14th October 2011 at 01:00

Principal proves he's not the retiring sort

Welcome back to David Collins, former Association of Colleges president and chief executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, who has returned for one last job after a retirement of a mere eight months.

The principal formerly known as the "moustachioed maverick" - he has now shaved it off - said that after so long in a top job, it was hard to adjust to being number two at home, where his vacuuming skills were deemed sub-par.

He has taken up an interim principal's job at Guildford College, which should make for some interesting neighbours, such as the education secretary, who is MP for nearby Surrey Heath. Back when he thought he had no need of unburnt bridges, Mr Collins said of Michael Gove: "I find it very difficult to communicate with someone from another planet."

Communication should be somewhat easier now that he'll be just down the road. FErret suggests organising a ministerial visit to the college, and filming it as a sitcom.

Scuba enthusiast comes up for air

Another resurfacing retiree is John Stone, former chief executive of the Learning and Skills Network, who made his exit at the end of last year just before the charity admitted financial problems, and sold many of the acquisitions he had made the previous year.

Mr Stone was nevertheless in good cheer at a debate organised by the International Network of Sector Skills Organisations, telling one of FErret's colleagues that he had been learning to scuba dive.

Our correspondent could not help but ask about the Learning and Skills Network's financial problems, which have so far resulted in the fire sale of a consultancy purchased for millions and the loss of the HQ of a historic distance-learning centre. But Mr Stone said none of it was apparent when he left.

Good luck to him, then, and all the best with the scuba diving: it is, after all, better to have one's head under the water than in the sand.

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