Sally Dicketts

Association of Colleges has announced Sally Dicketts, Chief Executive of Activate Learning, as its next President. She will take up the role on 1 August 2020. 

Sally Dicketts, who has worked in further education since 1985 and is a tireless campaigner and advocate for the learning and skills sector, will take over from current President Steve Frampton on 1 August 2020.

Since 2013, Sally has been Chief Executive of Activate Learning, bringing together in one group, three FE Colleges, three UTCs, two 11-18 secondary schools, a studio school, a training provider delivering apprentices, training and consulting in the workplace, 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.

Her extensive career has been recognised at the highest level, with Sally being awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Honours List in July 2013.

Sally Dicketts CBE, Chief Executive of Activate Learning, said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the new President of the Association of Colleges and will work hard to promote the FE sector and ensure our learners are given the best opportunities to succeed. Having worked in Further Education since 1985, I have seen enormous changes to our sector and have overseen the Activate Learning Group of colleges through some difficult and turbulent times – none more so than now.

“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. 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.”

Steve Frampton, AoC’s current President said: “Huge congratulations to Sally Dicketts on becoming the next Association of Colleges’ President. My two years in the role 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. From day one, I was given so much support – from leaders, governors, staff, students, stakeholders, and the amazing staff at AoC. I know that Sally will have that same support, and she will always have mine.

AoC has never been more important to the sector than it is right now, and the role of President has never been more vital. Sally is a hugely experienced, trusted and respected leader with a unique perspective and I know she will do great things for us all.  I look forward to working with Sally to ensure a smooth transition when my term ends and hers begins. There’s always an inevitable sadness to leaving a role you love, but I will leave happy in the knowledge that it is in such great hands.”

The President acts as an ambassador for the Association of Colleges and the further education sector, driving policy formation and raising the profile of colleges with ministers and external stakeholders.

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.

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