Oxford based Activate Learning appoints new chief executive

Activate Learning Group Gary Headland
Education group Activate Learning has appointed a new CEO who will take over from incumbent Sally Dicketts CBE next April. Gary Headland DL joins from the Lincoln College Group (LCG) where he has been Chief Executive for seven years, with responsibility for further education colleges in Lincoln, Gainsborough and Newark and a large education export capability.

Prior to his appointment at LCG, Gary was a Director of Northgate Public Services for three-and-a-half years, a Director at Norfolk Constabulary for more than two years and a senior Royal Air Force officer for nearly 23 years, serving in locations throughout the UK and overseas in Germany, Italy and the Middle East.

Gary said: “I am honoured and proud to be invited to lead Activate Learning through the next phase of its distinguished history.

“Activate Learning is a pioneering education group with a global reach, committed to transforming lives through its approach to learning.”

Chair of Governors, Sue Sturgeon, said: “Sally is an inspirational leader, and we are sorry to see her leave, but understand her desire to move on and wish her well.

“Gary has a fantastic career track record and the work that he has done within the FE sector has been very innovative.

“The Board of Governors feel that he has exactly the right skills and attributes to guide Activate Learning into an exciting new chapter delivering exceptional operational and strategic leadership to the group.”

Current Activate Learning Chief Executive Sally Dicketts said she wished Gary every success in the role.

She said: “It was a very hard decision for me to retire from doing a job that I love after being with the organisation for so long, however I know that this is the right time for me to move on.

“I’ve loved being part of Activate Learning and I know that Gary will love working here as much as I have, surrounded by some of the most passionate and highly capable people I’ve ever worked alongside.”

The Board of Activate Learning has also agreed to explore the potential of a merger between Activate Learning and LCG.