Home / News / Long-standing Burnley College Chairman of Governors Steps Down

Long-standing Burnley College Chairman of Governors Steps Down

After serving as a Burnley College Governor for over 15 years, Chairman David Meakin is preparing for retirement. With a background as a qualified Accountant and a BSc (Hons) degree in Mathematics, he’s also enjoyed a remarkable 35-year career within the NHS, retiring in 2005 as Director of Finance and Deputy Chief Executive of the local health authority.

Reflecting on a Decade of Growth and Expansion

Over the last decade, David has seen his vision of expansion and growth for Burnley College come to life, leading the governing board in a close, strategic relationship with the College’s senior managers.

“We aimed to grow our student base, and we’ve been successful in that regard, he shares.

His time as a governor has seen seismic shifts within the educational landscape of East Lancashire, including the Building Schools for the Future project and the relocation of Burnley College from its long-standing home in Ormerod Road to a purpose-built Campus in Princess Way, Burnley.

New qualifications have been introduced – including the most recent T Levels – and Ofsted was established to monitor standards within the education sector. Themis, the award-winning Apprenticeship training arm of Burnley College was established, as well as North West Business Training, the College’s business training arm.

Burnley College has been named Number 1 College in England in the Government’s National Achievement Rate Tables for 16–18-year-olds and Covid turned the way education and training was delivered on its head.

Key partnerships with innovative universities which share the College’s dynamic, forward-thinking ethos – UCLan, Bolton, Buckinghamshire New and Edge Hill  – have been forged and the College’s own university-level provision (Burnley College University Courses) has grown.

Behind all these momentous changes, a tight and well-controlled financial base has allowed the College to thrive and carry out its mission to Build Futures and Change Lives; to expend its £115 million Campus to accommodate growing numbers and to forge exciting new partnerships with industry leaders, employers and Burnley Borough Council.


It’s been a privilege working in a College that not only has a vision but puts it into practice.
Our engagement with employers has grown significantly, and we’ve worked with some truly innovative companies.

David Meakin

Retiring Chairman of the Governors at Burnley College

Changes and Accomplishments as the Chair of Governors

As the Chair of Governors, David has witnessed significant changes in the funding for education and the College’s dynamic approach to Building Futures and Changing Lives, reaching out to those across the region, of all ages and backgrounds, to support them in achieving their ambitious goals.

But what is he most proud of during his tenure?

“Seeing student success, even amidst the challenges of Covid, has been incredibly rewarding,” David reflects.

“From the Themis Awards to graduations that lift the entire town, celebrating our Students at these events has been a highlight of my time here.”

He also takes pride in attracting key politicians and members of the Royal Family to the College.

“Getting the core business right is key, and I’m proud to be associated with such a successful organisation.”


Leaving Burnley College in Good Shape

As he prepares for retirement, David is confident about for the future of Burnley College. “We’re in great shape. Recruitment numbers are up, and our finances are in a strong position,” he shares.

David Brown, his successor as Chair, is expected to bring valuable local authority experience and excellent people management skills to the role.

Among the first projects he will see completed are the new university-level teaching hub for BCUC, which is currently taking shape in the College courtyard – adding three more floors to the existing building.

Plus, the North Campus is taking shape, offering vital new space for the College to engage with its industry partners and continue its pivotal role in ensuring that East Lancashire is a powerhouse of industry by delivering the training needed by business.

And one of his first duties as Chairman will be attending the annual Themis Inspire & Achieve Awards which recognise the outstanding Apprentices and employers who are guardians of the area’s industrial prosperity.


Looking Towards the Future

When asked about the future of Burnley College, David is optimistic:


We’re always on the lookout for opportunities in change, which is something that sets Burnley College apart.

David Meakin

Retiring Chairman of the Governors at Burnley College

He sees potential in working with universities, strengthening local business links and enabling students to achieve their goals, whatever they may be.

Under the leadership of Principal Karen Buchanan, David believes the College will continue to thrive.

“Karen has made many positive changes and is a key driver in the business community,” he says.

“She’s excellent at managing the College while keeping an eye on the future.”

As for his own future, David plans to pick up Spanish lessons again—another testament to the life-long learning spirit that Burnley College fosters.