A Bradford College Vice Principal has been named Muslim Woman of the Year at a national awards ceremony.

Alina Khan picked up the ‘Noor Inayat Khan Muslim Woman of the Year’ award at a ceremony held at the Muslim Heritage Centre in Manchester.

Alina’s accolade comes from the British Muslim Awards, and is named after Noor Inayat Khan, a wartime British secret agent of Indian descent who was the first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France by the Special Operations Executive (SOE). She was arrested and eventually executed by the Gestapo. Noor was posthumously awarded the George Cross for her courage in 1949.

Alina said: “I was so surprised to hear I’d been shortlisted, but even more so when I won!

“When I looked at the other finalists in the category, they were hugely successful influencers. I feel extremely humbled to receive such an amazing accolade given the award is to recognise those who inspire and fight for justice and feel especially honoured about the category.”

“As a woman from a minority background, I understand and have experienced many barriers. People like me often need to try even harder to gain credibility and respect in professional settings, so I believe it’s up to us to then remove those obstacles by developing cultural competency, embedding organisational change, and fostering environments of inclusivity and respect.

A trailblazer herself, Alina is the first person in the further education sector to ever hold the position of Vice Principal for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion (EDI) & Student Experience.

She joined Bradford College in 2022 and champions EDI to break down barriers, challenge injustice, and ensure everyone can reach their full potential.

CAP: Bradford College Vice Principal for EDI & Student Experience, Alina Khan

Born and raised in Bradford, Alina studied three A Levels at Bradford College herself. She went on to study IT at Manchester Metropolitan University and came back to Bradford College to study for a post-graduation certificate in education. Alina started her career as a secondary ICT teacher before moving into the Bradford Local Authority where she worked within children’s services and later managed the Education Safeguarding team.

“I hope I can use this award to inspire others to challenge the status quo and positively disrupt the norm. I truly believe that you can’t be who you can’t see and know how important it is for students to have a range of positive role models who are able to have a positive influence. If just one young person looks at me and thinks “Well, if she can do it then so can I,” then I know I’m having an impact.

“I feel really privileged to work in the community in which I live and was raised. This recognition not only celebrates my work but also Bradford College’s outstanding contributions to transforming lives.”

Alina’s appointment is just one of Bradford College’s commitments to EDI. The College holds the Investors in Diversity standard and was the first ‘College of Sanctuary’ in West Yorkshire (an award that recognises the exceptional level of assistance provided to some of the most vulnerable learners seeking sanctuary in the city).