First female CEO begins at Leeds College of Building

Nikki Davis (c) Carolyn Mendelsohn

Nikki Davis, the first female principal and CEO of Leeds College of Building, has started in post. Nikki formerly worked as the college’s vice principal for teaching, learning and quality. She has taken over the more senior role from Derek Whitehead, who announced his retirement in February. Nikki is the first female CEO and principal in the college’s 60-year history.

She said: “I’m delighted to take up this role in preparation for the new academic term, and to build on the college’s previous successes and first-rate tradition of delivering exceptional training to learners from across the UK. This is an exciting time for the college, and I very much look forward to working with students, staff, employers and partners to ensure that Leeds College of Building delivers on its potential.”

Leeds College of Building teaches around 5,500 students, covering full-time study programmes, adult provision, higher education courses and bespoke programmes for employers. Over half of its students are enrolled on apprentice training.

Peter Norris, Leeds College of Building’s chair of governors, added: “The College is passionately committed to inclusivity in construction and promoting diversity in the workforce. Not only will the appointment ensure seamless continuity but Nikki also has outstanding knowledge of leadership in the further education sector.”

Nikki began her career in hospitality after attaining a degree in hospitality and business management at Leeds Metropolitan University (now Leeds Beckett University). Nikki then completed a PGCE at Leeds Trinity University and moved into teaching.

A placement at Park Lane College (now Leeds City College) opened up further education as a career route. Nikki’s first role was as course leader for business and economics at Calderdale College in 2002, before moving back to Park Lane College as curriculum manager for business and enterprise. The position of head of department at Kirklees College followed, where she managed various departments from hospitality to business development before progressing to assistant principal at York College and leading the apprenticeship programme.

A subsequent promotion to vice principal for technical and professional programmes included leading the successful bid for the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Technology. Nikki then moved to Leeds College of Building in May 2019.