Announcing new Chief Executive to take the ambitious subject association forward

Published 9th January 2017

Dr Julie Nugent, new Chief Executive, starting 1 Feb 2017

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Julie Nugent as our new Chief Executive, starting 1 February 2017. Previously Executive Director for Commercial and Corporate Affairs at Birmingham Metropolitan College, Dr Nugent brings an impressive skill set from her time in education, funding, government and industry that will strengthen the Association’s relevance and reach.

Appointed after a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees, Julie will serve a membership of 11,000 individual Design & Technology teachers, trainees, technicians and teaching assistants; consultants, businesses and corporate sponsors. 

Julie is passionate about the role that D&T education plays in transforming lives and the contribution it makes to a broad and balanced curriculum for all. Although she does not have a background in teaching D&T, as a parent and with teaching experience at both HE and FE level, she is well versed in the needs and interests of young people and understands how teachers, at all levels, need to be supported. Julie will continue the work of predecessor Richard Green, whose efforts were instrumental in, among other things, advising the Department for Education on the new Design & Technology GCSE and A-level curriculum, due to be implemented in 2017. 

Key goals for the Association at this challenging time include building on the success of the organisation and the expertise of staff and developing new links with employers, policy-makers and funders. This will enable the continuation of existing provision and also enable new initiatives designed specifically to support all those involved in primary and secondary school education. Also critical is further developing the network of influential ambassadors and advocates who speak passionately on behalf of the subject and its supporting role in the UK economy.

Dr Julie Nugent commented, “The Design & Technology Association is critical to providing support and professional development opportunities for teachers, informing the choices young people make and ensuring that employers and the economy have the flow of skills needed for future competitive success. My previous roles have focused on the skills challenges faced by local and regional economies. Many employers cite the impact of increased technology and automation on their workforce and their growing need to access new digital and technical skills to remain competitive.  I’m passionate about the role of education in responding to this challenge and am committed to giving young people the high quality design and technical skills they need to succeed”.

Commenting on the recent Sainsbury Review, the new Apprenticeship Levy and the devolution of skills budgets to Combined Authorities, which will lead to a new focus for vocational education at all levels, Julie's view is that these initiatives will, rightly, reflect the importance of STEM subjects and the need to support the growth of critical sectors such as Creative and Digital and Advanced Manufacturing. She believes strongly that the value of D&T's potential contribution to STEM has not been widely recognised. If the concept of STEM is to address issues of growth and have real traction, then this must change.

Julie adds, “However, in order to do this, we must nurture the interest and engagement of young people from an early age. The design & technology curriculum offers young people a fantastic foundation to develop innovation and creativity alongside industry-relevant technical skills and presents a unique opportunity to link educators with employers. I welcome the opportunity to help position the organisation at the heart of future educational policy and delivery.

Dr Julie Nugent's Biography

Previously Commercial Director at Birmingham Metropolitan College, Julie led on the college's growth and diversification strategy and overseeing engagement with employers. Prior to that, Julie was Director of Funding and Allocations at the Skills Funding Agency - the national organisation responsible for post-16 funding of education and skills.

Julie has also served as Deputy Director for FE Policy and Performance at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; Director of Strategic Commissioning, Communications and Performance at the Learning and Skills Council and Head of Strategy and Funding at Wolverhampton Chamber of Commerce, Training and Enterprise. Prior to that Julie taught across a number of Further Education and Higher Education institutions

Back to News