The chair of City & Guilds has been given a damehood and a college principal has been knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours 2022.
Over 20 leaders from the FE and skills sector were named in the honours list, including two CBEs, nine OBEs, eight MBEs and one BEM.
Picking up the damehood was Ann Limb, who has over 25 years of experience in FE and last year was the first woman to be appointed as chair of City & Guilds.
Her career includes ten years as principal of Milton Keynes College. When she was appointed in 1987, age 34, she was the youngest ever college principal.
Limb set up the Helena Kennedy Foundation in 1998 and was lately the chair of the Scouts Association.
The honours list explains that she is being recognised for services to young people and to philanthropy.
“A butcher’s daughter born in 1950’s Moss Side does not grow up dreaming of damehood,” Limb said.
“Inspired by teachers who believed in me and nurtured by the further education system that is a powerhouse for social change, I eventually found the courage to become myself, to speak out against inequalities of all kinds in society, and to speak up for others from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
There was also a knighthood for Weston College chief executive Paul Phillips who was honoured for services to FE.
“I am absolutely thrilled to hear the news that I am to receive a knighthood. I have spent my life in industry and education with 40 years in the further education sector and Weston College is the fifth College in my career,” he said.
Phillips thanked his college’s governing body, managers and partners who he said contribute to the institution in “so many ways” – adding that the college has grown “exponentially” without merger.
Three sector leaders from the Association of Colleges were named in the honours list – including chief executive David Hughes and former SEND senior policy manager, Elizabeth Maudslay.
Hughes, who has been made a CBE “for services to further education, particularly during the Covid-19 response” said he was “enormously grateful” for the nomination, adding he believed it reflects the “brilliant work” colleges do and the work the AoC does to support colleges.
“My time at AoC has coincided with an enormous amount of change in the FE sector and my colleagues at AoC deserve a lot of credit for how they have navigated every twist and turn along the way,” he said.
His colleague Elizabeth Maudslay, who was at AoC for seven-years before she retired last year, said she was “delighted to get this award”, adding: “I think it is great that our often under looked sector is being recognised in this way. My wonderful former colleagues at AoC, and across the FE SEND network, have been a tremendous support over the seven years I was there and I want to pay tribute to them.”
It comes a week after Mary Vine-Morris, AoC’s area director for London, was named among esteemed foreign nationals awarded an honorary MBE ahead of the Queen’s birthday honours list.
Picking up a CBE alongside Hughes was deputy further education commissioner and deputy chair of Ofqual Frances Wadsworth.
“I am very proud to have been nominated for this honour,” she said.
“Working with college leaders and boards to improve the quality of education, through strengthened leadership and governance has been very fulfilling.”
A number of college principals appeared in the honours list. Yiannis Koursis, chief executive of Barnsley College and Jasbir Dhesi, chief executive of Cheshire College South and West, have both received OBEs.
Koursis said: “This honour recognises one’s contribution to public service – but how can you ever make transformational difference without the strong support of those around you?
“I would like to say a huge thank you to my family and to everyone who has enabled me to do what I am proud to say I love doing.”
Those honoured from the independent training provider sector included Robert Colbourne, chief executive of Performance Through People.
Colbourne was made an OBE for his commitment to services to skills and apprenticeships.
“I’m really chuffed for my parents. They don’t know about this yet,” he told FE Week the morning before the honours were announced.
“I’m seeing them tonight and I imagine they’ll be unbelievably chuffed that their son has got an OBE. I’ve never sought after one but I’m absolutely thrilled, someone believes I’m worthy.”
Also picking up an OBE was Jill Whittaker, managing director of HIT Training.
She said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside a vast number of talented individuals and industry bodies during my career and I’m extremely proud of the positive change we’ve achieved in that time.”
Euan Blair, the son of Tony Blair who set up Ofsted grade one apprenticeship provider Multiverse, was awarded a MBE for his services to education.
Also picking up a MBE was DfE national leader of governance Andrew Baird, who is the chair of both East Surrey College and Brooklands College.
Paul Cook, principal at Hereward College was made a MBE for services to young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
And Jane Stoodley, personal assistant to the principal of Strode College in Somerset, was awarded a BEM.
During her 37 years at the college, Stoodley has been the personal assistant to seven different principals.
Current Strode College principal Katy Quinn said: “Jane helped me massively in my early days to understand the background and culture of Strode. She really deserves this amazing accolade of the British Empire Medal as her dedication and commitment to Strode has been exemplary.”
The full list of FE and skills honours: