Gazelle is an association of 10 further education colleges across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who are committed to embedding entrepreneurship into their colleges.
Gazelle in the business sense refers to those businesses that are fast growth and leap over other businesses – it’s that ethos that the colleges are capturing through the name Gazelle.
The Chief Executive of Gazelle is Fintan Donohue, who is also Chief Executive North Hertfordshire College. However, all policy and structural decisions are made in consultation with all 19 principals of the member colleges.
The colleges in the Gazelle group are:
Gazelle was founded in 2011 by Fintan Donohue, Chief Executive of North Hertfordshire College; Dick Palmer, Chief Executive of City College Norwich; Amarjit Basi, Principal & CEO of New College Nottingham; Richard Thorold, Principal & CEO of Gateshead College and Mariane Cavalli, Principal & CEO of Warwickshire College.
The five principals shared the same philosophy - that entrepreneurialism is not something innate in certain individuals but something that can be taught and developed.
The Gazelle Colleges Group believed that in the current economic climate students in further education need more than just a qualification. They felt it was vital to foster a new generation of social and commercial entrepreneurs; entrepreneurs who can add value to communities, bring innovation to existing businesses and who can create their own employment with confidence and ambition.
The group has been formed to fulfil the ambitions of the principals, which is to use entrepreneurship as a strategic driver for change within colleges.
Gazelle is increasingly recognised as an exemplar in the further education sector, with Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills, saying at this year's AoC Conference:
"The route to recognition is for every college to be as good as the most outstanding college is today. It will come only when teaching in FE is uniformly high quality. Only when every college is as enterprising as the Gazelle Group. When every college reaches for the stars."
Gazelle believe that students that attend a Gazelle College will develop skills that they wouldn't develop at any other college. Even if they don't have any desire to start their own business, skills developed will improve their employability, and make them able to add value to any business in any sector that they join.
One of the benefits of being part of Gazelle is the collaboration between the colleges - as a national movement colleges in the group will benefit from the knowledge and experience of the other member colleges. They also benefit from the input of Gazelle's entrepreneurs, who have visited a number of the other colleges already.
You can find out more news about the work Gazelle is doing nationally on their website.