Dame Ruth is the Founding President of the Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL). She is the Co-Chair of the Skills Commission and, until April 2016, chaired the Commission on Widening Access for the Scottish Government. She was the founding Chair of the Board of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service in October 2008 and chaired both the Board and the elected LSIS Council. In 2010, she was appointed by the Government to chair the National Taskforce on the Future of the Careers Profession. She is a Trustee of the Jamie Oliver Foundation and a member of the Baker Dearing Trust for University Technical Colleges.
Until summer 2009 Dame Ruth was the principal of Lewisham College, a large inner-city, vocational further education college in south east London serving a diverse and multi-cultural population, offering inspiring and challenging courses and ensuring that all members of the community are provided with every opportunity to succeed.