Meet the Governors

Abingdon & Witney College’s Corporation consists of 17 Governors drawn from the local community and includes staff and student representation. Here, you can read more about the experience and guidance they bring to the College.

Jacqui Canton, Principal & CEO

Jacqui studied History at the University of York, before starting a career as a graduate manager for Asda. After five Christmases in retail, and enjoying the people side of the business more than the retail side, she moved into training and development, initially working for a large engineering firm running national graduate and apprenticeship training programmes.

Jacqui moved into further education over ten years ago and has worked at various colleges across the country, primarily looking after apprenticeship provision. She joined Abingdon and Witney College in 2011 and has led various areas of the college including apprenticeships, marketing, higher education, community learning and management information services.
She became Principal and Chief Executive in September 2020.


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Gavin Maitland-Smith, Chair of Governors

Gavin Maitland-Smith has an MA in Modern History from Brasenose College, Oxford,was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2002, and holds a practising certificate as a Solicitor Advocate.

He is a specialist in working capital fundraising and lending, having spent the last twenty years running a number of specialist finance businesses and acting as a retained advisor to a number of listed companies. Gavin is the Head of Wholesale and Structured Finance at Triple Point and also
practices as a lawyer at Mills Keep, a specialist tax consultancy.
Outside work Gavin is also a qualified running coach and regularly competes in Ultra Marathons. He is also a keen golfer and rugby supporter, having represented Oxford University RFC as an undergraduate.

Gavin became Chair of the Corporation Board on 1 January, 2019.



The Board of Governors

Edward Collett

Edward studied Archaeology at the University of Leicester and worked in Manufacturing Engineering for three years after university, before making the move to Further Education at Bournemouth and Poole College in 2012. Focusing on supporting groups of accounting apprentices as well as the employer engagement work linked with the College’s Peter Jones Enterprise Academy BTEC Business and Enterprise Course.

Edward moved to Oxfordshire to join Abingdon & Witney College in 2014 as a Business Development Executive and has taken on various roles in management since then, all linked in with apprenticeships and employer engagement, also spending three years managing the Marketing team alongside Business Development. More recently, Edward has undertaken studying an MBA with Oxford Brookes University as part of an apprenticeship programme alongside his role.

Howard Dodd

Howard has a degree in Physics from Imperial College, London. He is a chartered accountant and qualified corporate treasurer. He has pursued a career in industry and has held senior positions in ICI PLC, Zeneca PLC, Novartis AG and Boots Group PLC. For 10 years he was non-Executive of Tulchan Communications and Chair of Trustees of Prison Fellowship (England & Wales) for 8 years.

He has lived in West Oxfordshire since 2011.

Vicky Field

I’m a former student of the College, firstly at the Witney Campus studying Business but more recently Equine Studies at Common Leys Campus.

I spent my entire career in the public sector in Local Government in a variety of roles in both Human Resources and management. I managed Oxfordshire County Council’s HR Shared Services before moving to manage the County’s libraries and museums.

I led, on behalf of the County Council, the transfer of the Oxfordshire Skills and Learning Service to the College which is now embedded into the College’s operation as Oxfordshire Adult Learning (OAL), I’m passionate about lifelong learning and opportunities being available to all particularly the most vulnerable and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

My interests include the horses, football (lifelong Oxford United supporter), the arts, and learning Portuguese. My son and his family live in Portugal so I spend some time in that lovely county. I am a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and have a have a Master’s Degree in Strategic Human Resource Management.

I have been a Governor for 6 years and currently Chair the Curriculum, Quality and Students Committee and am link Governor for Health and Safety.

Nick Handy

Nick is a Chartered Accountant who qualified with Price Waterhouse in London and then moved to Bristol where he provided audit and financial advisory services, with a focus on corporate finance. He then joined Vodafone where he initially had overall responsibility for audit, governance and risk management reporting to the Audit Committee and Board. He then took over responsibility for management information and managed the implementation of Oracle management information systems. During his time with Vodafone he was a trustee of the Vodafone Foundation which managed Vodafone Group’s charitable giving and was also the interim CFO of Vodafone Romania.

After leaving Vodafone he provided consultancy services on governance and risk assurance before being appointed the Financial Director Operations of Essar Energy plc, then a UK listed company, which owned a refinery and power stations in India and acquired the refinery at Ellesmere Port.

After retiring Nick was appointed trustee and treasurer of OCCTOPUS, the Oxford Colon Cancer Trust, which funded two special operating theatres; one at the John Radcliffe and the other at the Churchill Hospital. He is a keen sailor and enjoys day sailing in the Solent.

Ali Kennedy

Ali is an experienced finance professional, business leader and company director working in the defence industry. She joined BAE Systems plc in October 2020 as Director of Group Taxation. Prior to this Ali worked in the cyber-security sector as a director and Vice President of Sophos Group plc. She holds tax committee roles with the Confederation of British Industry and is a West Midlands Council member. These roles involve regular communication with government on fiscal policy and tax reform.

She is a regular speaker at conferences on international finance. Prior to joining Sophos, Ali held senior roles in the oil industry and technology sector. Ali is also a past director of the UK chapter of International Women’s Forum, a global organisation advancing leadership across careers, cultures and continents. She leads on initiatives to encourage women to pursue careers in the technology sector.

Ali holds a BSc (Hons) in Genetics from University of Aberdeen. Outside of work, Ali is mum to a very sporty family and is a keen parkrunner and marathon runner.

