Dr Ken Thomson says he’s buzzing with excitement after securing the top job at Forth Valley College.
The new principal and chief executive, who is settling into his new role as hundreds of youngsters enrolled this week for the new term, revealed he wants to continue the college’s successes and make it an internationally-recognised centre of excellence.
And he also has a replacement Falkirk campus building on his wishlist which would bring a multi-million investment in the town.
Dr Thomson said: “This role is a privilege for me, and I’m really excited about it, I’m buzzing with excitement.
“I’ve been here for 17 years, and I’ve watched this college grow and develop. If it was stagnating, I’d have been away, but we are becoming better and better at what we do.”
Born in Glasgow, Ken studied zoology at Nottingham University. He came back to Scotland to complete a Ph.D at Edinburgh University in ecological entomology, studying the horsefly and midge in western Scotland.
His first job - for which he was somewhat overqualified - was as a countryside ranger at Drumpellier Country Park in Lanarkshire, but, just a few weeks ago, he was appointed principal of one of Scotland’s most respected colleges.
His career so far has been all about communication, education and hands-on learning, encouraging the need for practical training to aid employment or lead to further education.
Now, under his new tagline of ‘Making Learning Work’, the former depute principal hopes to continue this ethos.
He said: “I believe it’s about giving our students the best opportunities to get a job or go on to further education.
“Our programmes are tailored to what the industry needs, so we’ve giving our students a head start.
“We have a strong science and technology department, and have developed very successful links with the industry leaders such as Ineos and BP.
“Falkirk is the college’s biggest campus with 60 per cent of our students here, and I want to look at a project from 2016 onwards to bring a new college campus here, a new headquarters.”
Ken (52), a lifelong cricket enthusiast, lives in Linlithgow with wife, Jane, a principal school teacher, and their three children.