Paul G K Little

Paul GK Little is the founding Principal and CEO of City of Glasgow College – Scotland’s super college. A Harvard Business School graduate and distinguished academic, he brings a wealth of experience in tertiary sector transformation, curriculum innovation, change management, and performance excellence. He has been recognised with five Fellowships including the Royal Society of Edinburgh (Scotland’s national Academy).  

For the past 32 years he has successfully led and reshaped five UK colleges earning an international reputation as a visionary reformer, successful change agent, merger specialist and a much sought after thought leader in redefining college education. He gained peer recognition as the top ‘Beacon of Excellence’ College in the UK, and his inspirational leadership has also been recognised with the Queen’s Anniversary Award and the People Glasgow Legacy Award. 

On the global stage, Principal Little is Chair of the European Foundation for Quality Management and has been honoured both in the East, an Honourary Doctorate from Asia’s leading Maritime University – AMET, and in the West, honoured with the prestigious Wallace Award from the American Scottish Foundation. 

He is a Younger Brother of Trinity House, Fellow of the Nautical Institute and Member of the Merchant Navy Training Board and UK Chamber of Shipping. He is a founding Board Member of the Scottish Maritime Cluster, and has helped shape the Scottish Government Maritime Strategy. In late 2019, he was commissioned by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance to review the impact of Scotland’s colleges on the Scottish economy.

Principal Little is the current President of the Glasgow Chambers of Commerce, having been elected to the role in January 2020. He is co-author of the Scottish Government commissioned Cumberford-Little report, launched in February this year, which highlights the strength, potential and economic impact of the college sector in Scotland.

Paul Little pioneered the merger of Glasgow’s four specialist colleges; nautical, commercial, building and printing, and food technology, with four distinct cultures. He encouraged staff to move from 11 widespread sites to a twin site super campus, in a timescale not thought possible, whilst adopting and embracing innovative new ways of teaching, support and management.

Mr Little has taken the college from being a new institution to one of the top performing college’s in Scotland in overall Further Education and Higher Education. Nearly 8% above the sector average for FE and 5% for HE. Student access from the 10% most deprived postcodes is also above the sector average. As Ambassador for WorldSkills in Scotland, he has overseen the creation of a World Skills Academy and the college’s current top ranking in the UK.

Paul Little holds a number of non-executive positions including: Vice-Chairman of Colleges Scotland, Board member of the UK Merchant Navy Training Board, member of the City and Guilds Learning and Assessment Policy Committee, member of the UK Association of Colleges Beacon Awards Steering Committee, member of the Scottish Parliament’s Universities and Colleges Cross Party Committee, Board member of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, member of Glasgow City’s Economic Forum, member of Glasgow City Centre Partnership. He has written many articles, most recently New Frontiers for College Education: International Perspectives, and Colleges as Anchors in Their Spaces.

He is a veteran HM Coastguard Officer (30 years) holding various roles as a SAR team leader, Rescue Cox Swain, SAR Planner, Emergency Medical Technician, Cliff Rescue Specialist, Public Affairs spokesman and Silver Command. He was decorated with two medals and long service Bar from the Queen. He was also selected as part of an elite team to train with the US Coastguard and completed three tours of duty. He gained his (Rescue) Cutterman and Command at Sea Awards, and was subsequently made an Honorary Member of the US Coastguard (Fifth District). He is a qualified yacht skipper, sailing his ELAN 434 in the Mediterranean.

Throughout an exemplary career Principal Little continues to believe passionately that education is the great enabler, boosting social mobility, and providing unrivalled access to higher and further education for all, not just for the few. He introduced the college purpose to Let Learning Flourish to reinforce that students be placed at the heart of everything the college does.

Paul G K Little
Principal and Chief Executive
  • Organisation
    City of Glasgow College