Follow her on Twitter: @1happyrunner | #techshecan

Adam Mumford

Adam is an Owner and Director of Owen Mumford Ltd, a world class designer and manufacturer of medical devices. Owen Mumford employs over 750 associates across three manufacturing sites (two in Oxfordshire and one in Malaysia), six regional sales hubs and exports to over 60 countries.

Owen Mumford partners many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and diagnostic brands and collaborates with these businesses to design injection pens and auto-injectors to deliver their drugs. In addition, Owen Mumford produces medical consumables that are sold under the Owen Mumford brand, in the UK their Unistik®3 product is the most commonly used safety lancet in the NHS.

Adam lives in Oxfordshire and has two children, one at University and another about to start. A lifelong Manchester City fan, his whole family are passionate about sports and regulars at the Etihad Stadium. Adam is actively involved in his local West Oxfordshire community both through professional and family commitments.

Nicolas Pagès

Born in France, Nicolas Pagès obtained a manufacturing engineering diploma (equivalent to a MsC degree in engineering) before moving to Oxfordshire over 11 years ago.

His curiosity and willingness to seek new challenges brought him through various roles within the facilities management sector, from compliance or operational risk management to project and account leadership. Nicolas moved within a difficult and challenging sector to end up being one of the senior leaders at his past companies.

Nicolas now leads a team of Health, Safety and Risk managers in one of UK leading waste management and energy provision company: Veolia. This entails setting UK wide strategies within Risk and Health, Safety portfolio as well as supporting the business to increase profitability and sustainable growth. All the while whilst reporting to the global business on performance and continuous improvement activities.

Outside of work, Nicolas enjoys spending time with his family and friends, riding in the countryside, gardening and DIY.

Kathryn Schutterlin

I have worked at the College for over 13 years in various roles, but in November 2021 I moved from teaching in Health and Social Care to take on the new challenge of being Curriculum Manager for Pathways .

I very much enjoying working with a fantastic team on developing a new curriculum structure and getting to know our amazing students and their achievements.

I am a very enthusiastic sportswoman and last year had the privilege of representing GB at the World Racketlon Championships, winning a team GB silver medal. I am also a keen runner, cyclist and mountain walker and in the holidays will combine my love of travel to explore new places on foot or two wheels.

Prof. Sean Wellington

Professor Sean Wellington joined Middlesex University in April 2019 as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology. He was appointed Deputy ViceChancellor, Provost in January 2021 with responsibility for the academic performance, staffing, budgeting, and planning of the faculties.

Since beginning his career in the engineering industry, initially as an Apprentice, Sean has held teaching, research and leadership positions at three universities and taught a range of subjects in engineering and computing over more than 30 years. He is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research interests include higher education policy and practice, digital signal processing and information fusion.

Sean has lived in Oxfordshire since 2015 and joined Middlesex from Oxford Brookes University. He has been a Governor of Abingdon and Witney College since 2015.

David Walker

David was until recently a senior partner at Ridge and Partners LLP based in Woodstock, a position he has held for over 27 years undertaking an executive board function for the partnership.

Key roles have been:

  • Implementation of a growth and diversification strategy, taking the business from 80 staff to over 600, with a turnover in excess of £60m
  • Driving change in struggling areas of the business by introducing new services
  • Control of Ridge’s property portfolio acquisition, disposal of property and leasehold offices.

Setting up and managing Health and Safety compliance throughout the business

David has over 34 years’ experience as a Building Surveyor dealing with all types of commercial and residential property and currently undertakes consultancy work assisting clients on development projects. David is a Trustee of REAch2 Academy Trust and a member of the Finance & Resources committee. REAch2 is the UK’s largest primary only academy trust and currently supports circa 60 primary academies across England.

Robert Weavers

Robert is the Centre Administrator for the Global Centre on Healthcare and Urbanisation (GCHU) at Kellogg College, University of Oxford. The GCHU seeks to make urban centres environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable, and to provide an environment that supports and sustains health and wellbeing. He previously spent over five years working in several roles relating to governance, assurance, compliance, planning and education policy at the University of Oxford and is now undertaking a BA in Business and Management Practice at Abingdon and Witney College through a Chartered Management Degree apprenticeship.

Robert is passionate about the importance of having young people invested in contributing to governance and management bodies and is proud to represent the student body of the College as a Student Governor. Robert previously lived in Mexico City but now lives in Littlemore, Oxford and is a keen cyclist and football supporter. He is a Board member of the Oxford United Supporters Trust and is involved in multiple local charity programmes in the city.

Dr Sam Wolfe

Dr Sam Wolfe is Associate Professor of French Linguistics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Catherine’s College. He is also Director of Schools Liaison and Outreach for the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages. He has sixteen years’ experience in school, college, and charity governance and has particular interests in combatting educational disadvantage, anti-bullying initiatives, the education of care-experienced young people, and access to Higher Education. He is currently coordinating a national project to increase the number of care-leavers accessing Higher Education.

Laura Grainger

Laura is the Clerk to the Corporation Board & Governance Advisor. After taking her A Levels at the then ‘Witney College’, she studied Economics & Politics at the University of Bath, and a Masters at Warwick Business School. Laura recently joined the College in 2022 after nearly 15 years at Oxfordshire County Council – most recently as their Legal Practice Manager.

She lives in Witney and is an active part of the community: such as being a member of the Windrush Medical Practice Patient Board, setting up the Witney Covid-19 support group (for which she won a Town Hero award), and has recently become a foster carer. Laura can be contacted via email for any initial queries regarding the Corporation Board. Laura.grainger@abingdon-witney.ac.uk