Born and bred in Chesterfield, Stuart kicked off his career as an apprentice electrician for the National Coal Board.
Stuart also studied at the former North East Derbyshire College and Chesterfield College at the age of 16.
Prior to joining Chesterfield College in November 2014 Stuart was the principal and chief executive of Northumberland College. His career spans 34 years across eight different colleges throughout the UK.
1 - What do you like best about living in Chesterfield and why?
I think the friendliness and openness of people here is probably one of Chesterfield’s key strengths. The resilience and tenacity of the local business community to succeed is a significant strength along with their determination to be the very best at what they do is there for all to see and the success stories in this great town are something to be really proud about.
2 - What are your favourite ways to spend your free time in Derbyshire?
My wife and I enjoy walking in the Peak District and we do our best to get our walking boots on for a long hike at least once a month. We never tire of undertaking the same walks, since every time we do the same walk we experience something different, although nowadays the walks seem to take longer to complete!
3 - Where is your favourite place to eat out locally and why?
We enjoy Kathmandu in Clay Cross - it has not only the finest and best variety of Indian food available in the region but it also has outstanding customer service which makes the whole package one to savour and enjoy.
4 - What are the positives about running a business here?
I think this comes down to the people again but also the networks and opportunities available to local businesses are first class. Being a board member of Destination Chesterfield and a Chesterfield Champion is a real bonus for meeting new like-minded business people and learning about all the opportunities available within the local community.
5 - How do you see the future for Chesterfield and its small businesses?
Chesterfield College’s Learning Unlimited, works with over 1,200 local businesses, many of whom are small to medium enterprises. It trains over 4,000 apprentices and delivers more than 70 different apprenticeship frameworks. This will have a major impact on the growth of small businesses. I remain optimistic that we will continue to see an upturn in the economic prosperity of the town.
6 - If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you do to improve Chesterfield?
I’d probably load the Houses of Parliament in London onto a low loader and move it to Queens Park so that the government could really see what’s happening in the town and therefore give it the credit that it really deserves!
7 - What three words best sum up Chesterfield?
Capable, Confident, and Strong
By Stuart Cutforth, New Principal, Chesterfield College