Queen's Birthday Honours: College principals recognised

Representatives from independent training providers and adult and community learning included in Queen’s Birthday Honours

a number of FE leaders have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours

College principals, apprenticeship providers and leaders from the adult learning sector are among those to be honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Julie Mills, principal and chief executive of Milton Keynes College, Joni Cunnigham, principal of the Redbridge Institute, and Ken Thomson, principal and chief executive of Forth Valley College, will all receive OBEs.


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Also: Teachers pick up gongs in Queen's birthday honours

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Services to apprenticeships

Lee Elliot Major, former chief executive of the Sutton Trust, is to receive the same honour, along with George Bell, chairman of the Bell Group UK, and Vickie Roberts, the head of apprenticeships at HM Revenue and Customs. Both are being recognised for their services to apprenticeships.

Anna-Marie Morrison, founder of the Amazing Apprenticeships’ and the Apprenticeship Champions Network in schools, will receive a CBE. Meanwhile, Caroline Cooksley, development director at Associated Community Training, will receive an MBE for services to education.

Dr Mills, who has been awarded the OBE for helping establish greater links between education and business, is chair of the Helena Kennedy Foundation, vice-chair of the English Colleges Football Association and Chair of Women Leaders UK.  She is a director of the MK Dons Sport and Education Trust and of the MK Business Leaders Partnership.  

'A wonderful surprise'

She said the award was “recognition of the importance of further education and testament to the spirit of entrepreneurship and collaboration within Milton Keynes as well as the fantastic support from colleagues as we continue our mission to transform lives through learning. To be rewarded for doing a job I love is a wonderful surprise.”

Dr Thomson, recognised for his services to education, economic development and the community across Forth Valley, said: “I am absolutely thrilled with this honour and recognition of the way in which the college’s mission of 'making learning work' has supported the communities and industry of Forth Valley."

A statement from adult learning body Holex said Ms Cunnigham, who is vice-chair of the sector network, was “a fantastic role model for all of us”. “She is an inspiration and a long standing and effective advocate and national leader of adult community education. As principal of Redbridge Institute of Adult Education, she is setting the excellence and quality bar for other services.”

'Positive impact'

The statement highlighted that the institute had been graded outstanding by Ofsted “in all areas with no areas needing development”, adding: “As well as her work in Redbridge, Joni has worked tirelessly for others who work in the adult community education sector.”

Redbridge Institute was named FE provider of the year and adult and community learning provider of the year at the Tes FE Awards 2019.

Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said that while other careers guidance initiatives had “stumbled by the wayside, Ms Morrison’s creation of ‘Amazing Apprenticeships’ and the Apprenticeship Champions Network in schools has been transformative”. 

“Anna was one of the first to recognise that sending real apprentices into schools would have a much more positive impact than some other programmes and we are now seeing members of the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network inspire young people to embark on successful careers using the apprenticeship route as a first choice," he added. "It is testament to Anna’s high standards and attention to detail that the network members are regularly invited to speak at high profile events.” 

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