Right Marion Plant OBE

Marion Plant, OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College has been recognised with an award for lifetime achievement at a glittering ceremony in Leicester.

The award was made in recognition of Marion’s business skills as part of an annual quest to find the most successful and inspirational businesswomen in the region. Finalists were selected from dozens of nominations for the fifth annual Leicestershire Live Women in Business Awards devised to celebrate the outstanding achievements of female entrepreneurs and professionals in our region. Winners were announced by TV presenter Emma Jesson at the ceremony on Thursday, 26 September at the King Power Stadium in Leicester.

From individuals running a business from home to high-flying career professionals, the awards highlight the achievements of a wide range of businesswomen from across Leicestershire and celebrate female role models to inspire future generations. The lifetime achievement award was presented to Marion for her outstanding contribution to the business community and was selected by an expert panel including awards sponsors Growth Partners plc, Howes Percival and Vacancy Filler Recruitment Software who presented the award.

As chief executive officer for the North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College Group and the Midland Academies Trust, Marion Plant has worked to develop a commercial culture to help tackle increasing competition within the education sector and protect resources for the future through growth.

Marion has successfully led the North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College Group, securing its financial turnaround and increasing the impact of the Group through high profile partnerships, delivering training that helps businesses to compete.

Marion’s influence extends to a national level, as a member of the Education & Skills Funding Agency Advisory Group and Trustee of the National Society Council (Church of England).  Marion sits on the programme board for the Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) and is Skills Lead for the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), where she has helped the Group to forge links with local and regional industry.

Showing determined leadership, Marion secured the successful merger of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College three years ago, by communicating a vision of a productive future partnership. Marion’s ambition to support successful futures for young people was at the heart of the decision to sponsor local schools and establish a multi-academy trust. The Midland Academies Trust (MAT) is an independent charitable organisation, sponsored by the College.

As deputy chair and trustee of WorldSkills UK, Marion has placed significant emphasis on the importance of competitions to showcase skills and abilities, giving students the chance to challenge themselves, build self-confidence and develop skills for employment.

Working with HORIBA MIRA and in partnership with Coventry University, Leicester University and Loughborough University to identify demand for specialist skills in the automotive sector, Marion led the project that saw the launch of £9.5m skills centre on the MIRA Technology Park site last year.

Marion Plant received an OBE for services to further education in 2009. She is a Fellow of the City & Guilds Institute and was included in the Leicester Mercury’s list of Leicestershire’s most influential people in charity, religion, politics and the public sector in 2017.

On receiving her award, Marion said, “I am thrilled to have been selected by such an esteemed panel and delighted to have been singled out for this award. I am particularly proud of the achievements of my colleagues within our Group who work tirelessly in the interests of giving young people and adults the very best opportunities to become the very best they can possibly be.”