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The Corporation

Posted: 23/10/15

Dame Asha Khemka named one of UK’s most influential Asians

Leading educationalist Dame Asha Khemka has officially been named as one of the most influential Asians in the UK.

Dame Asha Khemka DBE

The principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College is a new entry in the ‘GG2 Power 101’ – the annual listing of the country’s 101 most powerful Asians.

Launched at the GG2 Leadership Awards in London earlier this week (Wednesday 21 October 2015) by chief guest, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Michael Gove, the prestigious listing honours notable British Asians who hold power and influence not just in Britain, but also globally.

Ranked 81st, Dame Asha is one of 26 new entries and one of only 23 women featured in the list – sitting alongside fellow high-achievers including Nobel prize-winner and young activist Malala Yousafzai, chairman of Santander Baroness Shriti Vadera, BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty, musician Anoushka Shankar and leading campaigners Shami Chakrabarti and Yasmin Alibhai Brown.

At number three in the list, the top-placed woman is Employment Minister Priti Patel, who was also honoured with the GG2 Woman of the Year award – the same accolade awarded to Dame Asha last year by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid was named Britain's most powerful Asian, topping the list for the second year running.

Commenting on her inclusion in the Power 101 list, Dame Asha said: “This truly is a great honour. To see my name alongside so many inspirational Asians, who have all excelled in their respective fields, is very humbling indeed.

“It’s fantastic that the talent and leadership of the UK Asian community across such a broad range of sectors is celebrated in this way, and I am immensely proud that my contribution to education and skills is seen worthy of such recognition.

“But, satisfying as this is, it is now very much back to the business of working with colleagues, employers and partners to ensure young people and adults in our communities receive the life-enhancing teaching and learning they deserve.”

Dame Asha is widely-regarded as a leading figure in the world of education and training. Since joining West Nottinghamshire College in May 2006, she has transformed it into one of the most successful colleges in the country, with 34,000 students and 12,000 apprentices nationally.

She was the driving-force behind the recent £40 million investment in the college’s state-of-the-art buildings and facilities, and the creation of Nottinghamshire’s very first studio school. 

Dame Asha also plays a key role in promoting UK-India relations – establishing partnerships between UK and Indian education-providers and forging strategic alliances with industry – and in 2013 she accompanied the Prime Minister on his trade mission to India.

She serves on numerous boards including the University of Nottingham, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, Education Honours Committee and the Inspire and Achieve Foundation – a charity she set up to re-engage young people not in education, employment or training.

Now in its fifth year, the GG2 Power 101 list is compiled by Britain’s biggest Asian publishing house, the Asian Media and Marketing Group (AMG).

Launched as part of the GG2 Leadership Awards, it attracted a diverse and powerful audience of outstanding individuals and celebrities including music producer Naughty Boy, London Mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan MP, Citizen Khan’s Adil Ray, presenters Tommy Sandhu and Nihal Arthanayake and Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel, who showed their support for ethnic achievement in the UK.