Recruitment and Selection

We have extensive experience of the sector and have an exceptional track record of working with College Boards on the successful search and selection of a number of senior posts including:

Principals/CEOs roles:  

  • Southport College and KGV Sixth Form College
  • Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College, Leicester.
  • Cheshire College South and West, Crewe
  • Carmell College, Merseyside

Deputy Principal/ Vice Principals

  • New College Durham
    Cheshire College South and West

Chief Financial Officers

  • Cheshire College South and West

Through our experience of search and selection we understand the value and importance of:

  • Both supporting and challenging Boards to determine the person required in terms of skills, experience and personal qualities to lead the College through a challenging time for the FE Sector
  • Conducting a full and thorough search, primarily through a proactive direct approach, supported by an extensive social media campaign and national advert to attract high quality candidates
  • A comprehensive long listing process to ensure that candidates presented to the Board have the required skills, experience and character with the best possible ‘fit’ with the College and its values. Thorough background testing is an essential part of this process
  • Ensuring that we recommend and manage a thorough and professional assessment procedure
  • Keeping candidates ‘warm’ up to the selection process and ensuring attendance
  • Managing the post appointment process for both the successful and unsuccessful candidates as part of effective reputation management
  • Clear and professional advice, regular communication and concise reports to support Governors throughout this critical process.


“New College Durham recently utilised the services of  RockbornHR to recruit a Deputy Principal. 

 It is fair to say that the challenges faced in this recruitment were considerable with the advert for this difficult to fill post going live just after the Government announced its national lockdown. Peter gave reassurance to the Board at this very difficult time that the recruitment may be challenging but he was confident that we would be successful. Peter efforts in the recruitment process were extensive and his communication throughout the process was excellent, always keeping us informed of progress. We were very specific in our needs as Governing Body, and Peter took the time to understand these needs but also the culture, values and key strategic drivers for the College to enable him to refine his search. Peter managed to locate a number of excellent candidates and provide support to the Board in their shortlisting efforts.  Following a comprehensive recruitment process Governors are very pleased with the appointment we have made, and I would highly recommend both Peter and RockbornHR.”

Chair of the Corporation, New College Durham


Exceptional – I recognise that this is a word that is often banded around for good or very good service but honestly the Executive Search and Selection service from RockbornHR was simply that ‘Exceptional’.

Peter and Nicola worked tirelessly to understand our culture, key priorities and business needs which informed their actions in providing us with high calibre applicants. We decided to launch our recruitment programme at the start of the national lockdown – no problem said Peter and duly put together a comprehensive national recruitment strategy. Throughout the entire process Peter kept the Governor and I up to date with his actions and the responses and provided regular Board reports.  Peter spent a lot of time communicating with the candidates and keeping them abreast of developments, responding to any concerns and queries which has left all candidates with a positive impression of the College and its management of candidates.

Apart from being professional, honest and reliable (which you would expect) it was a pleasure to work with RockbornHR – I would recommend without hesitation and would be happy to chat to any potential client to expand on my observations

Karl Fairly, Deputy CEO, New College Durham


We worked with Rockborn to recruit to the role of CFO at Cheshire College South and West

Right from the outset, Rockborn provided a unique personal approach, understanding not only the technical skills required of the role but also what was needed in terms of cultural fit.

Excellent communication and engagement throughout the process resulted in both me and the Governors having complete confidence in Rockborn to recruit the right person for this role

I would not hesitate to recommend Rockborn.  Their personable approach, knowledge of the sector and their ability to work closely with both myself and the Governors ensured we achieved a fantastic outcome to our appointment


Dhesi, Principal Cheshire College South and West


From the care taken with the initial brief to understand our needs, through to the organisation of the very thorough selection process, they operated with the utmost professionalism and ensured throughout all stages of the process that they matched the search to our specific needs, with in depth support to the Board throughout. Their extensive search process gave us a strong shortlist and we could not be more pleased with the final outcome. Thoroughly recommended. 

Ronnie Fell

Chair of Corporation – Southport College and KGV Sixth Form College


Rockborn supported us throughout the appointment of our Principal and Senior Team as part of the merger process.  They were thoroughly professional throughout but with a very human touch.  They took great care to understand our needs, to match their work to that brief and in the process gained the full trust of the Governors.

Dame Pat Bacon

Chair of Corporation – Cheshire College South and West


I have worked with many consultants over the years for various reasons and I have yet to come across one like Rockborn HR. Pete and Nic are a very canny duo who work relentlessly with integrity on their brief. They are particularly client and candidate focussed when undertaking an executive search and demonstrate levels of energy and determination to the highest levels. I recommend them not only without hesitation, but as a company I positively encourage you to engage.

Vice Principal HR/OD

Cheshire College South and West


Just a quick note to share my appreciation for your support and guidance over recent weeks. I found your calm and confident manner both supportive and purposeful, you really helped me to focus on what I wanted from a new role and then to secure the perfect post. My new role is a perfect match for my skills and aspirations, I could not be more grateful or recommend you more highly.