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Dr Ian Johnston

Honorary Doctorate - 2010

Ian Johnston is a skilled and innovative leader in education who has made a major contribution to the finances and the future of Sheffield Hallam University.

After gaining a PhD at Birmingham University, Ian's career began in the civil service and brought him to Sheffield in 1984 as Director General of Training, Education and Enterprise for the Department for Education and Employment.

He led the teams that invented the Open College, Individual Learning Accounts, Modern Apprenticeships, Investors in People, and National Vocational Qualifications. He was responsible for programmes, such as the Youth Training Scheme (YTS), which helped 1.3 million people gain on-the-job training each year.

In 1987 he became a governor of what was then Sheffield City Polytechnic. He was appointed Deputy Chair in 1989, and Chair of its Finance and General Purposes Committee. Among his many notable achievements was persuading Her Majesty’s Treasury to agree to a precursor of the Private Finance Initiative to fund campus buildings including the Atrium, years before universities or polytechnics were allowed to do such things.

In 1995 Ian became Deputy Principal of Sheffield Hallam University where he delegated budgeting to Schools and Departments, increased non-Funding Council income, and began consolidating the University’s campuses.

In 1998 Ian was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University where he significantly helped raised standards and reputation.

After retiring in 2006, Ian returned to the Sheffield area where as a consultant for the Young Foundation, he concentrates on expanding the provision of apprenticeships. He is also Chair of Buxton Opera Festival Foundation Trust.

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