What we do

Collab Group is a national membership body of FE colleges and college groups. There are two main pillars of our work: policy influencing and commercial activities.

Commercial activities

Collab Group offers services to both public and private sector clients. We work with our members to deliver nationwide apprenticeship and training services to large employers, as well as expert consultation services relating to skills and education. The expertise of our network produces meaningful solutions to a range of skills-related issues:

  • We offer commercial training services for organisations looking to bring new talent into their business, or who wish to upskill or retrain their existing workforce.

  • We support employers in critical industries to make the most of their apprenticeship levy as we work in partnership to strategically plan their current and future talent needs.

Policy influencing

We work to raise the profile and prestige of further education colleges and demonstrate the critical role they play in creating a more skilled and prosperous society. We engage with our members, government and industry to influence the implementation of skills policy at both a national and regional level.

We publish thought leadership on the most significant issues impacting the sector including the development of professional and technical skills, policy implementation, and sector funding. We regularly engage with stakeholders in both government and industry to shape solutions that will jointly benefit the sector and the economy.

Our Purpose

Collab Group colleges, using our UK wide collective capability, work with civic and business communities to influence and lead the future of technical and professional education development and delivery to address the challenges of inclusive economic growth.

About our Partners

Collaborating for skills success

Our partners bring external expertise and insights to assist Collab Group and its members to achieve our strategic ambitions. We collaborate with partners in the skills and employment sector as well as organisations in higher education, the legal industry, labour market analysts, awarding organisations and more. By leveraging a broad base of expertise, we can fulfil our ambitions to transform the current system of technical and professional education.

Meet the team

The Collab Group team bring a wealth of experience to their positions. We are passionate about working with our colleges to develop and deliver training that creates value for learners, Government and Industry.

Steve Bannister

Business Development Director

Commercial Director since March 2017, he is an expert in sales and marketing. He has been the commercial director of several learning, education and employment organisations. He is passionate about people and business transformation.

Janet Gayle

Executive Assistant to CEO

Executive Assistant to the CEO and Office Manager, she joined the team in June 2017. As a legal qualified PA, with over 10 years in administration and office management roles, she has a vast amount of experience in small and large organisation in the private and public sector.

Tom Lowe

Director of Membership and External Relations

Director of Membership and External Relations, he joined Collab Group in April 2016. He is the leader of the Policy team and works to raise the profile of Collab Group colleges both inside and outside the FE sector. He previously worked as a Development Coordinator for the NHS.

Lauren Murkin

Business Development Manager

With over 6 years of experience in talent acquisition and recruitment, she joined the team in August 2018 as the Business Development Manager. Throughout her career she has worked successfully with employers in both the private and public sector including large Apprenticeship Levy paying businesses and Local Authorities.

Ian Pretty

Chief Executive

Chief Executive since September 2015, he has had a range of senior roles in a variety of organisations in the public and commercial sector. He deals with a wide range of stakeholders in the development of sustainable technical and professional education to enable a transformation of the productive capacity of the UK economy.

Sheila Robbie

Business Development Manager

Joined Collab group in April 2019. She has over 15 years experience in the commercial training world and more recently helping large organisations realise value from their Apprenticeship Levy. Has worked with clients across many sectors to provide solutions that support future talent as well as management and leadership capability.

Meet the board

Collab Group is governed by a dedicated Board of Directors who share a commitment to our goals and objectives.

The directors are leaders in Further Education with a vast amount of expertise and experience as well as an overarching dedication to learners and skills delivery in this country.

Shelagh Legrave OBE

Chair (Principal and Chief Executive, Chichester College)

David Jones OBE

Vice Chair (Chief Executive, Coleg Cambria)

Michelle Swithenbank

Officer (Principal and Chief Executive at Hull College Group)

Stella Mbubegbu OBE

Officer (Principal and Chief Executive, Highbury College)

Marie-Therese McGivern

Officer (Principal and Chief Executive, Belfast Metropolitan College)

Sally Dicketts

Officer (Group Chief Executive at Activate Learning)

Paul Stephen

Officer (Principal and Chief Executive at Newham College London)

Developing your workforce

Collab Group colleges provide education and training courses across a range of industry sectors to train new staff and upskill existing employees.

Our Services

Collab Group provides a range of services to employers who are looking to get new talent into their business.

Latest News & Publications


The Devolution of the Adult Education Budget to the GLA

In this report, the impact of the Devolution of the Adult Education Budget to the GLA gets discussed.


2019 Collab Group London Colleges Prospectus

We have released our new Collab Group London Colleges prospectus with key information about our partnership.


Simplifying enrolment at Edinburgh College

How one Collab Group Scotland member college is responding to students’ needs


International Services Prospectus

We have released our new Collab Group international prospectus with key information about our international services.


College Governance: Opportunities and Challenges

In collaboration with Shakespeare Martineau, this paper discusses the importance of good governance in the FE sector


Making apprenticeships work for all - policy

In this publication, we argue for the need of the right building blocks to make a great apprenticeship system.