Leading educationalist Dame Asha Khemka has scooped a national accolade for championing and promoting apprenticeships.
The principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College was named winner of the Overall Commitment to Apprenticeships award at the inaugural Asian Apprenticeship Awards.
Organised by The Pathway Group, the awards showcase the hard work of apprentices within the black and minority ethnic Asian community and recognise the contribution of employers and training providers.
They are designed to encourage more young British Asians to take up apprenticeships, as they are currently under-represented and are considered a vital element in achieving the Government target of creating an additional three million apprenticeships by 2020.
Under Dame Asha’s leadership, West Nottinghamshire College has become one of the largest and most successful colleges in the UK, with more than 30,000 students across the country. Last year, it trained 14,692 apprentices, of which 5,003 (21%) were from a black and minority ethnic background, and its success rates are in the top 10% of all providers nationally.
“This is a truly remarkable story and is largely down to the vision and drive of Dame Asha,” said Safaraz Ali, chairman and founder of the Asian Apprenticeship Awards. “She is a truly inspirational figure who will only accept the best and has demonstrated this in her work with young people, employers and the community in which she works.”
Dame Asha has won many awards in recognition of her work and is one of the best known and highly-respected figures in the further education sector today.
Although, Dame Asha was unable to attend the ceremony in Birmingham, she spoke about receiving the honour: “I am both proud and humbled to receive this award. As a college, we consistently strive to deliver outstanding training to individuals and employers across the UK, and I personally never tire of promoting and championing the life-enhancing opportunities that apprenticeships provide.”
The award was received on her behalf by deputy principal, Andrew Martin.