News & Insights

POSTED Wednesday 29-05-24

Fostering Success with South Lanarkshire College

In the dynamic landscape of executive search, our success often hinges on our ability to bring strategic thinking and emerging talent to the forefront for our clients. At the heart of this, lies a testament to the power of collaboration, professional partnership, and unwavering commitment to our (Aspen) PEOPLE values. We’re delighted to share a case study with our partner, South Lanarkshire College where these elements converged, resulting in delighted candidates and clients alike. This was a unique assignment given we were managing six roles across various levels which all required attention and skill.





The Brief:                                                           

Every successful assignment begins with a brief, and ours was no different. The team at South Lanarkshire College came to us with a brief to support the development of their leadership team and key managerial roles. The roles were as follows:

  • Vice Principal Finance, Resource & Sustainability
  • Vice Principal Learning, Teaching & Student Experience
  • Governance Professional
  • Governance & Executive Support Manager
  • Marketing & Communications Manager
  • Depute Head of Management & Information Systems

As ranked Number 1 on the APUC framework, our vision and commitment as well as expertise to senior level recruitment across the further and higher education sectors in Scotland placed us in a fantastic position to bring the right people into these key roles.

The backdrop of the campaign was set against the appointment of a new substantive Principal, Stella McManus, creating a new era of leadership for the college. South Lanarkshire College understood that they would be entrusting Aspen as their independent partners to represent the employer brand with positive professional integrity, in line with the values and strategic mission of South Lanarkshire College.

Aspen is trusted by current and aspiring leaders for our knowledge and experience within the College and wider education sector, as well as for our independent candidate representation. Thus, following our in-depth initial briefing and ongoing communication plan we were able to represent the strength, depth, and vision of the current team as well as to position the opportunity to ‘make a difference’ in the community and student population that the College serves.

Of the six roles we were briefed for, three of these roles were middle management positions: Marketing and Communications Manager, Depute Head of Management & Information Systems (MIS) and Governance and Executive Support Manager. These roles were vital to the growth of the organisation as well as the talent pipeline for the college. As a focus at Aspen People, we dubbed these roles ‘Emerging Leaders’ and built around our interest in supporting leaders of the future, placing a special emphasis on identifying the ‘rising stars’ as well as supporting and recruiting into these roles.


The Candidate Experience:

We were thrilled to have a strong long list of candidates and subsequently appointed into the roles. Our working style is to always work in an honest and fully transparent partnership. We take time to understand our clients’ challenges and the unique culture within their organisation, but we are nimble enough to work at pace and deliver within demanding timeframes. Alongside our rigorous selection processes and carefully maintained network of candidates, these factors give us a competitive edge and enabled us to find the right candidates.

Each of the candidates selected were engaging with Aspen and crafted their applications in line with team discussions, highlighting their interest in the sector, the college, and roles in particular. Central to our ethos is the belief that every candidate deserves to feel valued and respected throughout the selection process which is why we provided comprehensive support and feedback throughout. From the initial outreach to the final offer, we prioritised transparency, communication, and empathy.

As one candidate noted, Aspen provided the “gold standard” for senior recruitment processes.


Embodying our (Aspen) PEOPLE values:

Throughout this journey, we remained guided by our (Aspen) PEOPLE values:

  • Partnership
  • Excellence
  • Openness
  • Professionalism
  • Leadership
  • Empathy

These values weren’t mere slogans but informed, every interaction conducted, and every outcome measured. By staying true to these principles, we fostered an environment where collaboration thrived, and candidates flourished.


To conclude, we were delighted to be appointed by South Lanarkshire College to manage the recruitment of these six key roles. We recently visited the team to see how they are settling into their roles and gather perspectives on the process from both sides.  Collaboration, feedback, and reflection is vital to ongoing partnership, and we hope to only continue this in the future with them.