David was born and brought up in Yorkshire. His working life started in the London headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, where he held a number of posts including serving as Private Secretary to three ministers. He left to become Director of the National Association of Master Bakers, moving on after six years to the Hotel and Catering Training Company.
In 1996, David’s wife, Jeanette, learned she had Huntington’s Disease. The family moved back to North Yorkshire, where David was Chief Executive of the Training and Enterprise Council and subsequently Executive Director of the local Learning and Skills Council. He stood down in 2005 when his role as Jeanette’s carer made it impossible to work full time. Jeanette died in 2009.
Until August 2016, David was Director of Policy and Research at the Edge Foundation, which champions technical, practical and vocational education. He is now a freelance writer and researcher.