Mick Farley

Board Chair

Mick Farley has extensive and senior experience of working in schools, colleges and universities. He has worked nationally for NATFHE as its FE Officer during which time he represented the TUC on a number of national bodies before being seconded to the then MSC. He was Sheffield City Council’s Senior Adviser Post-16 before moving to Liverpool as one of two Deputy Directors. In both roles he represented the then Association of Metropolitan Authorities on a number of national bodies. He became Deputy Chief Executive of Merseyside TEC before becoming Chief Executive of Careerdecisions Ltd, following the ‘privatisation’ of Careers Services. Whilst on Merseyside, Mick was a member of a College Governing Body and chaired its Audit Committee. He was involved in the formation of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) and served for a time on its Governing Body. On the formation of the LSC, Mick moved to Cumbria as the Executive Director of LSC Cumbria. He was invited to join the Board of Cumbria Tourism, resigning when he left the LSC. He became Deputy Chair of Inspira (formerly Connexions Cumbria Ltd.) which he now Chairs. On leaving the LSC, Mick joined the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) as the University’s Director for Cumbria. He played a key role in the due diligence process that led to two of UCLan’s campuses, Carlisle and Penrith, transferring to the newly created University of Cumbria. He was the lead for UCLan in the development of the school Academy (West Lakes Academy) in North Copeland (West Cumbria) which the University is sponsoring together with Sellafield Ltd. and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. He was the first Chair of the Academy’s Governing Body, leaving the Governing Body in December 2010 when his employment with UCLan ceased. Since then he has undertaken consultancy work for both the University and the Cumbrian FE colleges. Mick has also been a consultant to the then Eden 14-19 Partnership. He was founder Director, with Sir George Sweeney, of Sweeney Associates Ltd., an education and training consultancy. He is a Trustee of the Westlakes Research Limited which trades as the Samuel Lindow Foundation. In early 2014, Mick was asked by the Northern Education Trust which runs a chain of Academies to Chair the Governing Body of one of its Academies, Kearsley, in Bolton, The Academy had been judged as ‘requiring improvement’. In 2015 Ofsted judged the Academy to be good and its safeguarding to be outstanding. In 2013, Mick received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Cumbrian Newspapers Annual Education and Training Awards (the Golden Apples). And in June 2015, in the 200th edition of ‘Cumbria Life’, he was named as one of the top 200 ‘Greatest Cumbrians’ who have made their mark on the Lakes and Cumbria. Mick was one of ten people in the ‘Public Office’ section “who made especially notable contributions.” His citation says “The former head of the Learning and Skills Council was one of the County’s leading figures in post-16 education”. Mick chaired the national group responsible for developing the original modern Apprenticeship framework for the arts and entertainment industries. He has written extensively on education and training matters and continues to write a regular column for “Learning”, a monthly supplement published in local west Cumbrian newspapers. He has been a Trustee of SKILL; a member of the Education and Training Panel of the Arts Council for England; a Board member of Equality North West; a Parliamentary candidate; and a senior Bedfordshire County Councillor.