The first female Principal & CEO of Leeds College of Building has started in post.

Nikki Davis, the College’s former Vice Principal for Teaching, Learning & Quality, takes over from Derek Whitehead who announced his retirement in February. Nikki is the first female CEO & Principal in the College’s 60-year history.

Nikki began her career in hospitality after studying a Degree in Hospitality and Business Management at Leeds Metropolitan University (now Leeds Beckett University), before completing a PGCE at Leeds Trinity University and moving into teaching.

A placement at Park Lane College (now Leeds City College) opened up further education as a career route. Nikki’s first role was as Course Leader for Business and Economics at Calderdale College in 2002, before moving back to Park Lane College as Curriculum Manager for Business and Enterprise.

The position of Head of Department at Kirklees College followed, managing various departments from Hospitality to Business Development, before progressing to Assistant Principal at York College and leading the apprenticeship programme.

A subsequent promotion to Vice Principal for Technical and Professional programmes included leading the successful bid for the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology.

Nikki moved to Leeds College of Building in May 2019, just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, the College has grown and now holds a strong position with exciting plans ahead.

Nikki said:

“I’m delighted to take up this role in preparation for the new academic term, and to build on the College’s previous successes and first-rate tradition of delivering exceptional training to learners from across the UK. This is an exciting time for the College, and I very much look forward to working with students, staff, employers, and partners to ensure that Leeds College of Building delivers on its potential.”

Leeds College of Building is focused on improving diversity under Nikki’s leadership, along with promoting inclusivity and access for all to the opportunities offered by the construction sector. The College is also engaged in green and sustainable skills training to help contribute to critical national net-zero targets.

Leeds College of Building teaches around 5,500 students, covering 16-18 full-time study programmes, adult provision, HE courses, and bespoke programmes for employers. Over half of these students (around 2,800) are enrolled on apprentice training across all areas of the College’s provision, from Level 2 up to degree apprenticeships.

In 2019, the College was graded ‘Good’ in all areas in its Ofsted inspection and opened phase two of its £13m South Bank Campus. Inspections now show quality at ‘good or better’, HE meets all UK standards, and the ESFA gave the College a ‘good’ rating, indicating a healthy financial position.

Peter Norris, Leeds College of Building Chair of Governors, added:

“The College is passionately committed to inclusivity in construction and promoting diversity in the workforce […] Not only will the appointment ensure seamless continuity, but Nikki also has outstanding knowledge of leadership in the Further Education sector.”

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