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Executive search


Further education


  • Successful appointment of permanent college principal role within eight weeks

  • Client keen to work with Reed again, having also recommended our services to other partners

  • Appointed candidate called Reed’s service “flawless”

The challenge

Following our successful placement of an interim college principal for Sutton Adult Education College, it was Reed that Kingston and Sutton Councils naturally turned to for support in securing a permanent candidate for the role. The brief was to find someone with proven experience and capability within adult education.

Bharvi Patel, Regional Manager for Reed’s further education division, had initially been recommended to the borough by the chief executive of a local college who had frequently worked with her in placing candidates for interim senior management roles.

Bharvi explained: “The candidate pool was initially quite small, so with the client’s approval, we extended the search to professionals who had worked at slightly less senior roles in other types of further education colleges. The main challenge was to ensure potential candidates had a detailed understanding of the fundamental elements of adult education.”

The solution

Bharvi made a note of the most important professional attributes the college was seeking in their ideal college principal. She said: “The first step was ensuring I fully understood the measure to screen candidates against. I then drafted an advert for the client’s approval, and later used it as a featured job posting on We also posted an advert on LinkedIn, where I have a large following of professionals, and contacted candidates within my network who I knew would be interested in that type of role.”

Timelines were agreed on advertising the role, including proposed interview dates and format. Bharvi added: “As I had previously placed their interim principal, I was fully aware of the benchmarking for future candidates.”

She then produced a longlist of potential candidates, organising in-depth screenings for applicants, before sending select CVs and cover letters to key stakeholders, outlining their suitability for interview stage.

Reed is known for its customer service, with excellent communication central to our business. Bharvi provided the client with a progress update each week, also ensuring any questions or queries from candidates were answered.

Part of Reed’s service includes organising interviews for clients, along with prepping candidates for this stage to help them present their best selves. Above all, Bharvi said: “It was paramount to maintain constant communication with all parties, checking in regularly, even post-offer, to ensure all was running smoothly, and providing support with anything needed.”

I would recommend Reed to others looking to recruit similar roles and would use Reed again. It will save a huge amount of money for your college.

Ali Kelly

Strategic Resourcing Lead for Kingston and Sutton Councils

The results

An excellent candidate was secured for the role within eight weeks, with much praise from the client about the standard of service they had received from Reed throughout the process.

Ali Kelly, Strategic Resourcing Lead for Kingston and Sutton Councils, said: “The calibre of candidates presented met our requirements and the number of candidates put forward was in line with our expectations.

“Bharvi ensured candidates were well prepared before attending different aspects of the recruitment and selection process, and was always very quick to respond and patient with us when needed. I would recommend Reed to others looking to recruit similar roles and would use Reed again. It will save a huge amount of money for your college.”

Tom Dillon, the newly-placed Principal for Sutton Adult Education College, added: “Bharvi was amazing from initial contact. She was available for informal discussion and had a great understanding of the role which helped me to decide whether to apply.

“I would highly recommend Reed and Bharvi for anyone applying for a new role. Amazing service and support from start to finish. The experience was flawless and a very easy process.”

Looking to secure talented professionals for your college? Contact one of our specialist further education recruiters today.