The chief executive of one of England’s largest college groups has been announced as the next president of the Association of Colleges.

Sally Dicketts, who heads up Activate Learning, will take over the role from Steve Frampton on August 1 when his two-year tenure is up.

She said she was “delighted” to be appointed and pledged to “work hard to promote the FE sector and ensure our learners are given the best opportunities to succeed”.

“As we move into a post-Covid world, we will need to unite as a sector to ensure we have the funding and support we need to continue to help our communities and be the engines of social mobility that we have been for so long, and I recognise both the pitfall and benefits of the proposals set out in the government’s White Paper,” she added.

“The global pandemic has shone a light on a lot of the things we do as education providers, and I think there are lots of opportunities for us to change and adapt our approaches to meet our learners needs in the future.

“I want to create a united voice for the FE sector, where we collaborate with clear values of respect, empathy, and understanding of different communities we serve.”

Frampton said his two years in the role of AoC president have been “two of the best of my life”.

“It has been a genuine honour to represent the sector I love and I’ve had experiences and opportunities that I will never forget,” he added.

Steve Frampton

Each year a college principal is elected by AoC members to be president. Their term of office runs from 01 August to 31 July, with a maximum two-year tenure.

The AoC said the president “acts as an ambassador” for the membership organisation and the further education sector, “driving policy formation and raising the profile of colleges with ministers and external stakeholders”.

Dicketts has worked in further education since 1985. Since 2013, she has been chief executive of Activate Learning, bringing together in one group, three FE colleges, three university technical colleges, two 11 to 18 secondary schools, a studio school, an apprenticeships provider, and a specialist engineering training provider.

She is a board member of the Education and Training Foundation, Pearson’s board and deputy chair of the LEP skills board.

Dicketts was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Honours List in July 2013.

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