The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Leeds College of Building Announces First Female Principal & CEO 

New LCB Principal
22 March 2022 | Updated 25 March 2022

Leeds College of Building (LCB) has announced Nikki Davis as the next Principal & CEO and the first woman to hold the post in the 60-year history of the institution.

Nikki is currently the College’s Vice-Principal for Teaching, Learning & Quality and will take up the position on 1 August. Incumbent Principal & CEO, Derek Whitehead, will continue in the role until the end of the current academic year to oversee the transition period.


"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."

– Nikki Davis
Vice-Principal for Teaching, Learning & Quality, LCB


Prior to working at Leeds College of Building, Nikki held the post of Vice-Principal (Technical and Professional) and Assistant Principal (Employer Engagement) at York College, Head of Department at Kirklees College, and Programme Manager at Leeds City College.

The announcement was aligned with International Women’s Day 2022 on Tuesday 8th March. Nikki said: “I’m delighted to be appointed to the role of Principal & CEO at Leeds College of Building and to build on its 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.” 


Passing the Torch on a High Point


Derek Whitehead will be retiring from the role after 37 years of working in Further Education and vocational skills training. He was appointed Deputy Principal at Leeds College of Building (the UK’s only specialist Further Education construction college) in 2004, before becoming Principal & CEO. Leeds College of Building has around 5,500 students, covering 16-18 full-time study programmes, adult provision, HE courses, and bespoke programmes for employers. Over half of these students (around 2,800) are enrolled on apprentice training across all areas of the College’s provision, from Level 2 up to degree apprenticeships.

In 2019, the College was graded Good in all areas in its Ofsted inspection and opened phase two of its £13m South Bank Campus. Inspections now show quality at "good or better", HE meets all UK standards, and the ESFA gave the College a Good rating, indicating a healthy financial position.

"I have genuinely enjoyed all 18 years spent at Leeds College of Building," said Derek. "I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved and being involved in leading such a great team of talented, agile, and responsive staff, together with stakeholder and Governor support. I’m delighted to be leaving the College in such good shape at the end of a very rewarding career in Further Education.

“I have never lost a love of construction after all these years. Helping students develop skills that can make a transformative difference to their future and society is an absolute privilege. It is the accomplishment of which I’m most proud. Leeds College of Building is a fantastic organisation to lead, and I know Nikki will do a superb job at taking the College to the next stage in its development.” 

Peter Norris, Leeds College of Building Chair of Governors, said: “The College is passionately committed to inclusivity in construction and promoting diversity in the workforce, and so we look forward to Nikki commencing her role as Principal & CEO. Not only will her appointment ensure seamless continuity, but she also has outstanding knowledge of leadership in the Further Education sector.

“The Board would also like to acknowledge the commitment and hard work of Derek Whitehead in supporting students to achieve their aspirations over so many years, to ensure that the construction sector is supported and developed in the Leeds City Region and beyond.”


Picture: Nikki Davis (Vice Principal – Teaching, Learning & Quality and next Principal & CEO) and Derek Whitehead (current Principal & CEO) outside the Leeds College of Building South Bank  Campus. Image credit: Leeds College of Building.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 22 March 2022


Related Articles

Transgender Woman Engineer Suffers Discrimination at Jaguar Land Rover

A transgender woman has successfully brought claims against Jaguar Land Rover, saying she had suffered abuse and a lack of support whilst working as an engineer for the...

 Read Full Article
Willmott Dixon is UK’s Lead for Diversity in Poll

Willmott Dixon was the UK’s highest placed construction company in the FT’s annual list of the top European leaders for workplace diversity and inclusion,...

 Read Full Article
Build a Barn in 24 Hours – Leeds Project to Promote Careers in Construction

Women and non-binary people in West Yorkshire are being invited to help build a barn in 24 hours to promote construction careers. As part of the first “WOW...

 Read Full Article
Why Do We Need a Menopause Ambassador?

A new report from the Women and Equalities Committee calls for a Menopause Ambassador to provide support and guidance for the workplace. The cross-party House of...

 Read Full Article
ACAS Shares Advice on Hybrid Working

ACAS has shared new advice for employers wanting to support hybrid working and execute it fairly. The pandemic has shown us that not everyone is treated...

 Read Full Article
The UK’s Most LGBTQ+ Inclusive Employers – What Practical Steps Do They Take?

This Pride Month, we are looking at what practical tips businesses can learn from the best-performing organisations from the UK Workplace Equality...

 Read Full Article
Incoming CIBSE President Says Industry Must Prioritise Diversity 

The Incoming President of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers spoke at length about the importance of diversity and inclusion in...

 Read Full Article
Coalition Launches to Support Women in Health & Safety

Leading safety and health professionals across the world have joined together to form 1WISH, the Global Coalition of Women in Safety and Health, promoting inclusion...

 Read Full Article
Building College Benefits From £Billion Leeds Bonanza

Leeds College of Building have expanded their estates portfolio as phase two of the South Bank Campus, a £13-million development, has officially opened. The...

 Read Full Article
Is The Tide Changing For Women In Security?

When Meghan Markle was made Duchess of Windsor, her decision to assign a female head of security received particularly close press attention. But the Duchess'...

 Read Full Article