Rachel Curry appointed as new Principal

Having joined the UCEN Manchester in 2015, Rachel takes over from outgoing Principal Lisa O’Loughlin.

UCEN Manchester is delighted to announce that Rachel Curry has been appointed as its new Principal and Deputy CEO of LTE Group. 

Rachel, who has been a Deputy Principal at UCEN Manchester since 2019 having joined as Vice Principal in 2015, has taken over the position following Lisa O’Loughlin’s appointment as Principal and CEO at Nelson and Colne College in East Lancashire.

Rachel, who will assume the post effective from Thursday 1 December, will have a handover period with Lisa who will leave UCEN Manchester after ten years at the end of this term. Over the coming years Rachel, alongside Michael Walsh, Vice Principal and Dean of UCEN Manchester will oversee the transition to the new UCEN Manchester Vision 2027 strategy while further developing and building upon UCEN Manchester’s higher technical and professional focussed degree offer to meet the skills needs of Manchester and the wider region. 

Commenting on her appointment Rachel said: “My family and I live, study and work in Manchester, so I am acutely aware of what a privilege it is to lead UCEN Manchester in the city I love. I am proud to have been given this opportunity to ensure our students continue to have the best possible opportunity to succeed. Having worked with Lisa for many years, I know at first hand the commitment we have shared to deliver for students, our colleagues and the wider community in Manchester and this will continue into the new strategy to 2027. I wish Lisa every success in her new role and she will always remain a friend of UCEN Manchester.” 

Prior to her appointment as Principal, Rachel was the strategic lead for the UCEN Manchester’s ambitious estates transformation project which successfully completed this year, delivering amazing educational facilities that match those that are used by professionals every single day. 

The project has seen the development of amazing new facilities for UCEN Manchester students at Openshaw campus and a dedicated HE space at the brand-new state-of-the-art City Campus Manchester in the centre of Manchester which opened in September 2022.

Rachel has a strong track record in the further and higher education sector, having started her career at the FE Funding Council (FEFC) where she spent 9 years, including leading investigations into underperforming colleges and overseeing the smooth transition from the FEFC to the Learning and Skills Council for all 13 Lancashire colleges. She then moved to Blackburn College, where she progressed to become Deputy Principal.

John Thornhill, CEO of LTE Group, said: “Rachel has played a key role in the remarkable progress made by UCEN Manchester in recent years. I am confident that through her passion for further education and commitment to student and colleague engagement, high-quality teaching, learning and support, UCEN Manchester will continue to provide our students with the best possible career opportunities. 

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Lisa for her vision, tenacity and dedication to ensuring our students have the opportunity to succeed in their career paths. Lisa developed and championed the UCEN Manchester strategy, working alongside Michael Walsh, Vice Principal and Dean of UCEN Manchester, and the senior team, delivering the strategy for higher technical education and promoting UCEN Manchester and its vision across Greater Manchester and beyond.”

Ahead of her taking up the role our photography students captured these new professional headshots of Rachel to be used in our promotional material over the coming years!