Click on a member of the advisory panel below to find out more about them.
Click on a member of the advisory panel below to find out more about them.
Senior Head of Learning & Development, BBC
Rob’s experience of people and organisations is rooted in a BBC career spanning over thirty years and before that with Marks & Spencer.
Within the BBC Rob has worked in local radio, talent rights negotiation, business affairs and in learning & development. He has a Masters in Organisation Development, holds the Henley Professional Certificate in Coaching and is an accredited Workplace Mediator.
In his role as Senior Head of Learning & Development, Rob is responsible for leading the BBC Academy and implementation of the BBC’s L&D strategy in production, journalism, technology, leadership and personal development, and for the BBC’s contribution to skills development across the UK media industry. Early Careers and Staff Apprenticeships, which form part of the BBC Academy portfolio, are a critical component of the BBC’s workforce strategy.
Group Director of Global Business Development and Marketing, NOCN
Louise has over 25 years’ experience in Business Development and Marketing, working predominantly in the hospitality sector for some of the largest hotel companies across the world. She then transitioned into the outdoor education sector, working with young people of all ages. Louise is now Group Director of Global Business Development and Marketing at NOCN Group. She has a passion for education and skills, believing everyone has the right to all opportunities to learn, at their own pace and in an environment that is right for them.
Apprenticeships Director, Capita Learning
Debbie has over 17 years’ leadership experience in the Apprenticeship and skills sector. She is currently the Director of Funded Learning at Capita. Previous roles have included Director of Operations, Head of Apprenticeships, Lead for Apprenticeships and CEO of an ITP.
She is passionate about providing a great learning experience for all learners, which enables them to achieve their aspirations.
Managing Director, Innovate Awarding
Charlotte is Managing Director of Innovate Awarding. Charlotte’s career within Education commenced in 1996 with RSA Examinations Board and she has vast experience in curriculum, assessment and qualification design.
Charlotte has spent much of her career working in partnership with thought leaders in education to influence curriculum delivery and development, and to ensure best practice is assimilated into the development of qualifications, assessments and delivery. Much of Charlotte’s work has included building relationships and interpreting the needs of employers.
In addition Charlotte is a trustee of Career Colleges and a Board member of The Federation of Awarding Bodies and AELP. She is also an Independent Governor for an FE College and for a Secondary school that’s vision is led by national Employers.
Head of Apprenticeships & Employability Programmes, Greene King
Graham joined Greene King in 2014 and is responsible for the growth and success of the apprenticeship programme having supported over 13,000 apprentices with over 30 different standards available from Level 2-7. Over the years, Graham has introduced new initiatives including The Prince’s Trust, Work Experience, Releasing Potential (recruitment of ex-offenders), Supported Internships and recently launched Kickstart with 1,000 placements available across the UK. Graham also represents Greene King on several other apprenticeship and hospitality boards.
Ian leads the early careers agenda for Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), encompassing its engagement with schools and colleges to support young people with careers development and a successful and positive transition into the world of work. This also incorporates work experience and a partnership with Skillsbuilder.
Apprenticeships are integral to the talent and development proposition at LBG with typically 1500 colleagues on one of thirty programmes from level 2 to level 7 at any one time. Ian also leads LBG’s work in delivering SME skill development through apprenticeship levy transfer, supporting over 900 apprentices with over £10m of funding, particularly in STEM and Digital skillsets.
Head of Apprenticeships Delivery, Network Rail
Hannah has have worked in the field of Apprenticeships and Graduates for nearly 20 years and is currently the Head of Apprenticeship Delivery at Network Rail. Previous positions have included senior roles in National Express and RATP Dev London – a London Bus company. Hannah has been involved in developing various apprentice standards through trail blazer groups including a new standard for Bus Maintenance Engineers, and has worked with key stakeholders such as Transport for London to develop qualifications to drive improved customer experience.
Hannah is Vice Chair of Governors and the Special Educational Needs Link Governor at a local secondary school and is passionate about the role that apprenticeships play in driving organisational performance and increasing social mobility.
Hanna has recently relocated with her family from London to Sheffield, where they joined the Open House Project – a self-supportive, eco-friendly co-housing community.
