Making strong contributions at local and regional level
Our member colleges are led by principals who are committed to transforming lives through learning.
Together, they are united in their vision to address the region's skills needs and provide the sustainable, long-term solutions needed to boost the economy.
Their long standing history of collaboration has already made an extensive contribution to assisting businesses to grow and had a significant impact on increasing individuals skill levels across the region.
Find out more about each principal/CEO by clicking on their image.
Derek was appointed Principal and CEO of Leeds College of Building in January 2019. He started his career at 16 in the construction industry as an Apprentice Carpenter and Joiner, quickly progressing to a management role.
He joined the FE sector in 1985 as a Lecturer at Keighley College and then Section Leader for timber trades. After leaving Keighley College for promotion to Senior Lecturer at Bolton College, he progressed to Head of Construction & Engineering, as well as carrying out a cross-college self-assessment quality assurance role. Derek then moved back to Keighley College having been successfully appointed to Head of Construction and Engineering for a short period, and then joined Leeds College of Building in January 2004 as Deputy Principal.
Derek is passionate about education and proud to be part of a unique organisation that supports one of the largest and most diverse employment sectors in the UK.
Palvinder joined Kirklees College as Principal and Chief Executive in June 2021. He has worked in further education since 2000 and has held a range of senior appointments, most recently as Group Deputy Principal (Finance, Planning and Resources) for NCG. Prior to this, he held senior positions at both Luminate Education Group (formerly Leeds City College) and Barnsley College.
He has worked across curriculum and professional services functions and has expertise in strategic planning, curriculum improvement, financial and business planning, culture change and developing strategic partnerships with employers and government agencies.
He is currently the Chair of the Association of Colleges Equality Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group and Trustee for the sectors workforce development body, The Education and Training Foundation.
With over 20 years’ experience in the sector, Palvinder is passionate about the role and value of further education and the power it has to transform lives and communities.
Sam Wright has worked in the further education sector for more than twenty years and joined Wakefield College as Principal in March 2011. Prior to her role at Wakefield College, Sam established a successful career at the Manchester College where she succeeded in addressing poor local recruitment and low educational outcomes across the city.
Sam is committed to transforming lives through learning and her vision for Wakefield College is to be an outstanding institution that works in local partnerships to meet the needs of all Wakefield communities, providing lifelong learning opportunities for young people, adults and employers alike. Sam is a member of the Wakefield Enterprise Partnership, and sits on a number of boards and groups across the city including Young People’s Strategic Partnership and the Wakefield and District Housing Advisory Panel.
John Rees joined Calderdale College as Principal and Chief Executive in April 2015 and has worked in the further education sector for the past 20 years in a variety of lecturing, management and leadership roles. Prior to this he was Group Deputy Principal at Warwickshire College Group, one of England's largest and most diverse colleges, where he was instrumental in developing their large scale work with employers in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors in particular.
He is passionate about linking skills development to employment and he joined Calderdale to continue the College’s commitment to high value skills development and career progression for its students.
Colin Booth OBE was appointed Chief Executive of Leeds City College in September 2015. Following a period as Vice Principal at Newcastle College, Colin was Principal and CEO of Barnsley College and steered the College to an Ofsted rating of outstanding, doubling turnover and delivering a financial performance that is amongst the best in the college sector.
Colin has made strong contributions at local, regional, and national level to the furtherance of education including holding the positions: Chair of the One Barnsley Local Strategic Partnership, Director of the Wellspring Multi Academy Schools Trust, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Principals’ Group, Representative on the regional European Structural & Investment Funds Committee, Board member for the Association of Colleges and Chair of its Finance & General Purposes Committee
Nav Chohan is the Chair of the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges and the Leeds City Region Skills Network. Nav joined Shipley College as Principal in July 2009. He has worked in education for 25 years.
Before coming to the college in Saltaire, he worked at Leeds College of Technology. Previously, he worked as an Information Systems Project Manager for NHS in Scotland and before that as an independent IT Consultant. Nav grew up in London and has lived in Yorkshire for the last 20 years.
Chris joined Bradford College from Barnsley College, in March 2019.
He has more than 20 years’ experience in the education sector, having also spent time as Deputy Principal at South Thames College and Director of School at Newcastle College.
Graduating from Canterbury Christ Church College University with a degree in IT and Sport Science, Chris began his teaching career in 1997 with a part-time role at Bedford College teaching and coaching footballers. From there he went to City of Westminster College to become a full-time lecturer then onwards to Braintree College as a Curriculum Leader. His next move was to Hereford College where he was a Head of Department before going on to Newcastle College where he was Curriculum and Pastoral Manager for the sixth form and later promoted to Director of School for Business and Care.
He left the North East to take up the role of Deputy Principal at South Thames College before moving to Barnsley College in March 2011 as Vice Principal for Quality and Development. Two years later he became Deputy Principal Finance and Development before taking the Principal and CEO role in 2015.