Stephen Magee

Stephen Magee, Chair

Stephen Magee graduated from the Universities of St Andrews and London before gaining an MSc in Adult and Community Education from the University of Edinburgh and brings to the role a lifelong involvement in education both nationally and internationally. Most recently he has been Vice Principal of the University of St Andrews. Stephen has experience in the development and delivery of strategy, and assuring efficient and proper use of resources to meet strategic aims. Over his career he has worked as a primary and secondary school teacher, as a lecturer in further education, as a unit head and service director in higher education, through to adult and lifelong education tutor in basic literacy and numeracy skills and in ESL. Stephen has also been an administrator at the most senior level. He seeks now to continue using his skills and experience in support of the strategic evolution of, and regional approach to, the development of further education in Scotland, within the context of building a well-integrated post-16 provision.

Stephen Magee is appointed to the Board of Governors of Fife College for four years from 4 March 2014 to 3 March 2018. 


Bob Black

Bob Black recently retired from the international oil and gas industry, where in the past ten years he managed the development planning for two of the world's largest oil and gas fields found in the last 30 years. As Technical Director for Shell Kazakhstan, he was involved in the development of the supergiant Kashagan oilfield and its 3x1 billion-barrel satellite fields; and latterly as Head, Exploration & Production for BG Brasil, where he was involved in the evaluation and development planning of the supergiant oil and gas fields in the mid-Atlantic offshore Brasil

Bob was with Shell International for 28 years in UK North Sea, Brunei, Oman, Malaysia, Kazakhstan and the Netherlands; and latterly with BG Group in the North Sea (UK and Norway) and Brasil. 

A geologist by profession, Bob has previous experience in the African mining industry, with Anglo-American Corporation in Zambia; and in UK engineering as Technical Marketing Manager with Unicorn Industries, working with eg. Rolls-Royce aero, Ford and Leyland vehicles, and several UK machine tool manufacturers, in diamond and bonded precision abrasives technologies. 

At retirement Bob joined the Scottish Children's Panel as a volunteer panel member, where he has fulfilled a lifelong ambition to take a more active role in helping young people to build constructive lives as valued and valuable citizens.

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Derek Birkenfield

Derek Birkenfield recently retired from the Head of Customer Management role in Rolls-Royce’s Energy division after a number of years in its Marine division. His career started with a manufacturing apprenticeship coupled with further education training to gain appropriate qualifications. His formal education completed by gaining a BSc. degree from Heriot Watt University in the 1970s, now continues as a life long learning experience.
Derek’s professional career included two extended periods in Germany and the United States giving him the opportunity to understand a wider range of cultures and business methods. A personal highlight was being actively involved in Rolls-Royce’s Graduate Leadership and Apprentice training programmes, which included mentoring individuals at the early stages of their careers.
Derek’s social interests include motor sport, rugby and walking his dogs.

Edward Blades

Edward Blades returned to education at the age of twenty-six, when he undertook a degree with the OU, whilst continuing to run a small business employing about fifteen people. Approaching the darkness of thirty, he decided to sell the business and he came to Lauder College to undertake an HND in Community and Economic Development whilst completing the OU degree.  After graduating he applied for a six-week long post in Lauder College assisting with European Funding projects.  Six weeks became a year, and he then applied for a post teaching Communication. Nineteen years, several Principals and many reorganisations later (and now fighting the fuliginous fifties), he is still here teaching a variety of social subjects.  He is especially interested in the educational situation of adult returners, care leavers, the socially-disadvantaged and other non-traditional learners.  He believes that education and training can empower people to become personally, economically and socially successful.  Professionally, he has an interest in e-learning and student-centred learning and outside of work he is interested in politics, astronomy and human rights.


Shona Cochrane

Shona Cochrane is the founder and a director of Thinking to Success Ltd who support and develop thinking and learning skills in education and business.  She has been working with skills based thinking, learning and enterprise programmes for many years. 

Shona is an experienced educationalist and author. As a teacher, Shona has taught in London, Malaysia and Fife, most recently as an Acting Depute Rector and Guidance Teacher at Queen Anne High School, Dunfermline.  She has also been an Enterprise in Education Adviser and National Curriculum Adviser with Skills Development Scotland (formerly Careers Scotland).

After achieving an M.Ed Pupil Support in 2005, Shona went on to have her book on study skills, ‘Learn to Learn’, published in  2012 and she introduced the ‘Learn to Learn’ and ‘Reflective Thinking’ programmes at Queen Anne High School. Shona’s interests include skiing and classic cars.


Violeta Ilendo

Violeta Ilendo has extensive experience at senior strategic management level with over 29 years of working in the local governments in London and Scotland, private and voluntary sectors with a proven track record of delivery in a wide range of areas from economic development, employability, vocational training and skills to physical and economic regeneration, town centres and specialist planning advice. Violeta currently chairs the Fife Polish Education Trust and is a Board Member on the Fife Migrants Forum.

Antony Martin

Antony Martin has been a Local Councillor in Fife since 1992 representing a Dunfermline ward. He has a particular interest in further education particularly its role in economic development. He is Chair of Opportunities Fife Partnership which promotes skills and training in Fife

Antony served on the Forth Estuary Transport Authority and its predecessor The Forth Road Bridge Joint Board for 20 years. Serving as Convener for 4 years.

He owned and managed a very successful fashion agency for 30 years representing many premium brands and giving him an inset to the pressure and difficulties working in the private sector.

Antony is married with 2 daughters and 5 grandchildren.

His main hobby involves music.

