Governor Profiles

Simon Perryman - Chair



Simon was appointed chair of governors in October 2015. He says that it is an absolute privilege to lead such a great College that is making such a difference to the town and its community.

Simon runs his own business providing advice to governments on skills policy and delivery. He is also on the Sheffield City Region Skills Board. He retired in 2015 from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills where he was the Executive Director based at their office in Wath-upon-Dearne. His role was to lead the operational and industrial investment work of the Commission.

Simon previously worked at the Sector Skills Development Agency in Wath and, before that, held a number of jobs in government relating to skills, small business and regional development. This included the creation of Business Link and, more recently, Sector Skills Councils. He has also worked at the Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber based in Leeds. This was where he first got to know Barnsley and decided he wanted to try and make a contribution to its success when time allowed.

Simon started his career working as a training adviser for the Engineering Industry Training Board, was a management training manager and worked on the implementation of a distance learning programme before moving into policy work in government.

Simon is a graduate of Bradford University, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, has two grown up children and lives with his partner in Sheffield.

Simon also chairs the Governance and Search Committee.


Nick Bowen - Vice Chair

Nick is one of the Vice Chairs.  He is currently Executive Principal at Horizon Community College in Barnsley which opened in September 2012.  He is also the Chair of the Barnsley Schools Alliance, working two days a week to support school improvement across the borough.

Previously, Nick was a Headteacher in the North East for ten years at St Benet Biscop Business and Enterprise College where he discovered the important role that educational leaders can play in the regeneration of a region.

Originally from Yorkshire, Nick was keen to return and took up the post of Principal at, what he believes to be, one of the most exciting developments in education currently in the UK.  He considers it a real privilege to work alongside the College and help lead the community into a new and transformational era.

Nick Bowen

Helen Jaggar BA Hons, FCIH, FCIPD - Vice Chair

Helen has worked in Barnsley for over 12 years as Chief Executive of Berneslai Homes and in that time has achieved three stars excellent for the Company and attained IIP Gold 6th generation. Berneslai Homes won numerous awards including winner of 24Housing Landlord of the Year on 2017 and being included in the Sunday Times Best Companies one hundred list as a one star company under Helen’s leadership. Helen was personally awarded 24Housing Chief Executive of the Year in 2015 and has been named in the top fifty power players list.

Helen retired in 2019 after having worked in the public sector for thirty nine years, she became professionally qualified in housing whilst working for the London Borough of Camden and extended her professional portfolio into Human Resources and Organisational Development with Leeds City Council. In 2005 she became Chief Executive with Leeds South Homes before joining Berneslai Homes in 2007 as Chief Executive.

Helen has extensive governance experience having held positions of Chair of Leeds Federated Housing Association, Board Director of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce and Chair of Sheffield City Region Housing Provider Forum. Currently Helen is a Board Director with Accent Housing Limited and chairs their Customer Experience Committee.

Helen’s touchstone in her approach to work has always been about the customer being at the heart of everything and ensuring that they influence the strategic direction of services and recognising the impact and influence they can have on their community and place.

Helen’s leadership style is all about collaboration, empowerment and making a difference by doing the right thing.

Helen has been a Governor at the College since 2017 and is currently Vice Chair and sits on the Governance and Search and Remuneration Committees and is the link governor for Safeguarding and Prevent.

Yiannis Koursis - Principal and CEO

Yiannis joined Barnsley College in 2016 as Deputy Principal for Development and was appointed as Principal and Chief Executive Officer in April 2019. He has worked in senior leadership roles in the Further Education sector for over 10 years and has gained a wide range of experience from a number of different colleges in the UK. Yiannis is committed to working with his fellow governors to strengthen links in the local community and beyond to further grow the College.

Originally from Greece, Yiannis came to the UK in 1999 to further his studies and he completed a degree in Hotel Management at Oxford Brookes University before undertaking further management and teaching qualifications. He is married to Liz, they have two young children and live in Leicestershire.



David Shepherd - Governor

David is employed at Barnsley Council as Service Director for Economic Regeneration and Property at BMBC where his responsibilities include leading on the Council’s development and implementation of the economic strategy, facilitating inward investment, business growth and support. David will put his efforts into helping grow jobs and businesses in the borough in the months and years to come. He brings a wealth of experience from his previous role as Assistant Director for Regeneration and Culture in Bradford, where he consistently led the delivery of major inward investment from plans to completion, as well as securing thousands of new jobs for local people.

David is the link Governor for Health and Safety.

