IfA undecided on Dame Asha board replacement

The Institute for Apprenticeships still doesn’t know when – or if – it will fill the place left vacant on its board following the departure of Dame Asha Khemka.

Her resignation on October 19, three weeks after she stepped down from crisis-hit West Nottinghamshire College, left the IfA with just one serving college principal on its board.

But when FE Week asked the IfA for an update on plans to replace her, and whether it would recruit another college leader in her place, a spokesperson told us that “the chair will decide in due course”.

Dame Asha left her role at the IfA last month, two weeks after the institute said she remained a “valued member”.

“Considering I am no longer a serving principal, I have decided to step down from the board. I convey my best wishes to the institute,” she said at the time.

Dame Asha and Bev Robinson, principal of Blackpool and the Fylde College, were the only two serving college leaders named to the IfA’s board in January 2017.

A further two people were appointed in May this year, neither of whom was from a college.

The IfA’s website still lists Dame Asha as a serving board member, and as a member of its quality assurance committee, despite her resignation.

Dame Asha, who led WNC from 2006, stepped down from the top job on October 1 following a “special meeting of the board of governors” held “in light of the current challenges faced by the college”.

It was forced to go to the Education and Skills Funding Agency in July for a £2.1 million bailout, just 48 hours before it would have run out of cash, as revealed by FE Week.

A damning FE commissioner report, published on Friday, criticised “serious corporate failure”, lack of oversight and a “financial crisis” at the college.

Dame Asha was one of the most highly-paid principals in the FE sector, with a remuneration package worth £262,000 in 2016/17.

She received £15,000 a year for her role on the IfA board. Following her appointment last year, a spokesperson for WNC refused to say whether Dame Asha would keep the money herself or give it to the college.