He is now retired, having worked as a teacher in inner city London colleges before moving up to Yorkshire to become Head of Faculty of Business at Keighley College. Thanks to his work on transforming the quality of that college Andy became Deputy Principal there and then the Director of Hillsborough College in Sheffield. This made him responsible for providing a service for 2,000 full time and 10,000 part time students. His success in this role led to his becoming Executive Director of the Learning and Skills Council in the Black Country and then Director of Young People's Learning for Yorkshire and the Humber before becoming Director of Academies for the whole of the north of England.
He writes regularly for the Yorkshire Post country section and has also written on educational issues for the Independent, the Guardian and the Times Educational Supplement.
He joined the Green Party because of his conviction that we need to take proper care of the environment that surrounds us. He believes that austerity is a dangerous economic choice and that our problems originated with a 2008 banking crisis that still hasn't been properly tackled. He wants to see the economy re-balanced so that there is much more emphasis on sustainable business practices. He finds it unforgivable that the Bank of England has printed £370 billion and given it to the banks whilst ordinary people have been told to tighten their belts. He is strongly committed to the welfare state and believes that there should be an end to top down re-organisations of public services such as education and health.
When it comes to the issue of defence he believes that we should only go to war when the vital interests of this country are at stake. The Greens opposed our involvement with the Afghanistan and Iraq wars at times when this was highly unpopular and this now looks farsighted. Andy also opposes our involvement in Syria and the Ukraine and believes that Trident is an outdated waste of money that cannot help us fight a modern war.
He is a strong supporter of freedom of speech for all and therefore supported the right of Charlie Hebdo and Danish cartoonists to print what they liked. Importantly he also supports this right for those he disagrees with - provided they do not incite hatred or violence. He believes that a sensible degree of sustainable immigration is good for a country because young immigrants contribute highly to their society. He wishes to reform the EU but thinks that if we leave it then other countries will make rules that we will still have to follow if we wish to trade and we will simply lose jobs and influence.
Above all he is convinced that we are not looking after the environment. Across Skipton and Ripon there are endless proposals to develop new housing across green land whilst there are perfectly good re-development opportunities being ignored. Our farmers are under so much price pressure from supermarkets that milk is now cheaper than water and small local farmers continue to get too little financial support to enable them to produce food sustainably. We also remain at risk of fracking taking place beneath our feet at a time when a proper investment in technology could enable us to massively reduce energy consumption and enable us to avoid pumping yet more CO2 into the atmosphere.
He does not expect the Green Party to win in this constituency but he does think that every single vote for the Green Party will matter because it will help send a real message to the political establishment that people want change.