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GMColleges Welcomes Trio of Innovation Appointments

Written on 25th June 2024

We are delighted to announce three new appointments created through the Further Education Innovation Fund, to help expand innovation across Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs. 

Trevor Gregory joins the team as Innovator in Residence, Advanced Sustainable Materials & Manufacturing, Tom Marshall has been appointed as Innovator in Residence, Digital & Creative while Ekambara Rao Ardhimi is a project manager with responsibility for monitoring and reporting the impact of the programme. 

The Greater Manchester FE Innovation Programme (GMFEIP) is a year-long project, funded by Innovate UK that aims to increase the role of Further Education Colleges in the expansion of innovation support to improve productivity across the region. 

The Innovators in Residence will play a pivotal part in shaping the future of Further Education, and its connection with industry, across Greater Manchester. They will be responsible for identifying the key industry trends and future skills requirements for GM’s frontier sectors, and collaborating with the nine Further Education Colleges to share knowledge and to help develop technical education in line with the region’s skills demand. 

Trevor is an Industrial Chemist with an impressive career spanning education and industry, including several senior roles across the private and public sector. He has been involved in innovation strategy development and knowledge exchange activity regionally, nationally and across the EU. Most recently, Trevor was Head of Business Engagement and Enterprise in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Hull University 

Tom has a wealth of experience across the digital and creative industries. As Creative Director of Captive North, Tom’s projects included brand campaigns and educational programmes, while his work as a Producer focused on identifying emerging trends, making him ideally placed to take on the role as Innovator in Residence. 

Tom explained, “I’m looking forward to being part of a chain reaction. Curiosity is often the starting point of innovation, driving individuals to explore, question, and understand the world around them, leading to new ideas and creative solutions. Greater Manchester is currently on a rising wave of innovation, recognising its crucial role in shaping the future of our economy and the importance of engaging all boroughs and industries. In such a fast moving industry, the key is to explore and adapt in order to take advantage of opportunities and gaps within the market.”  

Trevor stated, “Innovation is about doing something new or different and extracting value from it. The Advanced Sustainable Materials & Manufacturing sector is changing both continuously and rapidly, therefore businesses must be agile to change and take advantage of opportunities that arise. To do this, they must have the right internal culture and mind-set but also be part of an open innovation infrastructure where collaboration is of paramount importance.” 

Coral Grainger, who leads the team commented, “We are delighted to have Trevor, Tom and Ekambara in place to drive our innovation journey across the region. Expanding our team allows us to focus on building robust partnerships between  our Further Education Colleges and the wider innovation ecosystem, ensuring our colleges are on the right path to embed innovation into the technical education system and increase productivity all across the city region.  

“We have two further Innovator in Residence roles to fill, one for Net Zero, and another focussed on Health Innovation & Life Sciences.” 

To find out more about the programme and these roles please visit FE Innovation | GMColleges (  or email