The Association of Colleges’ area director for London has been made an honorary MBE by the Queen for services to further education.
Mary Vine-Morris was among esteemed foreign nationals awarded honorary gongs this week ahead of the Queen’s birthday honours list next week.
Vine-Morris, who has an Irish passport, has served AoC’s London membership for over seven years and prior to that led on 14-to-19 for local government body London Councils, following a nine-year stint at the Learning and Skills Council.
As well as leading AoC’s membership services in London, Vine-Morris has also been the organisation’s national lead for employment in recent years, working in tricky issues related to industrial relations, pay and conditions.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has congratulated Vine-Morris, telling FE Week: “This fantastic achievement is testimony to Mary’s leadership at the Association of Colleges and long-standing support for further education and training in London, including her continued contribution to City Hall’s work on jobs and skills.”
Awards for foreign nationals are known as ‘honorary’ but recipients are still entitled to use the letters after their name if they choose.
Vine-Morris describes the honour as “deeply personal”.
“I know I should say how pleased I am that this accolade is contributing to the sector getting some well-deserved publicity – and I am – but the truth is this is deeply personal to me. My mom would be very proud of this achievement, and I only wish she was still alive to see it,” she said.
“I was born in in County Cork in Ireland, before moving to Willenhall, in the West Midlands, so I want to share this with all the other non-UK passport holders working so hard in our colleges and across the sector.”
David Hughes, chief executive of the AoC, said: “Everyone at AoC is delighted for Mary. She has worked tirelessly for the sector, for learners, for better education and skills throughout her career and her focus on better outcomes shines through her work.
“The fact the mayor of London is singing her praises tells you all you need to know about her influence.”