Public appointment: Chairs appointed to the Board of Management of Forth Valley & West Lothian Colleges

Public appointments news release.

The Minister for Higher and Further Education; and Minister for Veterans, today announced the appointment of Dr Abhishek Agarwal as Chair of the Board of Management of Forth Valley College and Ms Sue Cook as Chair of the Board of Management of West Lothian College.

Forth Valley College Chair

Dr Abhishek Agarwal brings with him over 20 years’ experience in education and skills development, especially with his most recent role as Associate Professor in Strategy at Edinburgh Napier University where he leads the MBA and DBA Degree Programmes as well as industry engagement for the Business School. Over the last decade, Abhishek has cultivated a strong passion for effective governance and his roles have encompassed various responsibilities, including serving as Non-Executive Director of Kirkgate Developments Limited, Board Member and Chair of Grampian Housing Group, and a Non–Executive Board Member of NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland. He has extensive experience as Chair of the Board and as a Quality and Performance, Audit and Risk Committee member. Abhishek’s background in education, skills development, industry engagement, governance and board leadership will be invaluable as he takes on the role of Board Chair of Forth Valley College. Abhishek’s knowledge and expertise will be vital in light of the swiftly advancing technology landscape and students’ and employers’ changing expectations. He will work closely with the board and key stakeholders to shape the strategic direction for the College. Abhishek’s strong commitment to governance excellence is directed towards fostering positive societal and economic outcomes.

West Lothian College Chair

Ms Sue Cook has 14 years of experience in the college sector, having served as Chair of Audit at Edinburgh College and Vice chair of West Lothian, including chairing the Audit Committee. She was previously a member of the Audit Committee for Colleges Scotland. With extensive governance experience, Sue brings a strong business background and a commitment to community and education. In addition, she serves as a Justice of the Peace and Chair of two charities, one supporting the minority ethnic community in Scotland and the other supporting people impacted by drugs.


The appointments will be for four years. Ms Sue Cook’s appointment will run from 27 June 2024 to 26 June 2028 and Dr Abhishek Agarwal’s will run from 28 June 2024 to 27 June 2028.

The appointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.


The appointments are part-time and attracts a remuneration of £211 per day for a time commitment of up to two days per week.

Other ministerial appointments

Dr Abhishek Agarwal is a Member of the Healthcare Improvement Scotland Board for which he receives remuneration of £171.74 per day, for a time commitment of one day per week.

Ms Sue Cook does not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.   

Dr Abhishek Agarwal and Ms Sue Cook have had no political activity within the last five years.

Forth Valley College Background

Forth Valley College is one of the largest colleges in Scotland and was established in 2005 as a merged regional college serving the needs of Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire.

The college delivers more than 750 programmes across its campuses at Falkirk, Stirling and Alloa. On average Forth Valley College has 13,500 students per academic session with 94% of learners progressing to further studies or employment upon completing their course. Forth Valley College has a proven track record of meeting the needs of its local communities and businesses and is among the top performing colleges in Scotland.

The college provides a comprehensive range of blended learning opportunities to suit all learning needs across an extensive curriculum. Courses range from entry-level short courses to HNDs, on a full and part-time basis, with work-based learning opportunities and alternatives to full-time study. The college also supports people to develop and progress whatever stage they are at in their lives.

West Lothian College Background

West Lothian College is a growing college based in Livingston at the heart of Scotland’s central belt. It delivers education, training and apprenticeships to over 9,000 people each year.

The vision of the college is to help create a highly skilled, enterprising and resilient workforce. This vision is underpinned by four strategic goals to:

  • Inspire and enable success for all;
  • Support economic recovery and growth;
  • Strengthen our communities;
  • Lead with vision and empathy.

West Lothian is a region of continuing population growth and the college plays an increasingly important role in providing high quality learning opportunities for school pupils and leavers from the region’s 13 secondary schools.

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