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Cathryn Hickey


Cathryn has held a number of senior management roles in the downstream oil and gas sector, where she led teams of technical professionals to support businesses across Europe using fuels and lubricants. This was to ensure faultless operation of fleets of vehicles and the operation of factory plant equipment, leading to an increase in product sales and development of new business.

She is experienced in working at the forefront of technological innovation, collaborating with research and manufacturing teams to develop new fuels and leading the teams to bring these to market, through the transition of innovative technological ideas to marketable propositions for the customer.

Cathryn has also worked in the education sector, initially for LearnDirect helping people in areas of deprivation across the West Midlands back into learning and work, and then for SummitSkills, the Sector Skills Council for building services engineering. She has engaged with a wide range of companies from large multinationals to small and medium sized enterprises, to understand the skills needed in their organisations and then translate this into effective training and qualification pathways from school, to further and higher education as well as on the job vocational training routes. 

In her work for the building services engineering sector, Cathryn led the development of a National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies, setting up a UK infrastructure to deliver practical training and qualifications across a range of technologies including solar thermal, photovoltaics, geothermal and biomass. 

She is a graduate of the University of Sheffield, where she studied chemistry and undertook a PhD in organometallic chemistry in conjunction with BP Chemicals. This involved developing a new, more effective catalyst for their acetic acid plant at Hull. 

Cathryn has worked for Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership to develop an Applied Materials Research, Innovation and Commercialisation Centre (AMRICC) for the city region, of which she is now the Chief Executive. 

Cathryn has been a member of the Court and Council of University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology where she worked on the development of the new combined University of Manchester. She has also been a governor of Harper Adams University, and a Governor and Chair of Governors in a number of schools. She hopes to bring this combined experience of business and education to her work on the Staffordshire University Board.