A native Mancunian now living in Salford, Ferns served as president of the students’ union at Lancaster before staying on to work in overseas student welfare and recruitment. He went on to the University of Salford before joining the Victoria University of Manchester in 1985, and has worked in media relations, corporate promotions and marketing at the university ever since.

Appointed head of PR in 2001, he led the communications and branding project when the Victoria University of Manchester merged with UMIST in 2004, when he also took on his current role. He leads a team of 25.