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CEOs of NAS and Skills Funding Agency to step down in coming months

Marking the end of their three year journey as chief executives of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and the Skills Funding Agency, Simon Waugh and Geoff Russell have announced plans to step down in March and August, respectively.

Waugh has led NAS since it was established in 2009, and has helped the group see a significant increase in the number of employers and young people participating in the Apprenticeship programme.

“I have achieved all that I set out to do when I joined NAS, with tremendous support from the Government and personally from Minister Hayes in past three years”, he said.

Russell held his position at the Skills Funding Agency since its inception in April 2010.

He said: “With my task complete to create an Agency structured and able to perform a new role promoting and funding FE colleges and other training organisations to meet the challenge of equipping England’s economy with the skills it needs to overcome economic challenges, it is time to move on”.

Skills Minister John Hayes paid special tribute to them both for their dedication to the Further Education sector.

Praising Waugh’s work at the NAS, Hayes said: “Apprenticeships are at the heart of our drive to equip people of all ages with the skills employers need to prosper and compete, which is why we are investing record amounts in increasing numbers and quality.

“More than 440,000 learners started an apprenticeship in academic year 2010/11, an increase of around 50% on the previous year. By the end of this Parliament we’ll have supported 250,000 more apprenticeships than would have been created under the previous Government’s plans and developed Apprenticeships as a route into higher learning.”

Thanking Russell for his leadership of the Skills Funding Agency, Hayes said: “Geoff has overseen the creation of the Skills Funding Agency and has shaped it into an organisation that is playing a key role in promoting and funding FE and giving young people and adults the skills they need to find well paid and rewarding employment.

“We look forward to building on Geoff’s work to continue the programme of reform in which the Skills Funding Agency is a key element.”

Aastha Gill

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