West Lothian College Board of Governors is made up of a range of industry experts, Council Leaders, Education experts, Senior Management from the College, Student Representatives and College staff.
Below you will find information and background on the current members of our Board of Governors.
ALEX LINKSTON - Regional Chair of the Board
Alex Linkston, Former Chief Executive of West Lothian Council joined the Board in March 2005. Alex's successful career began when he joined the then West Lothian County Council as a Trainee Accountant. In October 1971, at the age of 21, he became the youngest student to qualify for membership of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accounting (CIPFA).
He was appointed Chief Executive of West Lothian District Council in 1990 and West Lothian Council in 1995.Alex has been awarded various awards such as the Quality Scotland's Leadership Award in 2007, a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2008 and the Prince's Trust Scotland Volunteer of the Year in 2009. Alex still has several interests following his retirement.
He is Chair of Forth Valley Health Board, on the Council of the Princes' Trust Scotland and is a former President of the Linlithgow and Grange Rotary Club. A family man, Alex enjoys travelling, gardening, walking and cycling.
JACKIE GALBRAITH - Principal and CEO/Board Member
After achieving a BSc Computer Information Systems, Jackie began her career as a computer programmer in the manufacturing sector. She moved onto the University of Paisley as a computing lecturer and was an early pioneer in online learning, a role she developed further when she became director of learning at the Scottish Council for Educational Technology.
As assistant chief executive at Learning and Teaching Scotland, she led national government digital initiatives for schools. Jackie took up a vice principal post at Ayrshire College in 2013, where her responsibilities included information systems and data analytics. She became principal of West Lothian College in August 2018.
Throughout her career, she has retained a passion for addressing the gender balance in technology and engineering, leading initiatives like This Ayrshire Girl Can.
SUE COOK - Vice Chair of the Board & Chair of Audit Committee
Sue, a board member originally from Montreal, Canada who joined the board in June 2008 is also Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee.
Sue started her own multimedia business at the age of 21 and the company was voted one of Scotland’s top 5 companies. She then went on to become CEO of the Interactive Media Alliance of Scotland, the industry body and saw it through its merger with two other organisations to form ScotlandIS. Sue was then appointed Executive Director of the DVD Association Europe and then decided to consult for the interactive media industry part time.
Sue now consults on a freelance basis for small/medium companies and specialises in strategy and communications. Sue has a Masters in Computer Science from Aberdeen University. Her external interests range from Justice of the Peace for the Sheriffdom of Lothian and Borders, Chairman of Princes Trust (West Lothian), West Lothian Schools Appeal Panel. Personal interests include cycling, travel, learning to play golf and most importantly spending time with her daughter and twin boys.
LYNNE HOLLIS - Board Member
Lynne Hollis joined the Board in May 2019. Lynne is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant and has a MBA from Strathclyde University.
Although originally from Aberdeen, she was brought up in Fort William prior to returning to Aberdeen for her degree studies in Business Management. She started her career in Aberdeen with HM Customs & Excise before moving to London to start her accountancy training. She has worked in senior finance positions mainly in the NHS, both in England and Scotland, but also with other public sector bodies.
She has a management consultancy business.
Lynne has lived in West Lothian since 2003, and her personal interests includes travel and genealogy research.
ELAINE COOK - Board Member
Dr. Elaine Cook was appointed as Depute Chief Executive in August 2015. From 2011 until 2015 she was Head of Education in West Lothian with responsibility for secondary, additional support needs, professional learning and infrastructure.
From 2005 until 2011, she was Head Teacher at two secondary schools in West Lothian – West Calder High School and Deans Community High School.
Elaine’s career in education began in 1991 in England where she taught for 6 years before moving to Scotland. Prior to that she worked in Actuarial Finance in both Glasgow and London.
SIMON ASHPOOL - Board Member
Simon joined the board in August 2016 and is a member of the Audit Committee. Simon has a MA in English Literature from the University in Glasgow and is a qualified teacher, gaining specialisms in Literacy and ESOL.
