Since our inception, Retinent has been totally focused on building a strategic, quality product offering.
Formed in 2016 by an education consultant, a University Pro Vice Chancellor and former College Principal. Working in the sector the 3 founders all came to the same conclusion independently - too many opportunities were being missed because some students were finding the demanding environment too much to cope with. However each of the Founders felt that if the students could be identified early enough and supported then not only would they last the course their results would improve overall.
Was this theory correct or not?
It was at this point the Founders came upon the research regarding Mental Toughness and Retinent was born.
Charles is the founder and Chief Executive of Retinent Ltd. In addition to acting as the CEO, Charles also looks after business development and sales.
Charles has been working with Universities and Colleges since 2004, helping them to develop effective internationalisation strategies, and through his interest and involvement in the sector has become involved in a number of education businesses.
He founded Retinent in 2016, after his eldest daughter had gone to university, and he became interested in the issues around student retention, satisfaction and employability and the strategies universities can put in place to improve them.
Charles started his career in the hotel sector following an undistinguished academic career. At the age of 30 he decided to leave the sector and started and sold a number of internet based businesses. In 1999 he created a specialist international business development consultancy, which has grown to include fifty regional offices around the world.
Dr Aulay Mackenzie is an academic and university executive with over 25 years experience in the UK HE sector. He has worked at Pro-Vice Chancellor level at two institutions (Teesside University and Wrexham Glyndwr University) with responsibilities including student experience, quality assurance, international recruitment, partnerships and enterprise.
Prior to this Dr Mackenzie was Chief Academic Officer at an online higher education start-up backed by Bertelsmann, where he gained expertise around innovative blended and online pedagogy, and spent over fifteen years at the University of Essex, including nearly a decade as Dean of Academic Partnerships where he was responsible for the development and oversight of institution’s educational partnerships.
He applies his background as a quantitative modeller in evolutionary ecology to a variety of higher education management issues, including retention, performance, NSS and league table analysis.
Aulay has worked with Charles on Retinent since its inception. His role is product development and partner development – seeking new and more effective, more efficient ways of enhancing student retention, engagement, employability and overall performance in Universities and Colleges.
Chief Academic Officer & Director
As Retinent’s COO, Geoff is responsible for the day to day running of the Company. This involves ensuring that clients are being “wowed” by their experience of Retinent. He oversees the delivery of all contracts with customers and suppliers, as well as the promotion and marketing of Retinent with Aulay.
Geoff is the former Principal and Chief Executive of Carnegie College in Dunfermline, Fife. He was responsible for revitalising this 114-year educational institution with over 500 staff and achieving year on year improvement in education attainment and retention including the highest rating for an external review. In addition, he guided this multi-site College (14 learning centres from Inverness to Edinburgh) into a merger to form Fife Regional College in 2013. Under Geoff’s leadership the College changed its culture to become more of a single team with a common focus and a desire to be successful. The result was a cohesive team, raised student attainment and improved retention.
Geoff has over 28 years’ senior management experience gained in the Scottish College Education sector and the international Meetings industry. He has a specialist background in Total Quality Management (TQM) and Business Excellence – being one of a handful of UK Business Leaders in the UK who has led an organisation to win the European Quality Award – the “Oscars” of the business world.
As well as leading organisations, Geoff has always been involved in people development and skills training. He has experience as a Board Director of a National Training Organisation and was a founding Trustee of the Sector Skills Council (People 1st) and its first Scottish Chair. He continues to be actively involved in developing people being a member of the faculty of the Association Internationale de Palais des Congress Academy. He also runs his own Business Consultancy.
Chief Operating Officer & Director
With over 20 years’ experience in Higher Education, the majority of Hugh's career has been as a university senior lecturer and programme leader for sports related programmes. Alongside Hugh’s teaching role he focussed on improving the student experience through course design, assessment and co-curricular activities that enhanced the development of skills and knowledge to help better prepare students for their future careers.
Hugh has also been the Academic Lead for Retention and Attainment for the Higher Education Academy (HEA), covering a number of important sector themes improving student success (employability, students as partners, mental health and well-being, personal tutoring and peer mentoring). He led 2 important HEA National Student Retention Collaborative projects working with 25 universities to look at ways to improve approaches to student non-continuation, progression and attainment. The case studies (Falmouth University and University of Wolverhampton) highlight the different approaches taken by universities through the project to address non-continuation. These projects acted as positive catalysts for change raising the awareness among staff and providing for investigation of the underlying causes.
Hugh led projects relating to peer mentoring within the Cathedrals Mission group and action learning by Harper Adams University as well as being involved in the RARA project on closing attainment gaps through personal tutoring. He also led 2 very successful Teaching Excellence Programmes for the HEA, working with colleagues in the sector to explore their own practice in student retention, assessment/feedback, employability and how the metrics/data of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework impact on institutions, university staff and students.
Hugh takes an appreciative enquiry approach to working with universities, recognising the challenges they have and identifying areas of good practice that can be scaled up. He takes an evidence based approach to understand what works and propose suggestions for action. Hugh has a clear understanding of effective approaches to improving student retention through examples of good practice, and stresses the importance of measuring impact, collecting data and sharing good practice to understand the effectiveness of interventions.
Associate Director Retinent