Association of Colleges announces new Chief Executive

The AoC has named David Hughes as new Chief Executive in September 2016

David joined Learning and Work Institute (previously NIACE) as Chief Executive in 2011, following 11 years in the further education sector, working at the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). David has most recently led the merger of NIACE with Inclusion to form Learning and Work Institute in 2016. At the LSC and SFA David led funding relationships with colleges and providers. David has also worked in in the voluntary sector across a wide range of roles and organisations in the UK and Australia, in social housing, co-operatives, welfare, regeneration and community development.

David will take over as Chief Executive of AoC from Martin Doel who will be taking up the position as the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL), Professor of Further Education and Skills at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE).

David said: “I am excited about moving to AoC – I have always believed that colleges are critically important organisations for every community, for giving people better life chances and for inclusive economic growth. I’m looking forward to working with colleges across the country to ensure that they are able to make the maximum impact they can. It is challenging times for further education but there are opportunities to reach more students, support employers and help improve outcomes.

“I am also sad to be leaving Learning and Work Institute. It is a respected and credible voice across the learning, skills and employment fields and it contributes high quality research and policy support which is increasingly influential across the UK and in Europe and our Festival of Learning campaign is still going strong after 25 years.”

Carole Stott, Chair of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “We are delighted to welcome David to the Association of Colleges at such an important time for our members. David is an experienced leader who brings a deep commitment to the further education sector. He understands the importance of the work our colleges do, the impact of this on the lives of so many people, and its importance to productivity and the national economy.

The Association of Colleges (AoC) is a not-for-profit membership organisation which represents and promotes the interests of colleges. AoC’s membership includes 317 further education, sixth form, tertiary and specialist colleges across the UK. For more info visit


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