have been trusted to lead such a wonderful organisation, surrounded by talented and passionate staff. I will be taking on an exciting yet challenging new role, which I know will be pivotal in shaping post-16 education in Wales for future generations.

I am delighted that the governing body of the College have decided to appoint Vivienne Buckley as the interim Principal and CEO. Viv is an outstanding, capable and ambitious leader and will provide stability and consistency for the College during this transitional period.”

Principal and Chief Executive of Bridgend College, Simon Pirotte OBE

The College has ambitious plans to open a new campus in Bridgend town centre in 2025, following a £30m investment in a new STEAM Academy and Land Based Centre at our Pencoed Campus last year. You can read more about these exciting plans here: 

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