Meet the Governors
Abingdon & Witney College’s Corporation consists of 17 Governors drawn from the local community and includes staff and student representation. Here, you can read more about the experience and guidance they bring to the College.
Jacqui Canton, Principal & CEO
Jacqui studied History at the University of York, before starting a career as a graduate manager for Asda. After five Christmases in retail, and enjoying the people side of the business more than the retail side, she moved into training and development, initially working for a large engineering firm running national graduate and apprenticeship training programmes.
Jacqui moved into further education over ten years ago and has worked at various colleges across the country, primarily looking after apprenticeship provision. She joined Abingdon and Witney College in 2011 and has led various areas of the college including apprenticeships, marketing, higher education, community learning and management information services.
She became Principal and Chief Executive in September 2020.
Gavin Maitland-Smith, Chair of Governors
Gavin Maitland-Smith has an MA in Modern History from Brasenose College, Oxford,was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2002, and holds a practising certificate as a Solicitor Advocate.
He is a specialist in working capital fundraising and lending, having spent the last twenty years running a number of specialist finance businesses and acting as a retained advisor to a number of listed companies. Gavin is the Head of Wholesale and Structured Finance at Triple Point and also
practices as a lawyer at Mills Keep, a specialist tax consultancy.
Outside work Gavin is also a qualified running coach and regularly competes in Ultra Marathons. He is also a keen golfer and rugby supporter, having represented Oxford University RFC as an undergraduate.
Gavin became Chair of the Corporation Board on 1 January, 2019.
The Board of Governors
Adam is an Owner and Director of Owen Mumford Ltd, a world class designer and manufacturer of medical devices. Owen Mumford employs over 750 associates across three manufacturing sites (two in Oxfordshire and one in Malaysia), six regional sales hubs and exports to over 60 countries.
Owen Mumford partners many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and diagnostic brands and collaborates with these businesses to design injection pens and auto-injectors to deliver their drugs. In addition, Owen Mumford produces medical consumables that are sold under the Owen Mumford brand, in the UK their Unistik®3 product is the most commonly used safety lancet in the NHS.
Adam lives in Oxfordshire and has two children, one at University and another about to start. A lifelong Manchester City fan, his whole family are passionate about sports and regulars at the Etihad Stadium. Adam is actively involved in his local West Oxfordshire community both through professional and family commitments.
Alan has recently taken early retirement from Barclays Bank.
In a career spanning 41 years across the Thames Valley and Solent area, he has undertaken a variety of leadership and corporate roles within the Bank and for the last 15 years, was a Corporate Relationship Director with a client portfolio made up of Further Education Colleges, Independent Schools, Local Authorities and national Charities. He was the Bank’s regional lead for FE College clients in the south and as the College’s bank manager for the last 10 years, he has a good working knowledge of the challenges and opportunities in the sector.
Alan has a passion for the education sector and is a Governor and Chair of Finance at Cokethorpe School as well as a supportive involvement in Wood Green School in Witney. He is a keen runner and photographer and enjoys following Oxford United.
Astrid is a Pro Vice-Chancellor and the Dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Oxford Brookes University. Astrid started her education in Germany where she obtained a Business Degree before moving to the UK where she completed an MSc in Experimental Psychology at the University of Sussex, followed by a PhD at the University of St. Andrews.
Astrid came to Oxford Brookes from the University of Dundee where she worked for 12 years. During this time, she held a number of strategic leadership roles including Dean of the School of Psychology and Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching) in the School of Social Sciences.
Astrid’s particular interest is in creating equality of opportunity with respect to access and student success and she currently has institutional responsibility for Access and Participation at Oxford Brookes University.
Ben studied Animal Biology BSc (Hons) at the University of Stirling which led him to work in the field of veterinary disease surveillance and research. He continued to further his knowledge in the field by undertaking a part time MSc in Medical Immunology at Kings College London.
Most recently, Ben has worked at the University of Oxford, where he has been a laboratory Manager/researcher and then gone on to develop specialist knowledge in research governance, regulatory compliance and audit.
Ben returned to college as an adult where he went onto develop new creative skills to support his hobbies. He is passionate about how a college education can bring different points to a person’s life and career, and the benefits that this can bring to the wider community.
Ben has an interest in facilitating positive change in an efficient manner that supports an organisation to achieve its objectives by supporting its staff with the changes that lie ahead. This involves strong analytical and problem-solving skills when identifying appropriate solutions with an understanding and appreciation of risk management.
Ben looks forward to bringing his experience to the role of external governor.
David was until recently a senior partner at Ridge and Partners LLP based in Woodstock, a position he has held for over 27 years undertaking an executive board function for the partnership.
Key roles have been:
- Implementation of a growth and diversification strategy, taking the business from 80 staff to over 600, with a turnover in excess of £60m
- Driving change in struggling areas of the business by introducing new services
- Control of Ridge’s property portfolio acquisition, disposal of property and leasehold offices.
Setting up and managing Health and Safety compliance throughout the business
David has over 34 years’ experience as a Building Surveyor dealing with all types of commercial and residential property and currently undertakes consultancy work assisting clients on development projects. David is a Trustee of REAch2 Academy Trust and a member of the Finance & Resources committee. REAch2 is the UK’s largest primary only academy trust and currently supports circa 60 primary academies across England.
