Who we are

Who we are

The Opportunity Area is managed by an independent board that brings together senior leaders from schools, communities, business, and central and local government. They bring their experience, insight and ambition to Stoke-on-Trent and its young people.

Our chairs

Dr. Carol Shanahan and Prof. Liz Barnes 

Dr Carol Shanahan is the managing director of Synectics Solutions. Established in 1992, this data software business has outgrown three premises and employs over 350 staff. It won Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year and reached The Times Top 100 for Export Growth. Carol works with local initiatives to improve outcomes for children in the most disadvantaged wards.

Professor Liz Barnes CBE is Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive at Staffordshire University, a leading provider of higher and degree apprenticeships. She has built and maintained a strong network of employers across the city to ensure that the university provides vocationally relevant courses and supports routes into careers.

Partnership board members

The meetings are also attended by Claire Trewartha, West Midlands Regional Schools Commissioner, Chris Senior, head of delivery, and Andrew George, area delivery lead, for the Department for Education; and by David O’Connell, programme manager.