Executive Team

  • Chief Executive

    David Hughes

    David Hughes became Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges in September 2016.

    Before that he was CEO at Learning and Work Institute, a leading think tank, research and policy organisation which was formed in 2016 from a merger he led between NIACE and Inclusion.

    From 2000 to 2011, David worked in senior roles at the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). At the LSC and SFA David led the funding and improvement relationships with colleges and providers and successfully took on trouble-shooting roles to rescue crises in capital funding and Educational Maintenance Allowances.

    Prior to that, David worked in the voluntary sector across a wide range of roles and organisations in the UK and Australia, in social housing, co-operatives, welfare, regeneration and community development.

    David has held many Board and Committee roles, including a few years as Vice-Chair of the East Midlands Regional Assembly in the 1990s. He played a leading role in establishing the new Education and Training Foundation in 2013 and has established and supported several third sector organisations.

  • Deputy Chief Executive (Policy, Curriculum, Funding)

    Julian Gravatt

    Julian is one of two Deputy Chief Executives at AoC 

    His role at AoC involves providing strategic leadership, development and management of AoC’s national policy work covering all aspects of the student experience in colleges. He works with the Chief Executive, David Hughes, on senior external/political engagement and strategy development for the organisation. He is part of AoC's senior leadership team.

    His day to day work involves representing Colleges to government at all levels with personal responsibility for funding, finance, regulation and pensions issues. He also advises college principals, governors and senior managers on these issues. He wrote a textbook on College financial management in 2007 and contributed to the recent Institute of Education history of colleges published in 2015. Julian has a degree in history, started his career at the National Audit Office and has worked in the College sector since 1991, first as Registrar of Lewisham College in South London, then as Finance Director of the City Lit and more recently at AoC

  • Kirsti Lord

    Deputy Chief Executive (Member Services)

    Kirsti is one of two Deputy Chief Executives at AoC. Kirsti joined AoC in August 2017.

  • Director of Finance & Chief Operating Officer

    Peter Brophy

    Peter has been with AoC since 1998.

    Having trained as a Chartered Accountant, Peter worked in the private sector for ten years, the final role being in a Group of ten companies, with a turnover in excess of £600 million. He was appointed to all Boards and specifically as Finance Director to a number of the subsidiaries. 

    As Finance Director and Board Member of AoC, AoC Create, AoC India and the AoC Charitable Trust, he oversees our finances, corporate services, regional offices and membership services.