Edward studied Archaeology at the University of Leicester and worked in Manufacturing Engineering for three years after university, before making the move to Further Education at Bournemouth and Poole College in 2012. Focusing on supporting groups of accounting apprentices as well as the employer engagement work linked with the College’s Peter Jones Enterprise Academy BTEC Business and Enterprise Course.
Edward moved to Oxfordshire to join Abingdon & Witney College in 2014 as a Business Development Executive and has taken on various roles in management since then, all linked in with apprenticeships and employer engagement, also spending three years managing the Marketing team alongside Business Development. More recently, Edward has undertaken studying an MBA with Oxford Brookes University as part of an apprenticeship programme alongside his role.
I have worked at the College for over 13 years in various roles, but in November 2021 I moved from teaching in Health and Social Care to take on the new challenge of being Curriculum Manager for Pathways .
I very much enjoying working with a fantastic team on developing a new curriculum structure and getting to know our amazing students and their achievements.
I am a very enthusiastic sportswoman and last year had the privilege of representing GB at the World Racketlon Championships, winning a team GB silver medal. I am also a keen runner, cyclist and mountain walker and in the holidays will combine my love of travel to explore new places on foot or two wheels.
Lucy is an experienced Director of Children’s Services. Currently Director for Children, Young People and Learning for West Sussex County Council, she has over 25 years’ experience working in the adult and children services sector.
Lucy is the co-chair of the South-East Region of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and leads on commissioning for the South East.
She is chair of the Staff College, an organisation promoting strong leadership in the sector. She is passionate about making sure we live in a society where all our children thrive.
Mackenzie is an experienced communications, education and business strategy professional and entrepreneur.
She started her career in financial services as an investment consultant, advising institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies and working closely with pension fund governing boards. After running her own businesses for a number of years, she now specialises in international education policy and global governance.
She is driven by a passion for a consilience approach to education policy, and is an advocate of the effective use of technology, digital and AI; her work focuses on the relationship between education and economics.
Mackenzie lives in London; she is an enthusiastic lifelong learner with three children and a background in international sport.
Born in France, Nicolas Pagès obtained a manufacturing engineering diploma (equivalent to a MsC degree in engineering) before moving to Oxfordshire over 11 years ago.
His curiosity and willingness to seek new challenges brought him through various roles within the facilities management sector, from compliance or operational risk management to project and account leadership. Nicolas moved within a difficult and challenging sector to end up being one of the senior leaders at his past companies.
Nicolas now leads a team of Health, Safety and Risk managers in one of UK leading waste management and energy provision company: Veolia. This entails setting UK wide strategies within Risk and Health, Safety portfolio as well as supporting the business to increase profitability and sustainable growth. All the while whilst reporting to the global business on performance and continuous improvement activities.
Outside of work, Nicolas enjoys spending time with his family and friends, riding in the countryside, gardening and DIY.
Nick is a Chartered Accountant who qualified with Price Waterhouse in London and then moved to Bristol where he provided audit and financial advisory services, with a focus on corporate finance. He then joined Vodafone where he initially had overall responsibility for audit, governance and risk management reporting to the Audit Committee and Board. He then took over responsibility for management information and managed the implementation of Oracle management information systems. During his time with Vodafone he was a trustee of the Vodafone Foundation which managed Vodafone Group’s charitable giving and was also the interim CFO of Vodafone Romania.
After leaving Vodafone he provided consultancy services on governance and risk assurance before being appointed the Financial Director Operations of Essar Energy plc, then a UK listed company, which owned a refinery and power stations in India and acquired the refinery at Ellesmere Port.
After retiring Nick was appointed trustee and treasurer of OCCTOPUS, the Oxford Colon Cancer Trust, which funded two special operating theatres; one at the John Radcliffe and the other at the Churchill Hospital. He is a keen sailor and enjoys day sailing in the Solent.
Jessie's the Centre Administrator for the Global Centre on Healthcare and Urbanisation (GCHU) at Kellogg College, University of Oxford. The GCHU seeks to make urban centres environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable, and to provide an environment that supports and sustains health and wellbeing. She previously spent over five years working in several roles relating to governance, assurance, compliance, planning and education policy at the University of Oxford and is now undertaking a BA in Business and Management Practice at Abingdon & Witney College through a Chartered Management Degree apprenticeship.
Jessie is passionate about the importance of having young people invested in contributing to governance and management bodies and is proud to represent the student body of the College as a Student Governor. Jessie previously lived in Mexico City but now lives in Littlemore, Oxford and is a keen cyclist and football supporter. She is a Board member of the Oxford United Supporters Trust and is involved in multiple local charity programmes in the city.
Dr Sam Wolfe is Associate Professor of French Linguistics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Catherine’s College. He is also Director of Schools Liaison and Outreach for the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages. He has sixteen years’ experience in school, college, and charity governance and has particular interests in combatting educational disadvantage, anti-bullying initiatives, the education of care-experienced young people, and access to Higher Education. He is currently coordinating a national project to increase the number of care-leavers accessing Higher Education.