Studio West, Tyneside’s pioneering new school for 13 to 19-year-olds, has announced leading North East businessman Bob Paton as its Chair of Governors.
Bob, who is North East Managing Director of management consultancy and technology services company Accenture, is set to take this key role on the school’s Board of Governors when it opens in September.
Inspired by High Tech High in California, the school, which guarantees students who complete their education there a place at university, a job or an apprenticeship and aims to bridge the gap between education and work, will have close links to the North East business community with a curriculum which includes real life projects set by companies.
Bob, who has worked for Accenture for more than 20 years, has specialised in the implementation of large-scale IT systems and has a particular interest in driving forward the IT skills agenda in the North East. Bob is responsible for the Accenture apprenticeship programme and is a NAS Apprenticeship Ambassador for the North East.
Before joining Accenture, Bob was a Civil Servant for 20 years, spending 13 years working in IT, where he focused on the implementation and delivery of major systems.
Born and bred in the North East, Bob is a passionate supporter of Sunderland AFC and runs a six-acre small holding in his spare time. He is married with one daughter.
Bob said: “I am honoured to be asked to take the role of Chair of Governors at Studio West and to be involved in this project from the very start. The school is the first of its kind in Newcastle and is set to be an extremely interesting and exciting institution for the region’s businesses. It is a huge opportunity for employers to communicate and influence the education sector on the skills they’d like to see in young people, and to help shape the curriculum to ensure students acquire the skills they need to get ahead in today’s increasingly competitive labour market.”
Val Wigham, Principal Designate of Studio West, said: “We are delighted to have Bob as Chair of Governors. As one of the North East’s leading business people, with experience in mentoring and championing apprentices, he is the ideal candidate for the job. He has an intrinsic understanding of not only the skills businesses look for in new recruits, but also of the potential that young people can offer employers. Bob is a fantastic role model, businessman and leader and I am sure he will be a real asset to our school.”