Within hours of his appointment he was given his first lesson from Sadie Walton, principal of Stourbridge college, West Midlands.
Mr Johnson was on his way to a business dinner in Dudley when he heard of his new role. "It was all rather sudden," said Ms Walton who was at the dinner. "At first he looked a little shell-shocked but he recovered quickly.
"I told him that for the Government to deliver its higher education goals it will need to give more support to further education."
A former postman, Mr Johnson rose through the Communication Workers Union to become general secretary before his election as MP for Hull West and Hessle.