PROFESSOR Graham Henderson has taken over as vice-chancellor at the University of Teesside after replacing Derek Fraser who retired this week.

Prof Henderson has been deputy vice-chancellor since he joined the university in 1999 and hopes to continue building links with the community and industry in the North-East.

"It is a huge step forward to become the chief executive of an organisation instead of being the deputy," he said

"It's a big challenge, but it is brilliant that I have been given the chance to do it."

Prof Henderson said he wanted to encourage more people to consider higher education despite the financial constraints encountered by many students.

He hopes the Government's decision to delay the imposition of tuition fees until after graduation while reintroducing maintenance grants would persuade people to consider courses.

Prof Henderson said: "University can be for everyone, whatever your background, higher education does not have to be elitist," he said. "It is about lifelong learning and you are never too old to do a course.

"I am the first member of my family to go to university but I didn't stop doing extra courses and learning when I finished and now I am the vice-chancellor."