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Introducing Nick Handy: Chair of the Corporate Board

24th Jan 2024

In January 2024 we said thank you to Gavin Maitland-Smith, former Chair of the Corporation Board, for his eight years of support and guidance to Abingdon & Witney College, and welcomed Nick Handy as the new Chair.

Nick has served as a Governor at the College for over five years and has worked closely with Jacqui Canton, CEO and Principal, and Gavin Maitland-Smith, former Chair.

"I am absolutely delighted that Nick has been confirmed as the college's new Chair of Governors. Nick has been a highly valued member of our Corporation Board for a number of years already and I am very much looking forward to working with him in his new role as he continues to support the college to go from strength to strength." – Jacqui Canton, CEO and Principal

Nick is a Chartered Accountant who qualified with Price Waterhouse in London. He is a specialist in audit and financial advisory services, with a focus on corporate finance.

He was responsible for audit, governance, and risk management at Vodafone, reporting to the Audit Committee Board; later taking responsibility for management information and overseeing the implementation of Oracle management information systems. During his time at Vodafone, he also served as a trustee of the Vodafone Foundation and was interim CFO of Vodafone Romania.

After working for Vodafone, Nick provided consultancy services on governance and risk assurance before becoming the Financial Director of Operations at Essar Energy plc.

Since retiring, Nick has been appointed trustee and treasure of OCCTOPUS, the Oxford Colon Cancer Trust, and has served as a Governor at Abingdon & Witney College for over 5 years. He is a keen sailor and enjoys day sailing in the Solent.

Upon being appointed Head of the Corporation Board, Nick shared the following:

“My favourite part of being a Governor has been having the opportunity to interact with our extraordinary students and learners. It is always inspiring to hear their achievements at Student of the Year and to listen to their new and innovative ideas at the annual Student Conference.

I wanted to take on this position to help the College in its next steps and to further my involvement in the College’s growth. I have worked closely with Gavin and Jacqui for over five years as a Governor, and I have been involved in exciting developments such as the new Advanced Skills Centre, Bicester Construction Skills Centre, and the Green Construction Centre.

You can’t stand still in this sector. You have to keep developing and looking for new opportunities. What is special about this College, however, is its ability to retain its underlying ethos and mission to help students of all backgrounds to succeed and follow their passions. I look forward to helping the College remain centred to this whilst embracing future opportunities.”

Upon finishing his term, Gavin Maitland-Smith also shared the following. To read his full statement, please click here.

I have learnt so much in the last eight years and been incredibly lucky to work with people at the very top of their professions, both amongst the external governors and the senior management team. I have been through the government area review process, the pandemic, the appointment of a new Principal and opening a new campus and each of those major events has taught me something new.

I would urge anyone that wants to develop their own professional skills to look seriously at the FE sector for a board role and am always happy to chat through what it entails or any way I can help.

This is a sector that deserves every bit of support it receives and I am so thankful I got the chance to be involved.”

Gavin Maitland-Smith with Nataliia and Jacqui
Image Description: Gavin Maitland-Smith, former Chair of the Corporation Board, is pictured with Jacqui Canton and Nataliia at the College's annual Student of the Year event hosted at Blenheim Palace.