His career began as a Graduate Trainee at The University of Glasgow Library, before embarking on a career in teaching. Simon taught English in China for two years and he moved back to the UK to join Newcastle College as an ESOL Instructor, before being promoted to ESOL Instructor Coordinator. Since 2008 Simon has been Learning Manager at Crisis, formerly at the charity’s Newcastle centre and currently at its Edinburgh service. Simon set up the charity’s learning service in Edinburgh and is responsible for its development and expansion. His role involves leading on all aspects of the service’s educational delivery. Simon is part of Crisis’ Scotland Strategy group, developing local and national strategy to reduce homelessness. Simon is also a Director of Learning Link Scotland. Simon gained his SVQ in Management at West Lothian College. Personal interests include travel, swimming and reading.
JULIA SIMPSON - Board Member & Staff Member
Julia commenced employment with West Lothian College in 2012, initially as a member of the HR team before moving into her current role as the College’s Learning and Development Officer.
Prior to working at West Lothian College, Julia lived in England with her husband and son, where she had a varied career which included quality assurance, account management and bid management.
She is a strong advocate for College education, having achieved a range of qualifications during her 29 year career through this route. These qualifications have included a vocational qualification in childcare in additional to ILM and CIPD qualifications. She is currently a Career Ready Mentor through the College, supporting a high school student to prepare for the workplace.
Since moving to Scotland, Julia has been involved with a wide range of organisations on a voluntary basis. Most recently as the founding member and group facilitator to a local Bounce Back to Netball Team (known as West Lothian Netters), encouraging anyone 18 years + to engage in sport in a supportive and fun environment.
Finally, when she has some spare time, Julia also enjoys walking (and sometimes running) with her Border Collie and time at her allotment plot.
FRANK GRIBBEN - Board Member
Frank is currently a Strategic Project Director at the University of Glasgow, having recently undertaken roles in the National Galleries of Scotland and University of Edinburgh. Frank has over 25 years of university management experience in Scotland, including a period at the Scottish Funding Council. Frank holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees in English Literature from the University of Stirling, and an MBA from University College London.
Frank supports the development of business, financial and estates strategies at the National Galleries. His recent duties at the University included overall line management of 550 support staff in the College of Humanities & Social Science, responsibility for the college’s financial, business and estates planning, and for managing the college's budget.
Frank joined West Lothian College Board of Governors in September 2013. He is the Senior Independent Person on the Board, and is also a member of the College's Finance & General Purposes Committee.
IAIN McINTOSH - Chair of Learning & Teaching Committee
Dr Iain McIntosh is currently a Leadership Consultant at Edinburgh Napier University having recently retired as Assistant Principal for Organisational, Corporate & Partnership Development. In that context, he is particularly interested in leadership development and change, and in strengthening mutually beneficial partnerships with a wide range of organisations.
Previously Dean of the Faculty of Health, Life & Social Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, he retains an interest in the diverse disciplines which that included. By profession, Iain is a nurse, with a background in intensive care nursing. His interests nowadays tend towards the experience of care in later life. He is also concerned with professional regulation of nursing and the relationship with higher education. Iain chaired the NMC Stakeholder Advisory Group which led to new standards for pre-registration nursing education effective from 2012. He also chaired the SGHD Delivery Group on Recruitment and Retention of nursing and midwifery students until it completed its work in 2013.
Iain is originally from Glasgow, and now lives with his family in Dunbar, East Lothian. He spent five of his many enjoyable years in nursing education as Head of Department of Adult Nursing, based at St John’s Hospital, Livingston in the mid-90s and has retained an affinity for the hospital and West Lothian.
COLIN MILLER - Board Member
Colin joined the Board in March 2015 and is a member of the Learning and Teaching Committee. Colin has a legal background having graduated from Glasgow University with a Bachelor of Laws. He then went on to study European law at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and also has a Masters Degree from the University of Bristol. Colin is a partner in a leading UK national firm and specialises in commercial contracts, intellectual property and competition law, including EU procurement. He is accredited as a specialist in Intellectual Property by the Law Society of Scotland and sits on the Law Society of Scotland Intellectual Property Committee. He has both a personal and professional interest in education. He has acted for Glasgow Caledonian University, The Robert Gordon University and South Lanarkshire College and enjoys teaching on the Diploma in Legal Practice at Glasgow University. His personal interests are golf, jogging and classical music.
NEIL SINCLAIR - Board Member & Staff Member
Neil is a Photography Lecturer in the Business and Creative Centre. He has worked in the College in a teaching capacity since 2006, teaching Photography and related subjects up to HNC Level. He initially worked in Clinical Photography for Wolverhampton Health Authority before leaving to join the College in 1986 as Graphic Technician in the Bathgate Campus.
