Tomorrow will mark the end of a chapter for college worker Carol King who is embarking on an exciting new challenge to help women in Saudi Arabia become businesswomen.
Miss King, who has worked as schools link manager at West Suffolk College for 12 years, will leave the post tomorrow to take up a role at one of three new colleges of excellence being established in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Leaving England on August 5, she is to become deputy dean, in charge of student services, at the Unaizah Female College of Excellence.
The mother-of-three, from Woolpit, was approached about the new job by someone she met at a women’s leadership network meeting held at the Bury St Edmunds college earlier this year.
“I was flabbergasted because it came completely out of the blue - I didn’t apply for the job,” she said.
She added: “I’ve been here 12 years and I was at Lowestoft before that, so I’ve spent 26 years working in further education. I will miss the people very much and would have been happy to stay, especially with the new principal and vice principal - I think they’ve got a lot of vision - but I said to Nikos (the principal) I can’t give up this opportunity, not when I’m 55, as they don’t come around very often.”
The new colleges will be run by the Hertfordshire Vocational Education Consortium (HERTVEC) as part of a five-year multi-million pound contract to deliver modern vocational education in the country.
Miss King said the project was designed to give young people ‘employability skills’ and that young women at her college would have the chance to start up their own businesses, though likely in traditional female area like childcare and healthcare.
“It’s about enabling young Saudi women to become entrepreneurial where they may not have had the opportunity previously,” said Miss King, adding, “I feel intrepid.”
Her departure from West Suffolk College has created a new role for Angela Whatley, formerly head of faculty of business, art and services industries, who is to become assistant principal, learning partnerships and professional development.
The new role will incorporate some of the key aspects of Miss King’s previous position and has been developed to forge stronger relationships with schools in the area and to ensure the delivery of quality teaching and learning.
Ms Whatley, who has worked at the college for 24 years, said “I’m really excited by this role and continuing to strategically work alongside schools in the area. I will pick up some of Carol’s excellent work and continue to develop mutually beneficially partnerships with schools in the region.
“I will also have responsibility to ensure the high standards of teaching that West Suffolk College is known for is upheld and, along with my colleagues, ensure our students have the best possible learning experience and environment.”