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Speaker Biography

Derek Longhurst

Derek was appointed Chief Executive of fdf (foundation degree forward) in 2003. Originally funded by government as a three-year project, fdf is now in its eighth year of operation during which time it has successfully developed over 100 work-based degree programmes that recruit more than 5000 employees annually. Derek was also responsible for conceiving of the national accreditation service to support Employer Based Training Accreditation [EBTA]. The service has generated more than 200 employer partnerships with universities in the last three years and has delivered accreditation opportunities for approaching 10,000 employees who undertake in-house work-based training.

Derek has nearly 40 years experience of working within higher education in the UK and USA, nearly half of which has been at senior management level. Throughout this time he has maintained a commitment to opening up opportunities for people in higher education that come from socially-disadvantaged families and communities. This is firmly rooted in his own early experience of being the first member of my family to enter what was an even more elitist system of higher education than it is now. He has a passionate commitment to a socially-just and fair system of higher education that is open to anyone who has the capacity to benefit.

The work that he has undertaken in the strategic leadership of fdf has been informed by collaborative partnerships with employers, employer and employee organisations such as unionlearn, universities and colleges. The ultimate objective has been to create high quality work-based higher education that can be shaped to meet the needs of employees, adults and those who need to learn through flexible part-time opportunities. In this role Derek has worked with a range of government departments, Ministers of State, funding agencies, the Quality Assurance Agency and other organisations such as Sector Skills Councils and the British Chambers of Commerce.


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Derek Longhurst

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