Former Canadian Mountie and top business guru join MK College team

 
Fri 31 Aug 2012

Milton Keynes College is making clear its intent to become a top-ranked educational establishment with the recruitment of two remarkable high flyers to its management ranks.

New Deputy Principal Nick Isles has provided business consultancy to internationally known names like Tesco and Asda as well as being an advisor to leading politicians in Britain and Europe.  Dr. Daniel Hidlebaugh is a globally recognised expert in computers, has been shot in the line of police duty, served as a Major in the Canadian military, has more degrees and post graduate qualifications then the average episode of Inspector Morse and is frequently asked to share his expertise with the top people at computer giants IBM and Microsoft.

Among the impressive credentials on his CV, Nick Isles is the author of The Good Work Guide, and has held senior positions at the Work Foundation, the Employment Policy Institute and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He is a highly respected business consultant but decided he wanted to find a job where rather than offering advice and then leaving he could see the results of his efforts truly bear fruit.  “Milton Keynes College really appealed to me because I’ve always been attracted to values-driven organisations,” he says.  “I hope my experience across all sectors, public, private and voluntary will be really useful here and I want to see the College right up there in the top ten of British Further Education Colleges.”

One of his key messages to parents and prospective students is to come to the College to see exactly what is on offer.  “I have one daughter who has been through the FE College system and one who is there at the moment.  They chose it rather than a school sixth form because it offered the kind of courses and all-round educational experience they needed as part of that transition to adult life.  For both of them it has definitely been a more worthwhile experience than staying on at school.”

Nick says he has already seen an incredible amount of talent and enthusiasm among the staff and it is that he hopes to harness.  “Everywhere I’ve worked – and all the research supports this – I have seen how people work better when they’re given the opportunity to make as many of the decisions as possible which affect the work they do.  I want to help give staff the confidence to take control because I know the results will be exceptional.”

One area which has already impressed him is the ambitious plans already in place to ramp up the ICT facilities available to students which he says will, “put this College at the forefront of what is happening in FE Colleges around the country.”

The job of realising that digital revolution falls to former Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman, Dr. Daniel Hidlebaugh who plans to ensure the computer systems at Milton Keynes College make it a world leader among educational establishments.

He says, “There are so many things which can be done here which will provide enormous opportunities for all the students and the staff to broaden their horizons.  There is a word I will not hear used when it comes to making the most of all the possibilities technology offers, and that word is “no.”  I cannot give too much away yet, but I can promise that students considering Milton Keynes College in the future will have significant and exciting incentives to want to come to us to study.”  

Dr. Hidlebaugh is a recognised authority on networks and particularly on “cloud” technology, where data is stored remotely in a Virtual Learning Environment rather than on individual PCs.  He has already started harnessing new technologies and is designing a cloud specifically for the College where students and staff can share information across classes and disciplines. 

“We are giving our students the tools and the environment to work smarter - equipping them to be versatile in the modern workplace where learning and leisure sit together.”

Dr. Hidlebaugh has worked at senior levels in government and private industry as well as law enforcement, the military and education in a career which has taken him to three continents.  He set up one of the first Internet Service Providers in Canada before leading a research team looking at wireless technologies at the world famous Bell Labs in the United States.  With two doctorates he became involved in pan- American projects on data transmission and distribution before planning and implementing wireless infrastructure for a major US city, MIT and a number of other US Universities.  Giants like Microsoft and IBM regularly invite him to be an expert guest speaker at their events.

He has worked in Britain for the past eleven years, combining teaching with designing and building networks.  He says, “I did try to retire once but people kept offering me work to do.  The fact is I’m passionate about education and I just love to be involved in the kinds of projects which can make huge improvements to the way things work.”

Milton Keynes College CEO and Principal, Dr Julie Mills, says, “It’s a real coup for Milton Keynes College to have Nick and Daniel here.  Nick has some terrific ideas about how to move us forward and his track record in improving organisations speaks for itself.  With all Daniel’s experience and expertise he’s going to make dramatic changes which will put us at the forefront of the teaching and use of computers in British education.  We’re just so pleased to have both of them with us and look forward to an exciting future, providing exceptional teaching and an enriching learning environment for all of our students.”

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