Bill Grady OBE is interim principal at BCA

Bill Grady OBE is interim principal at BCA

Amanda Hall

Bill Grady OBE is interim principal at BCA

A principal who has been honoured by the Queen for pulling colleges out of special measures has taken the helm at the Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) in Maidenhead.

But Bill Grady OBE said his skills won't be tested as interim principal at the Hall Place college as it's the 'best' he has ever worked in.

"I said to the governing body I'm not sure why you've employed me, this is a brilliant college," he said.

The 68-year-old added the countryside institute is a stark contrast to some of the problem places he's managed including one college where staff were threatened with guns.

He began his career as a lecturer at North Trafford College after graduating from university with a degree in applied physics.

Over 34-years he rose through the ranks to become principal in 1999 before he was asked to take over the troubled Isle of Wight College two years later.

It had been threatened with closure after receiving a damning Ofsted inspection and falling into financial difficulty.

But by autumn 2003, Mr Grady had managed to turn the college's fortunes around and was awarded an OBE in 2004 for his efforts.

Although officially retiring in 2003, the father-of-two and grandfather-of-six has been involved in the recovery of eight colleges since.

He said his work often means spending long periods of time away from his wife of 21-years, Anne, and their home in Wilmslow but added he is not ready to step-down yet.

“For me life is about making a contribution and I guess that's my reason for doing what I do," he said.

"I can't remember a single day in the last 44 years when I've not wanted to go to work."

He added BCA was hoping to appoint a new principal by October.

Mr Grady took over the college last month following the shock departure of Steve Wain in February.

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