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News at a glance

Nick Boles remains as FE and skills minister

Nick Boles has been reappointed minister for FE and skills. The Conservative MP, who took on the role last year, has been given additional responsibilities for trade union and employment law. Meanwhile, former Conservative culture secretary Sajid Javid has taken on the role of business secretary. The appointments were welcomed by Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group of colleges. "The new government has set out a clear vision for the future expansion of apprenticeships and for a significant change to the way in which our skills system is viewed, and colleges are ready to work with the new ministerial team to achieve the best outcomes for learners and employers," she said.

New head of principals' body takes charge

Sir Geoff Hall, a former principal and judge of the TES FE Awards, has been announced as the new general secretary of the Principals' Professional Council (PPC). Sir Geoff, who led New College Nottingham from 2004 to 2011, took over from Nick Lewis this week. His previous posts have included national director of funding and strategy at the Further Education Funding Council and interim chief executive of the fledgling Education and Training Foundation in 2013. He was knighted for services to FE in 2012. Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, to which the PPC is affiliated, described Sir Geoff as a "natural and inspirational leader". Sir Geoff said he was looking forward to helping colleges tackle the "major" challenges facing the sector.

WorldSkills 2015: who will make the cut?

More than 100 students and apprentices will fight it out this month to win a place on the UK team for WorldSkills Sao Paulo this summer. The UK squad will be chosen during 19-22 May in a series of heats at Central College Nottingham, Emtec Colleges, Nottingham, and Burton and South Derbyshire College. Hopefuls will compete in skills ranging from bricklaying and welding to cooking and floristry. Alongside the heats, the host colleges will run seminars on how to use skills events to raise standards in training and apprenticeships. The national team will be announced on 2 June and will represent the UK at the WorldSkills event in Brazil on 11-16 August.

Celebrated Dame Asha in line for another award

Dame Asha Khemka, a leading figure in the FE sector, is in the running for another prestigious accolade. The principal of West Nottinghamshire College Group has been announced as a finalist in the First Women Awards 2015. The awards, which take place on 11 June, celebrate the achievements of women in a variety of business and professional sectors. Dame Asha has been shortlisted in the public service category. Since joining the college in 2006, Dame Asha has collected a string of accolades including Woman of the Year at last year's GG2 Leadership Awards. She was recognised for her services to FE with an OBE in 2009 and a damehood in 2014.

AoC seeks student and photographer of the year

The Association of Colleges has launched its annual search to find the student of the year and student photographer of the year. The awards, now in their fifth year, are open to all college students, regardless of age. For the student of the year title, judges are looking for evidence of personal achievement and contribution to the college or wider community, with prizes worth pound;2,000 on offer. One entry is allowed per college, with applications open only to AoC members. The closing date is 28 August. The photography award, with the theme "What matters most", is open to all photography students at member colleges. Entries must be submitted by 31 July. For more details on how to enter, visit

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