Dame Ann Limb
A Mancunian by birth, Dame Ann describes herself these days as a ‘philanthropist, mover & Quaker’, trying to navigate her way through life by doing least harm to people and planet.
Ann’s teaching career in Further Education began at Wythenshawe College in 1976, whilst she was undertaking her PhD at the University of Liverpool. She enjoyed a successful career in the sector in Manchester and Derbyshire before becoming a Principal & CEO – of Milton Keynes College in 1986 and then Cambridge Regional College in 1996. In 2001, Ann joined the civil service where she was responsible for the UK government’s flagship digital learning initiatives, learndirect, UK online and gov.uk.
Ann is currently Pro Chancellor of the University of Surrey, Chair of the City & Guilds of London Institute, and Board member of LTE Group in which capacity she is Chair of Governors of The Manchester College. In March 2023, Ann was named inaugural Chair of the Lifelong Education Institute, established by ResPublica, to take forward a vision for whole-system reform. This was developed by the Lifelong Education Commission under the leadership of former Universities Minister Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP.
From 2015-2021, Ann was Chair of The Scouts, the UK’s largest youth engagement charity. She is the first openly gay woman to hold these roles. Ann is also Chair of the UK Innovation Corridor, the country’s leading sci-tech region story from London to Cambridge, Chair of The Lloyds Bank Foundation, the charity arm in England & Wales of the Lloyds Banking Group, Deputy Chair of The Prince’s Foundation, a heritage-led regeneration charity founded by HM The King, and Vice President of the FE sector’s social justice charity, the Helena Kennedy Foundation which Ann herself set up in 1998,
In 2019, Ann was named #1 LGBTQ+ public sector role model in the OUTstanding List and one of the 50 most influential women born in the North of England in the Northern Power Women Power List. In the 2011 Birthday Honours, Ann was awarded the OBE for services to education, in 2015 ‘upgraded’ to CBE for public service, and in Jubilee Honours 2022 ‘elevated’ to the rank of Dame Commander of the British Empire, DBE for services to young people, philanthropy and charity.