Alice Barnard has started in her position as the new chief executive of the Edge Foundation.

She takes over from David Harbourne, Edge’s director of policy and research, who has been acting chief executive since Jan Hodges’ retirement last April.

Ms Barnard moves from her position as leader of the Peter Jones Foundation, which she has held for the last four years.

Commenting on her new role, Ms Barnard said: “I am incredibly excited to be joining Edge at a time when how we shape young people’s education, their training and their futures, is so high on the political agenda.

“I feel passionately about the value of practical, technical and professional learning which can lead not only to successful and fulfilling careers, but are essential if we are to be equipped with the skills we need for a 21st century global economy.”

Before she was at the Peter Jones Foundation, Ms Barnard was the chief executive of the Countryside Alliance for five years. She read history at Cambridge University.

The RNN Group, a new education and training organisation created by a merger of Rotherham College of Arts and Technology with North Nottinghamshire College this month, has announced four key appointments.

John Connolly takes the reins as chief executive of the group, after serving as principal at North Nottinghamshire College since 2007.

Prior to that appointment, he was director of finance at the college, joining after a career in the private sector.

Mr Connolly said: “Our merged organisation will give us greater resilience, greater scope to invest and greater influence for the benefit of our local areas and businesses.

“I’m delighted and proud to lead over a thousand talented and dedicated staff who are working towards these ends.”

The chair of governors is Ken Barrass, formerly chair of Rotherham College from 2011 until the merger, who has been involved with the college since 1998, and a governor from 2000 onwards.

Prior to this, Mr Barrass was director of finance for several firms in South Yorkshire.

Phil Sayles, deputy principal at Rotherham College for the past four years, becomes deputy principal of RNN Group.

Mr Sayles previously worked at Lincoln College as director of school, and before that at the Grimsby Institute, working his way up from a part-time teaching role to divisional director, after an early career in the retail and construction sectors.

He said as a larger organisation, the RNN Group will be able to play a stronger role supporting employers through providing apprenticeships, higher-level skills and training solutions, which will “enable students and the existing workforce to develop into the roles organisations need to succeed”.

Paul Baylis has also been appointed vice principal of the group, after serving as assistant principal at North Nottinghamshire College and before that working at Leicester College.

He said merging the two colleges would give the group the clout to promote vocational education more widely.

Meanwhile, Nigel Evans has been selected by the Weymouth College board of governors to lead the college full time, after serving as interim principal since November 2014.

Weymouth College jumped from an inadequate to a good Ofsted rating in November 2015, under Mr Evans’s direction as interim principal.

He guided the college through a structure and prospects appraisal process and out of administered status, following visits from the FE commissioner Dr David Collins, who withdrew his involvement with the improved institution in October.

Mr Evans said he was absolutely delighted to accept the appointment.

He added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges over the last 15 months and feel privileged to be able to lead the college into its bright new future.

“It is my strong view that although we are Weymouth College, we are Weymouth’s college, Portland’s college and actually Dorset’s college, and we are committed to meeting the needs of students, parents, employers and all local stakeholders to strengthen the future of the Dorset economy.”

Mr Evans brings more than 35 years of FE sector experience to the post, including around 20 years of teaching A-level biology and chemistry and 15 years in a variety of senior management positions.

Michael Davis, chief executive of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), has been appointed managing director of consultancy firm Ecorys UK.

He will take up the role with the company, which specialises in economic and public policy, on 1 March, after more than five years at the helm of UKCES. Manon Janssen, the chief executive of Ecorys, said Mr Davis’s management expertise, leadership qualities and client focus would be great assets in leading the organisation.


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