On 1st July 2016 MidKent College bid a fond farewell to outgoing Chief Executive Officer Stephen Grix OBE.

During an emotional farewell presentation, staff reflected on Stephen’s 11 years at the College.

Mr. Grix, a Kent Ambassador, rejoined the College in 2005 having studied there more than 30 years earlier, and his services to further education was recognised with the award of an OBE in 2013.

Mr Grix first joined the College in 1971 when he enrolled as a day-release bricklaying student at the former City Way campus in Chatham. He moved into teaching in his twenties and returned to MidKent College to study for an education degree before subsequently moving on to gain a master’s degree in education management.

Mr Grix went on to become principal of Sir George Monoux College in Walthamstow, north-east London, and then head of Ofsted’s post-compulsory education division.

Next was a role as director of education for the London borough of Tower Hamlets before the father-of-three returned to MidKent College as principal and chief executive in March 2005.

Mr Grix stepped down as Principal in 2013, continuing part-time as Chief Executive to ease the College’s transition to a new management team.

He said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that my career both started and ended at MidKent College, where I’ve had the privilege of doing a job I love and which I am extremely passionate about. I had a tough time at school and left at 15 with no formal qualifications. This College transformed my life chances. Thanks to further education I was able to build a career that eventually led me to where I am today.

I hope my story demonstrates to young people that school is not the only option available to them. Many students are far more suited to the vocational style of learning that MidKent College can provide.”

College Principal Simon Cook, paying tribute to Mr. Grix’s service at the College, said: “We value the time Stephen has spent with the College tremendously. He has been an inspiring steward, as well as an empathetic and highly visible leader. His legacy to MidKent College is a wonderful estate, great resources, and a keen focus to do everything we can to help our students, and our local community, prepare for a bright future”.

Mr Grix has enjoyed success writing for the TES Further Education supplement over recent months, and looks forward to submitting further articles during his retirement.