Leaving in 1997 to become a Scene Examiner with Strathclyde Police for Six years. After which he pursued freelance photographic work along with teaching posts at John Wheatley College and The University of the West of Scotland.
Neil still does his own Photographic work and enjoys travel, eating out and spending time with his family and friends.
RICHARD LOCKHART - Board Member
Richard joined the Board in August 2016 and is also a member of the Finance & General Purposes Committee. He is a commercial lawyer with breadth and depth of experience in programme and project origination and planning, co-ordinating, managing and delivering legal services in a wide range of contracts across various sectors, including education, energy, social infrastructure and transport.
He advises on PFI/PPP, commercial contracts, associated delivery models, financing and budgetary considerations, and related governance and regulatory matters.
He trained and qualified at McGrigor Donald (now Pinsent Masons) before working in London, for the healthcare specialist, Capsticks and more recently Brodies.
As well as being a qualified and practising lawyer, Richard holds an Executive Leadership Programme accreditation from Henley Business School. He currently works for the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) in its multi-disciplinary Low Carbon Team. He is closely involved in developing and delivering infrastructure investment programmes to assist with meeting Scottish Government’s Low Carbon policy objectives, including Scotland’s Climate Change targets.
Richard also sits on the Scotland Advisory Committee of Pilotlight, a capacity building charity offering free tailored strategic planning support to charities and social enterprises that are tackling disadvantage in the UK.
Personal interests include property renovation/development, cycling, swimming, golf and tennis.
MOIRA NIVEN - Chair of Finance & General Purposes Committee
Moira Niven was the Depute Chief Executive of West Lothian council with responsibility for Education, Planning and Area Services. She retired in September 2015 after some 20 years of service to the West Lothian community.
Moira had over 38 years’ experience in education. She began her teaching career in 1977 at James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh, as a Business Studies Teacher.
Throughout her career Moira was committed to lifelong learning and adult education. She had an interest in extra-curricular activities and was involved with outdoor education activities such as hill-walking, canoeing and hockey in the schools where she taught.
Moira was awarded an MBE for Services to Education in 2010.
On her retirement, Moira was appointed Depute Lord Lieutenant for West Lothian. She joined West Lothian College Board in December 2016 and is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.
CLAIRE PROBERT - Board Member
Claire Probert joined the board in August 2017 and is a member of the Finance & General Purposes Committee. Claire is a chartered accountant and graduated from Edinburgh University with a honours degree in Law.
Claire specialises in forensic accounting and works for Grant Thornton undertaking fraud and financial misconduct investigations, expert witness assignments and contract compliance reviews across a broad range of sectors. Claire also sits on the discipline panel for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland.
Personal interests revolve around her two young children and keeping up with family and friends.
TOM BATES - Board Member
Tom joined the Board in August 2017 and is a member of the Learning & Teaching Committee in addition to being actively involved with the STEM group within the College. Tom’s career began in the fire service in England until 1993 after which he moved to Livingston and joined NEC prior to its closure in 2002. He is currently Managing Director of Lareine Engineering Ltd after becoming involved with the engineering sector during 2002.
When he isn’t busy running the business, Tom is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and is an active Board Member of the Chamber’s Developing the Young Workforce group in West Lothian.
In his spare time, Tom enjoys spending time with family and going on holidays.
MICHELLE LOW - Board Member & President of Student Association
My name is Michelle Low, I have attended West Lothian College over the last 3 years, studying Health and Social Care level 5&6, then completing my HNC Social Services in 2017-2018. This course was invaluable for me as I would like to work with individuals with diagnosed severe mental illness. West Lothian College helped me complete my SVQ 3 in order to do this.
In my free time I enjoy spending time socialising with friends and family, I also enjoy relaxing and reading.
I feel privileged to be working for the student’s association this year. I feel this position will let me gain the skills I need to follow my career in the future. I love helping/supporting people, so I am excited and looking forward to the year ahead supporting the students.
GEMMA REYNOLDS - Board Member & Vice President of Student Association
Gemma Reynolds Vice President for the year, studied Business Management for the past 3 years at West Lothian College. Interests include spending time with my two daughters, travelling and reading. Gemma is looking to work in adult education in the future after such a good experience in West Lothian College studying.