New Chair Brian Lister OBE appointed to Newbattle Abbey College

Brian Lister OBE has been appointed as Chair of the Board of Directors at Scotland’s leading adult education institution, Newbattle Abbey College.

The college appointed the former Principal of Cumbernauld College and Stevenson College as it prepares to embark on some significant developments in the coming months.

Brian said: “I am proud to have been appointed Chair and am looking forward to working with Ann Southwood, her staff, and my fellow Directors to achieve the very best for Newbattle Abbey College.

“I believe I have some understanding of the particular challenges faced by a specialist institution such as Newbattle Abbey College and an appreciation of the hard work, dedication and creative thought that has enabled the college to develop into a growing and transformational education institution.”

“My appointment comes at a particularly exciting time for the college and Scottish further education as it tasked to meet the demands of both young people seeking work and adults investing in their future careers.”

Newbattle Abbey College is renowned for its work in offering adult returners the chance to progress to higher education through its Arts and Humanities course. More recently, it has developed an HNC in Social Sciences in partnership with Queen Margaret University. Newbattle also offers a National Certificate and an Access Course in Celtic Studies and a National Certificate in Rural Skills.

Brian Lister received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2008 in recognition of services to further education.

Brian attended Campie Primary and Musselburgh Grammar School, before graduating from Stirling University in 1979 with a BSc in Biological Sciences and a Diploma in Education.

Brian began working life as an Assistant Scientific Officer at Bush Estate, a matter of miles from Newbattle Abbey College. His first teaching job was at Lornshill Academy, Alloa, where he taught alongside former First Minister Jack McConnell. From there he moved to Lauder College — now Carnegie College — in Dunfermline, where he was appointed Depute Principal in 1995, later becoming Principal at Cumbernauld College.

He was appointed Chief Executive of the Scottish Further Education Unit, based in Stirling, where he worked to ensure that the country’s 43 further education colleges met Scotland’s economic development needs. He was also part of the working party on Curriculum for Excellence, a key development in the reform of Scotland’s education system.

“Over the course of my career, I have become aware of the many opportunities that exist for a college such as Newbattle to make a real difference to communities in need of support. I am keen to further develop the many strong links that already exist between the local authority and the college following the release of the Wood Commission report, ‘Education Working for All’, which promotes better opportunities for school leavers for work, more employers engaging with education and, very importantly, college education focused on employment and progression in learning.”

Welcoming the appointment, Ann Southwood, Principal of Newbattle Abbey College said: “I am delighted to welcome Brian Lister as the new Chair of Newbattle Abbey College and I, along with the Newbattle staff and Board of Directors, look forward to working with him.

“Brian brings a wealth of experience and expertise which will be invaluable to us as we seek to grow and develop as ‘Scotland’s Life Changing College’. We have a lot ahead of us in the coming months, including further development of the curriculum, and the preparation of an Estate Strategy for Newbattle and a campus-wide Business Plan.  Brian will play a significant part in helping to lead us through this period.”