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8th May 2017

York College Principal Dr Alison Birkinshaw has been elected President of the Association of Colleges (AoC); the national Association representing and promoting the interests of more than 300 colleges across the country.

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Dr Birkinshaw, who began her career in further education in 1984 at Nelson and Colne College will take over from current President Ian Ashman on 1st August 2017 and will serve a one-year term working with the Association.

Joining Runshaw College as Assistant Principal for Adult and Higher Education in 2001, Dr Birkinshaw moved back to Nelson and Colne College as Principal in 2004 and then joined York College as Principal in 2008. All three colleges were judged Outstanding by Ofsted. In 2012 Dr Birkinshaw received the OBE and in 2017 an honorary degree from the University of York, both awards were made in recognition of her services to further education.

Says Dr Birkinshaw: “It is a huge privilege to have been elected to the role of President of the Association of Colleges and I am very grateful for the support of my fellow principals. Whilst I certainly will not neglect York College, this role will provide the opportunity to act as ambassador for the sector, and I will be able to draw the attention of ministers and others in government to the difference colleges make for individuals, communities and employers. I will also enjoy paying tribute to the support colleges receive from the families of students, local businesses and their wider community, and pushing for government to recognise that investment in the college sector is important so that young people and adult students continue to be successful and can contribute positively to society.”

Ian Ashman, outgoing President of the Association of Colleges, said: “Alison has more than 30 years’ experience in further education and a great track record of helping colleges achieve outstanding performance, as well as contributing to national work on enhancing the reputation of the sector. She will be a great champion for colleges and I am pleased to see the role of AoC President in such safe and experienced hands.”