The new Skills Funding Agency chief executive has been announced.

Former Salford City Council boss Barbara Spicer (pictured) has been named the new interim Skills Funding Agency chief executive.

She takes up the role on Monday, stepping in for Kim Thorneywork, who is temporarily off work to concentrate on her fight with breast cancer.

Ms Spicer, aged 49, said: “For me skills are a critical part of our economic policy and being part of a system that makes such an important contribution to our economic success will be both personally exciting and challenging.

“I want to support the ambitious reform agenda and work with the sector to continue to focus directly on the current needs of employers, the skills that the UK will need in the future, and how we connect our individual learners to those needs.”

She takes up the nine-month contract post having quit as the £175,000 a-year chief executive at Salford after eight years amid an alleged row with elected mayor Ian Stewart.

She was also chief executive of Greater Manchester Police Authority is a member of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Barbara’s wealth of knowledge and experience will be a valuable asset to the agency, ensuring that quality and reform is driven forward in the sector.

“I would also like to thank Kim for her commitment and hard work in the role and look forward to welcoming her back next year.”

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