Mr Higgins, who has held the role of Chief Operating Officer at Northern Regional College for the past six years, secured a BTEC National Diploma in Business & Finance at the College’s Magherafelt campus before progressing to Higher Education and embarking on a career as a chartered accountant.
In recent months he has served as Acting Principal and Chief Executive at the College.
As Chief Operating Officer, Mr Higgins has been responsible for overseeing the College’s annual budget in excess of £40 million and 700 staff. He has also led on an £85 million campus redevelopment – funded by the Department for the Economy – to redevelop the College’s campuses at Farm Lodge in Ballymena and Union Street in Coleraine, consolidating its provision across six campuses to four.
Mel Higgins commenced his career in PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he trained as a chartered accountant, subsequently held various senior positions in industry and the Northern Ireland Civil Service before being appointed Chief Executive of the urban regeneration company Ilex in 2012.
In this role, he redeveloped the former military site at Ebrington in Derry-Londonderry, managed City of Culture programmes, completed the £13.5 million Peace Bridge project and oversaw the co-ordinated regeneration of the city. He was appointed to the role of Chief Operating Officer at Northern Regional College in 2015.
Mr Higgins, who grew up in Maghera and now resides in Coleraine, is committed to adopting a “collaborative and outward-looking approach” in his role as Principal and Chief Executive.
“I am both personally and professionally delighted to be appointed as Principal and Chief Executive of the College at such a transformative time, when we have exciting plans to invest in sustainable infrastructure to achieve the very best learning experience for our students.
“As Principal and Chief Executive, I look forward to reaching out, engaging and listening to our students and staff, and nurturing new and established partnerships with local businesses, communities and stakeholders that are so critical in helping us to prepare our students for the world of work.”