David Jones, Coleg Cambria, won FE leader of the year at the annual TES FE Awards.

The FE leader of the year category recognises exceptional leaders in the sector. The judges commended David Jones’ “proven leadership” and his vision in overseeing the merger of four institutions in North Wales to form Coleg Cambria, one of the largest and most successful colleges in the UK.

Coleg Cambria has since become part of the Collab Group. As chief executive, Jones has worked hard to foster partnerships, including securing a prestigious learning and skills contract at Europe’s largest prison, HMP Berwyn. He has also developed connections with leading universities, as well as launching a new higher education centre, which provides an innovative learning environment for engineering. In addition, he is a hands-on leader who is actively involved in all aspects of the college, even helping agricultural students with lambing.

Jones often advises the Welsh government on policy and serves on the board of Landex, the representative body for land-based colleges. He has championed discussions on common contracts for Welsh colleges and the Welsh government’s international and bilingual strategies. Inspectorate Estyn recognised his outstanding leadership in Coleg Cambria’s 2016 inspection, in which the college was graded “excellent” for overall performance and achieved the highest grades of any FE institution in Wales.

The judges said: “David’s nomination shows a range of evidence of achievement in the community and includes very strong testimonials from a variety of different sources.”

David’s victory was witnessed by over 600 people, gathered to celebrate the sector’s achievements, at the prestigious awards ceremony held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London, on Friday 24 February.

Other awards at the glittering, black-tie event, hosted by comedian Rob Beckett, included prizes for the FE leader of the year, college of the year and training provider of the year.

Now in their sixth year, the TES FE Awards bring together the most exciting and inspiring individuals and institutions in the sector. Hundreds of FE providers submitted entries for the 16 categories, which showcase achievement in the local community, employer engagement, innovation in teaching, leadership and apprenticeship.

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