Ali has been a longstanding leader in the FE sector and until recently the Principal and Chief Executive of Central Bedfordshire College.  He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list in 2011, for services to the Further and Technical Education (FTE) sector in the UK and for building purposeful strategic relationships between the UK and Iraqi FTE.

Previously, Ali was the Principal of Southend Adult Community College (SACC) and his leadership was recognised by OFSTED when SACC was judged to have outstanding leadership and management and for SACC to become the first LSIS Beacon of its kind at that time. Ali has a deep and passionate belief in the impact of learning on individuals, communities and the economy. He is committed to improving the Further Education sector through evidence-based research and believes that it is imperative for academics researching Further Education to engage with practitioners and for the practitioners to engage in research. Ali holds a doctorate in organisational culture and change management with specific focus on FE college mergers.