Modern, thriving and busy.
Those were the words used to describe Isle of Man College from its newly appointed principal, Geoff Draper.
Speaking to the Isle of Man Examiner ahead of taking up the post in January, he said: ‘I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to come and work on the island and head up a wonderful organisation.
‘I’m excited about learning more about the college and how best we can serve the island and to continue the excellent work of the college.’
He said that there would be ‘difficult times moving forward for the college’, adding: ‘There will be difficult challenges, there always are.’
Mr Draper will be moving to the island from Buckinghamshire with his wife Rebecca.
He has most recently worked as a consultant in the education and charity sectors.
His experience in education includes working as principal of the Royal National College for the Blind, from 2009 to 2011.
Before that he was the principal of a Joint Service Military College and deputy director of army education as part of his 30-year career in the British Army.
Asked what his first impressions of the college were, he said: ‘It is a modern, thriving, busy place. It’s recently changed direction to include a higher education element and recently opened the Annie Gill building.
‘It all looks very exciting – it’s nice to be part of the development of the college.’
He said it was too early to say what his priorities would be: ‘It’s difficult for me to say at this stage without me being at the college. Clearly it will be to carry on the legacy and the foundation that has been set by the previous principal.
‘It will be to build on the excellent work and reputation of the college and to take it in the direction it is now moving.’
Mr Draper said he had happy memories of summer holidays in the island as a boy: ‘All I remember are sunny days and playing on the beach.’
And in time, he is looking forward to trying out the island’s golf courses.