David Shepherd

Kay Dickinson - Governor

Kay is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. With a background in finance, she also has a broad range of experience in strategic planning, organisational delivery, change management, corporate governance and risk management. She was an Executive Director of the UK Commission for Employment & Skills, and previously the Sector Skills Development Agency, for 11 years before taking voluntary redundancy in 2013 to pursue various interest and voluntary roles. Prior to that she worked for a number of private sector companies and spent 10 years in the health service.

Kay is passionate about ensuring people have the opportunity to realise their potential and to be developed, engaged and valued in the workplace. As a life-long resident of South Yorkshire she is also keen to contribute to helping make the Sheffield City Region a great place to live and work. Since leaving full time employment she has taken on a number of local non-executive roles. She is currently chair of Sheffield-based social housing provider Arches Housing Ltd; a trustee of NOCN Ltd, a qualifications awarding organisation which aims to increase learners’ confidence and employability and help them reach their potential; a trustee of VAS, which works to improve the quality of life for all of Sheffield’s communities by supporting voluntary and community action in the city; and a member of the Risk and Assurance Committee at Yorkshire Housing.

Conor Moss - Governor

Conor joined Sheffield Hallam University in January 2013 after a successful period as Head of Learning of the award winning University of Derby Corporate. In May 2015 he was appointed as Director of Education and Employer Partnerships at Sheffield Hallam University with strategic responsibility for Further Education, TNE and Employer partnerships.

Conor started his academic career in Further Education before moving to universities specialising in strategic management, leadership and organisational development. He has extensive experience developing successful educational partnerships with both the private and public sectors.

He is committed to working with employers to break down the barriers between university and business and on creating employability and employment opportunities for students to flourish and grow.

He is passionate about working with employer and education partners to provide learners access to higher-level skills, regardless of academic background or career stage. He has pursued this passion in both his professional and personal life and represents the university in a number of forums. He leads the University’s RISE programme; an initiative with University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council to match graduates with growth SMEs. As well as being a Governor for Barnsley College he is the Higher Education representative for Sheffield City Region LEP on the Skills, Employment and Education Board; Board Member for University Vocational Awards Council and Board Member for Higher Education Progression Partnership (HEPP).

Conor is a Senior Fellow of the HEA and a Fellow of the Learning Performance Institute.

Simon Taylor - Governor

Simon is currently Director of Financial Services at Sheffield Hallam University where he has been for two years. Prior to that Simon worked for global building materials giant Saint-Gobain for 13 years where he joined as an assistant accountant and left as Divisional Head of Finance. He has over 20 years’ finance related experience, largely in the private sector and is a Chartered Global Management Accountant (previously CIMA).

Originally from South Yorkshire, an LLB hons graduate in Law and French from the University of Leeds, Simon spent time travelling Australia before embarking upon his career in finance and has worked extensively in all areas of finance as well as taking on management roles within the companies he has worked for. As a champion of employee engagement, Simon is proud and passionate about ensuring that we help drive our teams to deliver world class service to help transform lives.

Simon is the link governor for Equality and Diversity.

Peter Clarkson - Staff Governor

Born and raised close to Barnsley, Peter’s ancestors were coal miners and so Geology was his first degree. Then at a Field Studies Centre in Derbyshire he undertook research into erosion of limestone and taught school groups which in turn led him enthusiastically to teacher training. Peter worked locally and in the North East for many years and was keen to raise the profile and value of education in his students’ families and so eventually set up and then managed a large facility offering lifelong education opportunities for adults in the community.

Later, taking his own advice, Peter studied Law, and then taught and managed that subject for a while before working for the Local Government Ombudsman in York.

However he says he missed the fun of helping to educate young people, working with teachers and so returned to teaching in Barnsley.

Alexander Newton - Student Governor - Further Education

Alexander is a Student Governor (representing Further Education) and also Students’ Union President.

He said: “I look forward to this year as I look to develop my skills and hopefully do well in my course at Barnsley College, Business Administration Level 3.

“I like spending time with family and playing or watching sports.”

Daniel Lea - Student Governor - Higher Education

Heather Jackson - Director of Governance and Clerk to the Board

Heather has a background in Further and Higher Education having worked at a number of colleges and universities across Yorkshire in various roles including student services, marketing and communications and business development.

She spent 10 years at the Higher Education Academy as Director of Operations before working for a number of local charities in Governance and Management roles.

She is a trustee at a local charity supporting adults with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Last updated: 23rd January 2020