The AoC Charitable Trust has appointed Phil Willis, former Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Skills, as president of the charity, which promotes 16+ learning in the UK.
Through the prestigious AoC Beacon Awards and the AoC Gold Awards, the charity works to celebrate the FE sector’s achievements.
Lord Willis replaces Giles Long, a Paralympic gold medallist and former FE student.
Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), which is behind the charity, said: “Phil has been a strong supporter of colleges for many years, both nationally and locally in his former Harrogate constituency.
“This includes campaigning alongside AoC to reduce the funding gap between school sixth forms and colleges.”
Lord Willis is credited for helping to drive the inclusion of children with severe learning difficulties into mainstream education. He retired as an MP earlier this year to study for a HE qualification related to technology and education.
He said: “I am deeply honoured to have been asked to take on the role of President of the AoC Charitable Trust, particularly at a time when the FE sector is faced with yet more radical change. To be an official champion for a sector that is life-changing for thousands of students and is the engine room for our economic recovery is hugely exciting.”
It is expected that Lord Willis will hold the Presidency for three years, the normal term of office.