Joyce Johnston, Principal of Fife College in Kirkcaldy has a great deal to celebrate this New Year. In recognition of her substantial commitment to Further Education in Scotland Ms Johnston has been recognised in the recently published New Year's Honours list and is to be awarded an OBE by her Majesty the Queen.

As a leader within the Further Education Service for the past 23 years, Joyce Johnston has shown a sustained commitment to the development of the college sector. In 1989 Ms Johnston became the first female Principal of a Scottish College when she was appointed Principal of Anniesland College in Glasgow. Previous to this she had been Assistant and Depute Principal at Glenrothes College from 1983-89.

In 1992 Ms Johnston took up a position as one of Her Majesty's Inspectorate in Education, before joining Fife College as Principal in 1996. Since taking up the helm at Fife College Ms Johnston has seen a dramatic yearly increase in student numbers, a wider range of courses on offer including those at degree level and a substantial growth in partnerships between the College, organisations, industry sectors and other training providers.

Ms Johnston has also taken the lead on managing the current proposed merger between Fife College and Glenrothes College which, if given the green light by the First Minister will see the two colleges become one in October this year.Throughout her career in Scotland Joyce Johnston has been involved in staff support organisations including serving as a Board member of both the Scottish Further Education Unit and the Association of Scottish Colleges. In addition she was elected by her fellow Principals to lead the Principals" Forum for all colleges.

She is a high-level contributor to national policy development for FE and was the first FE Principal to be a full member of the Scottish Further Education Funding Council "“ the national quango which funds and steers all colleges in Scotland.Ms Johnston is also active in social inclusion and equality issues and has led national committees on widening participation, led research on Women in FE Management and pioneered work between FE Colleges and the Prince's Trust.

Joyce Johnston is committed to achieving value for money for the public purse through joint working and is therefore a supportive partner of the Fife Community Plan partnership and Fife Lifelong Learning Partnership. Ms Johnston is also active in the area of economic development and regeneration of local communities in Kirkcaldy and Central Fife and is a member of the Kirkcaldy Renaissance Partnership.

To colleagues and friends of Joyce Johnston it comes as no surprise that her enthusiasm and dedication to her work have been recognised in such a fitting way. She was, however, completely surprised by the announcement. Said a delighted Ms Johnston, "I received the news by letter in November. It was a wonderful surprise and I feel very honoured to have been recognised in this way. I will be officially awarded the OBE later this year and I"m looking forward very much to attending the ceremony at Buckingham Palace."

"Although the award is to me personally I could not carry out my day-to-day work successfully without the hard work and support of many work colleagues and friends. I therefore feel that this award also recognises the good work that continues to be carried out by Fife College staff and the Scottish FE sector as a whole," added Johnston.

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