Marion Plant, OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College and LLEP Board Member has been named Business Woman of the Year at a glittering awards ceremony in Leicester.
The award was made for her commitment to skills and further education as part of the East Midlands Chamber’s annual quest to find the most successful and inspirational business women in the region. Finalists were selected from dozens of nominations for this year’s Enterprising Women awards.
The winners were announced by TV presenter Emma Jesson at a gala dinner on 2 March, at Winstanley House in Leicester to mark a week of celebrations culminating in International Women’s Day.
Marion has been credited with increasing the impact of the North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College Group on the East Midlands through high profile partnerships, delivering skills that help employers to compete. The Group currently ranks top in the East Midlands for employer satisfaction.
Under Marion’s leadership, the Group is fulfilling its ambition to operate at the heart of its communities. Her commercially-focused approach has led to the successful development of partnerships and joint ventures that will deliver specialist training for the automotive engineering, logistics, and the health and life sciences sectors.
Marion said, “I am delighted to accept this award and pay tribute to the other finalists in this category who all had strong stories to tell. I am privileged to work with many fantastic staff, students and partners on whose support the College depends on for its success. I will use this fabulous award to inspire female students in our schools and college campuses to be ambitious and to be confident in pursuing traditionally male dominated careers such as engineering and construction. I will also use it to inspire female colleagues to be ambitious in their aspiration for promotion into leadership roles.”
Co-Chair for Enterprising Women, Eileen Richards, and a member of the Board of Directors at the Chamber, said, “The standard of entries was, again, very high this year and proves there is a real hunger among women in the business community to be recognised for their achievements. In the past, we have had some very worthy winners and I’m delighted that Marion is now among them.”
Marion was commended for her contribution to education through her work with many organisations. She is Chief Executive of the Midland Academies Trust – which sponsors four secondary schools – and serves on several national and regional bodies. She has just completed a 3 year term as a non-executive director at the Department for Education and is their first T-level ambassador. She is a trustee of WorldSkills UK, a board member of Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and skills lead for both, a trustee of the National Society Council (Church of England), a board member of Coventry University and co-chair of their Academic Affairs committee and a governor at Stephenson College.
Marion has led the North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College Group in many successful projects including:
- A £9.5m specialist automotive skills centre due to open on the MIRA Technology Park site later this year.
- The successful merger of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College in 2016
- The first apprenticeships for Next PLC under the new Apprenticeship Levy scheme at its headquarters’ day nursery.
- The building of the new £12m Hinckley college campus in 2011.
- The recent submission of a bid to build an Institute of Technology (IoT) in logistics with its hub at Magna Park.