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Speaker Biography

Sir Geoffrey Holland

Sir Geoffrey Holland
Sir Geoffrey Holland, Chair, Learning and Skills Development Agency

Sir Geoffrey Holland has been Chair of the Learning and Skills Development Agency since 1 August 2003.

From 1994 to 2002 Sir Geoffrey was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter. Under Sir Geoffrey’s leadership, the University saw a major improvement in its Teaching Quality Assessments and Research Assessment Exercise results.

His major achievements include overseeing the establishment of the School of Business and the Peninsula Medical School (the first new medical school in the country for 30 years). He also played a leading part in establishing the Combined Universities in Cornwall.

Sir Geoffrey has had a distinguished career at the highest level in the civil service. Between 1982 and 1994, he held the posts of Director, Manpower Services Commission; Permanent Secretary at the Department of Employment and Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education. Some of his achievements during this period include the Youth Training Scheme, the Technical and Vocational Education Initiative, Enterprise in Higher Education, Training and Enterprise Councils, the Restart Programme, the National Curriculum and leading on the initiative that saw polytechnics become independent new universities.

Sir Geoffrey was a member of the Government’s Committee on the Future of Higher Education (the “Dearing” Committee) from 1996 to 1997. From 1998 to 2002 he was President of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and was Chair of the Government’s Sustainable Development Education Panel from 1998 to 2003. Sir Geoffrey is currently Chair of Opsis – a partnership of schools, colleges and other organisations providing education, training and support for blind and partially sighted people.

Sir Geoffrey received a knighthood in 1989 and holds a first class honours degree in Modern Languages from St John’s College, Oxford.