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Raymond McGinty

Raymond McGinty is Student President for Fife College Students' Association.  Raymond studied at College for four years, two years at Carnegie College and two years at the newly merged Fife College. He studied Acting and Performance from HNC to HND level. Whilst studying, Raymond observed the Students' Association hoping to achieve a valuable insight into how the College functioned from "behind the scenes". Raymond was nominated as class representative twice, and held the post of Students' Association Entertainments Officer for a short period.  Being the current Student President has been a dream come true and he can now give something back to a college that offered so much as a student .  Raymond looks forward to the academic year ahead and leading the Students' Association forward in making the student voice heard.
In his spare time, Raymond participates in archery, shooting and rugby and keeps his creative personality active by writing and acting in the local Dramatics Society in Dunfermline.

Tom McPherson

Tom McPherson is Student Vice President Education and Representation for Fife College Students' Association.  Tom decided to return to College following the birth of his daughter in 2014 after spending a good 10-12 years working in the retail and motor vehicle industries.
Upon returning to College, Tom decided to change his career aspirations and looked at the admin/IT/Communication areas after passing his NC course and progressing onto an HND course.  It made him see how much he could grow and learn new things which led him to being a class reprsentative and voluntary officer with the Students' Association in 2015-16, and then into his current role as Vice President for Education and Representation for 2016-17. 
Tom is excited to be joining such an exciting team and looks forward to working with students this year.
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Professor Steve Olivier

Professor Steve Olivier is Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Abertay University, where he leads all academic activities, including teaching and learning; research and knowledge exchange; and quality enhancement and assurance. He is widely published in several areas, most notably in moral issues related to extreme sports, and also in educational policy and leadership. Outside of work, he serves as a crewman in the RNLI, surfs, and maintains some interest in rugby, which was his main sport.


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Bryan Poole

Bryan Poole is an independent Councillor. He has extensive experience of working for Fife Council and CVS Fife and has contributed to strategic developments in Fife such as the Fife Community Plan, Fife Council’s Strategic Plan and the Single Outcome Agreement for Fife.
Ross Taylor
Ross Taylor has been a solicitor in Scotland, specialising in Dispute Resolution and Avoidance, since 2000.  He is the owner of Taylor Law Limited, which is a firm of solicitors based in Fife.  He has experience in a variety of mechanisms for dispute resolution including Mediation, Expert Determination, Adjudication, Arbitration and Litigation.  Ross is an accredited mediator.  He has worked across a spectrum of disciplines, from family law to commercial and construction law, now specialising in the latter.  Ross also undertakes dispute avoidance work, including contract drafting and risk analysis.
As an employer and resident in Fife, Ross wants to see Fife continue to grow as a centre of excellence in the provision of practical, skills focused education and development.  He believes that this is the route to a strong society, which is economically vibrant.
In his spare time, Ross enjoys fitness and outdoor pursuits, including Running, Mountain Biking and Golf.  He also enjoys the arts, regularly visiting galleries and going to the theatre.  He lives in Dalgety Bay with his wife of ten years and his two year old cocker spaniel, Dudley.

Beki Thomson

Beki Thomson is currently the Deputy Director of Finance at the University of St Andrews. A Bachelor of Accounting and Finance and a qualified Chartered Accountant trained in a ‘big-four’ firm, she has been involved in both the Internal and External Audits of various Universities throughout her career, before joining St Andrews as Assistant Director of Finance in 2006.

A fervent believer in life-long learning and education, Beki obtained a second degree (Bachelor of Science) through the evening degree programme at St Andrews which was a truly rewarding experience. A self-confessed netball nut, Beki plays regularly in the Dundee league with her team TNT. Other interests include scuba diving and travelling as much as possible, both in Scotland and abroad.
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Zoe Thomson​

Zoe Thomson is a Depute Head Teacher at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline. She has been teaching in Scotland for 16 years.

Zoe studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, followed by a PGCE in Mathematics from Moray House.

Zoe began teaching Mathematics in Edinburgh before moving to Fife. She has been a Depute Head teacher here for 4 years.

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Jim Trail OBE

Jim Trail is an experienced Business Leader who retired as Managing Director of Raytheon Systems Ltd in Glenrothes in May 2013. He was awarded an OBE in June 2013 for his Services to the Defence Industry.

He begun his career in Finance where he spent 20 years before moving into General Management. As well as having responsibility for the facility in Glenrothes he also had overall UK Board responsibility for Operations, Facilities and Health and Safety for Raytheon UK. He was one of the key leaders who implemented a new Graduate scheme for the company in 2008, which has continued to grow ever since and also for the Engineers of the Future scheme which the company participates in with Fife College and Heriot-Watt University.

Jim is currently a member of the Scottish Children’s Panel and also presents occasional training for the Prince’s Trust in Scotland.

In his spare time he likes to spend time with his Granddaughter and watching football.

Jennifer Walls

Jennifer Walls brings a varied private sector career background to the Board. As an Engineering and MBA graduate most of Jennifer’s career has been in technical roles within multinational organisations.  Jennifer spent her early academic years as a student of Fife College on a scholarship programme awarded by Exxon Chemicals. After Graduating Jennifer took on a role in a Japanese Semiconductor Company where she spent her early career. She then moved onto be more interested in Business, taking on a role as a technical Business Lead and then Portfolio Manager for an American Defence Company. Using her Masters skills Jennifer has influenced Strategic direction and Business growth throughout her career. Now as a manager in the public sector Jennifer brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her Role on the Board. In her small amount of spare time Jennifer is a Mum to her three young children and a football coach!

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Heather Wray

Heather started work as a Civil Servant at Rosyth Naval Base. After having her family she became self-employed, and then worked from the family home. Later on retraining and undertaking her NVQ3 in Administration, Heather was then employed by Randall Consultancy as their Office Administrator and SQA Coordinator. In 2000 while studying for her HNC in Management at Lauder College, she became a member of staff wtihin the Customer Services team. For the last fourteen years she has been employed within the Quality Section of the new Fife College.