Chair Geraint Evans and Principal Mike James

Our News

20 July 2011

Cardiff and Vale College introduces first Principal and Chair of Governors

In August 2011 Barry College and Coleg Glan Hafren merge to create Cardiff and Vale College one of the largest and most exciting further education (FE) colleges in the country. As this date approaches, the College has announced the identity of the first Principal and Chair of Governors.  To coincide with this, Cardiff and Vale College has also unveiled a brochure and website to spread news of the benefits of the new College.

Mike James, 46 of Abergavenny, has recently been appointed as the first Principal of Cardiff and Vale College and will start on 1st September 2011. Mike has been Vice Principal at the City of Bristol College since 2008, where he was responsible for income diversification, all business- to-business contract management, apprenticeships, international development and overall line management of five large faculties. Mike also led the College approach to supporting and influencing the new Local Enterprise Partnership Skills Board, linking key curriculum to local and regional economic growth.  

To date Mike has worked in FE for seventeen years in a variety of different colleges, ranging from the rural countryside of Northampton to the inner city of London. After a career in industry Mike decided that he wanted to move into the education sector and after a brief period as a part-time lecturer, he decided FE was the right fit for him. Mike started a career as a Lecturer in Engineering and Business at Moulton College, a land-based institution that had niche vocational areas. Mike then moved to Northampton College and progressed quickly to Head of Faculty at the College, heading up subjects including Motor Vehicle Engineering, Electronics, Welding and Fabrication, A Levels, Work Based Learning and the College company “Powerdriver”.

After Northampton, Mike moved to Ealing Hammersmith and West London College as an Executive Director in charge of the Acton College. Working in Acton Mike led the College’s approach to bringing Bollywood to the West of London. The College was inspected by Ofsted and graded outstanding for its leadership and work with the community and employers that Mike led. Mike, who has two children, lives in Abergavenny with his wife and is just about to complete his first self-build, describing the achievement as one that can only be experienced once in a lifetime.

The appointment of Principal followed an interview process in May, during which Mike presented his ideas for Cardiff and Vale College, met a selection of staff and students during question and answer sessions and was interviewed by members of the Cardiff and Vale College Board.

On his appointment, Mike James, the incoming Principal of Cardiff and Vale College said, “The focus of an outstanding college must be on the people and community that it serves. Cardiff and Vale College will have this focus under my leadership, bringing together two established and very successful colleges to create one new college to serve the individuals, employers and communities of this dynamic capital region. I am looking forward to working with the staff, partners and learners to establish Cardiff and Vale College as a leading College in Wales that benefits the entire community”.

The Corporation of Cardiff and Vale College is now in full operation and Geraint Evans MBE has been appointed as Chair of the Governing Body. Geraint is 57 and resides in Barry where he was born, spending much of his working life in the area, notably as Managing Director of the Dan Evans Department Store.

Geraint, who is passionate about cricket having played for Barry Cricket Club and the World-famous Marylebone Cricket Club, has two children; a 24 year old daughter, who is a researcher for a TV production company and a 21 year old son, who has just graduated in Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Having also worked in Pontypridd and the Midlands, where he was a Non Executive Director of the group Associated Independent Stores Ltd (with a £1.8 billion annual turnover), Geraint Evans MBE qualified as a lawyer and spent 25 years in retail. He now works as the Managing Director of a commercial property company. Geraint is also the Chair of Business in Focus, the University of Wales Press and the Chair of Governors at Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg in Barry. In 2010 he received an MBE for voluntary services to education in the Vale of Glamorgan, having also been Vice Chair of the Barry College Corporation and Joint Chair of Cardiff and Vale College as the College developed up until incorporation.

Geraint Evans, Chair of the Cardiff and Vale College Governing Body, said, “I am proud to have played my part in the creation of Cardiff and Vale College and even prouder to be the Chair of the Governing Body. All the staff involved in the merger process owe a huge debt of gratitude to both Principals for the way they have led the two Colleges, during the complex and challenging period prior to merger. I have no doubt that due to their efforts Cardiff and Vale College will build upon the excellent achievements of Coleg Glan Hafren and Barry College.”

A website and brochure were also launched today, detailing how Cardiff and Vale College has been created and the benefits it will bring to the capital region. Copies of the brochure will be available on all College receptions and will be distributed to schools, libraries and locations across Cardiff and the Vale. For copies of the brochure, please email