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Nicola Turner MBE

Head of Sector Practice
Office for Students (Confirmed)

As Head of Sector Practice, Nicola’s role is to accelerate the closing of gaps in access and participation by promoting and encouraging effective practice.

Previously, as national lead for skills policy in the higher education sector, she worked extensively on technical education and apprenticeship reform in order to improve choice for students. She produced two independent reviews into employability (Shadbolt and Wakeham, 2016), established the £10m Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund, launched a £20m Institute of Coding and will soon be announcing winners of bids to the Local Grads competition.

Before joining HEFCE, Nicola spent 12 years at Aston University in Birmingham as Director of Employability and before that she worked in graduate recruitment. In 2015 Nicola received an MBE for services to graduate employability and Higher Education. She is also a Governor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

  • Launching a centre to strategically help universities eliminate the equality gap between students within 20 years
  • Promoting equality of opportunity and different approaches to widening access and improving outcomes for disadvantaged students
  • Providing universities with the necessary evidence on how to tackle disparity and urging institutions to set themselves high targets for attracting those from underrepresented groups