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Asian Jewel brings skills to Rajasthan

A glittering festival has marked the achievement of a jewel in the crown of further education college principal Asha Khemka.

She arrived in the UK with her husband and three children at the age of 25. In the past few months, her career has formed a link with her past as she forged a deal to build three vocational training centres in Rajasthan the Indian province where she grew up.

The principal of West Nottinghamshire college has been named "Asian Jewel" in the education and health section of the annual Asian Jewel awards, sponsored by Lloyds TSB.

She hopes the award will bring encouragement to women as well as other black and Asian people seeking promotion in further education. She said: "I was a full-time housewife when I came here, with children to look after. Without the support of my husband, I would never have made it to this stage in my career.

"I believe this award is not just for recognition and acknowledgement of my journey, but an encouragement to those women and housewives who have an ambition to have a career and to make a difference in their chosen field."

Mrs Khemka came to the college as principal 18 months ago but her first FE job after graduation was as a part-time business lecturer.

The deal to build the centres in India was agreed in principle following a meeting with the President of India, Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.

The country traditionally stronger on academic education than vocational training sees skills training as essential to its efforts to become a major developed economy.

The training centres would come under the umbrella of West Nottinghamshire college which won the Association of Colleges' Beacon Award four years in a row and has one of the highest success rates in the country.

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