New College Durham principal John Widdowson will be the next president of the Association of Colleges (AoC), it was announced today.
Mr Widdowson, who began his career in further education in 1988 and has held a variety of college posts across the country, will take over from current president Richard Atkins on 1 August.
Mr Widdowson said he wanted to help AoC secure a “positive future” for further education.
“Whatever government is elected in May, the AoC must reinforce colleges’ position as essential to the UK’s economic recovery and making education accessible to all regardless of their background,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to working with the AoC to influence decision makers to get the best for colleges, our students and communities.”
Mr Widdowson has been a college principal for more than 16 years and has served on the AoC board and Higher Education Funding Council, as well as a number of other sector bodies.
AoC chief executive Martin Doel said: “John brings a wealth of experience to the role of president at a time when further education is looking towards a challenging future but one in which colleges must have a central role.
“After the general election in May, our work with the next government will be of great importance and I know John will be an asset in helping AoC to move towards achieving the aims we set out in our manifesto.”
Outgoing president Richard Atkins added: “Further education has faced more than its fair share of funding cuts in the past year, but John will help us to look forward to what happens next in the sector.”
The president serves a one-year term working with AoC to promote colleges to ministers and influence FE policy decisions, as well as ceremonial duties.