Tel: 01623 707017
We've Got Mansfield, Ashfield & Sherwood Covered


College principal’s Palace honour

Posted onPosted on 14th Mar
College principal’s Palace honour

Dame Asha Khemka proudly shows off her insignia of Dame Commander of the British Empire after she received it from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace.

The principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College has spoken of her pride at receiving the Damehood today (Friday).

Dame Asha, who was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the New Year Honours’ List, was presented with the honour at an investiture ceremony.

Dame Asha is the first Indian-born woman for 83 years to be awarded the DBE, which was in recognition of her services to education.

It came five years after she was awarded the OBE the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Dame Asha said: “I am rarely lost for words, yet I am finding it difficult to express how proud and honoured I feel.

“This is without doubt one of the proudest moments of my life, along with my wedding day, the births of my three children and becoming a college principal.

“Although it was my second visit to Buckingham Palace, this is such huge recognition that I feel I now have a new responsibility on my shoulders – a responsibility to use this title to make an even greater impact on the further education sector and to the communities of Mansfield and Ashfield.

“I have never set out to achieve titles and, as deeply humbling as this is, I will continue with exactly the same ambition and passion as I’ve always had.

“I will strive every day to prove that I am worthy of this honour.”

Mr Nevil Croston, the college’s chair of governors, said: “Dame Asha is recognised nationally and internationally as one of the most prominent figures in further education.
Under her leadership, the college has built a national reputation for the work it does with employers and placing young people into jobs, particularly through apprenticeships.

“She has led projects, in very challenging times, which have resulted in the college providing world-class facilities for its students and has raised the profile of the communities of Mansfield and Ashfield.”

“It is a privilege to work with someone so committed to education and so passionate about the way it transforms lives. On behalf of the board of governors I congratulate Asha on her investiture as Dame Asha Khemka,” added Mr Croston.

Since joining West Nottinghamshire College in May 2006, Dame Asha has been instrumental in transforming it into one of the most successful colleges in the country. It is currently the largest college provider of apprenticeships for 16- to 18-year-olds in England.

Later this year, her vision to provide Mansfield and Ashfield with ‘world-class’ education and training facilities will be realised when the college’s £40 million redevelopment programme is completed.

In 2008, Dame Asha founded the Inspire and Achieve Foundation – a charity that has helped more than 400 young people classed as ‘NEET’ (not in education, employment and training) get their lives back on track through outreach activities leading to specially-tailored vocational programmes.

She serves on several national educational boards and committees, and is the founding chair of the Association of Colleges (AoC) India – an organisation set up to progress links between educational institutions in the UK and in India. In February 2013 Dame Asha joined Prime Minister David Cameron’s trade mission to India.