UK Early Careers Programme Manager
Biography to follow.
Managing Director, Support Connect
Caroline co-founded WSDAC Limited in 2013, a nationwide provider of Student Disability Assessment Centres for university students who have been approved for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSAs). Caroline, along with her fellow co-founder Matthew Heathman, drew on their own neurodiverse personal experiences to set out to create a more positive and supportive learning environment for students with disabilities / neurodiversities and long-term medical conditions. WSDAC’s multi award winning assessments empower students to access specialist equipment and support to maximise their potential throughout their studies and beyond.
In 2019, Caroline co-founded the rapidly expanding Support Connect Limited with fellow directors Matthew Heathman and Jason French, to extend the kind of assessment facility available to university students under the DSA grant and to connect people from school age all the way through the working population with the support they need, and the funding schemes available to help them. Support Connect Limited actively recruits apprentices to also strengthen the peer to peer support opportunities we provide.
At Support Connect, we are able to identify and support apprentices who are learning as part of their off-the-job training by providing a personalised learning support plan. Support Connect exists to help the Apprentice, Trainer and Work Supervisor to be aware of learning differences and to put into place the help, methods and techniques to facilitate the best possible learning experience from onboarding through to their end point assessment, in short, to help apprentices to succeed.
David is Chief Executive Officer at NCFE, a leading educational charity, with business operations in Awarding, Assessment and Learning Technologies and Resources. David initially joined NCFE in 2018 as Managing Director of NCFE EPA Plus, leading a new team to deliver End-Point Assessment for apprenticeships. NCFE is the 3rd largest Awarding Organisation in technical and vocational education in the UK and has recently been selected by Government to develop and accredit 6 T Level pathways. NCFE’s core purpose is to ‘promote and advance learning’ and all NCFE businesses play a role in supporting learners to achieve the best possible education, career and life outcomes.
David has enjoyed a successful career in employment and skills for over 18 years, spanning from frontline delivery in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the UK to his current role as CEO of an educational charity that is particularly focussed on supporting the most disadvantaged.
David’s diverse career, has shaped his perspectives on education, skills and employment. This has included; working the public sector for the Learning and Skills Council (now ESFA) where he was heavily involved in qualification reform policy and the introduction of the QCF, working with several leading national employment and skills providers, including: Working Links and Ingeus, during periods of significant market shift, such as; the introduction of ‘payment by results’, twice being nominee for an Ofsted inspection and also working with a variety of devolved authorities and stakeholders in the design and delivery of locally responsive skills provision.
Director of Apprenticeship Strategy and Policy, BPP Education Group
BPP are the UK’s leading professional education training provider. Nichola works to ensure BPP delivers on its commitment to provide the highest quality professional apprenticeship training for UK businesses looking to upskill their existing workforce and attract new talent. With over 25 years of experience in the further education sector, Nichola leads and develops BPP’s apprenticeship strategy and client proposition, supporting the business to meet its growth plans, while positioning BPP as a market leader in the further education sector.
She also works closely with key external and political stakeholders responsible for skills, to influence and improve education and skills policy in the UK. Nichola was recognised for her services to apprenticeships and skills in the Queen’s 2021 New Year Honour List.
National Programme Manager – Apprenticeships, NHS
Lucy has worked in the training and education sector for over 20 years and for the past 10 years she has been working in the Apprenticeship arena. First leading the business development teams at 2 London FE colleges and for the past 6 years working for Health Education England offering strategic support to the NHS on all aspects of apprenticeship development, delivery, and implementation. She is very passionate about apprenticeships as a great tool to recruit new talent to the NHS but also as a way to upskill the existing workforce and offer career pathways and progression. She was Highly Commended – Apprentice Champion of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards 2022.
John is CEO of Bud Systems, the leading provider of software supporting apprenticeship training providers, employers and apprentices.
He joined Bud in 2021 to lead their ambitious growth plan. He has previously led two other education based technology businesses – RM Results and Pamoja Education – as they have scaled. His earlier career included managing corporate IT systems at Centrica and Lloyds TSB.
John sees apprenticeships as a critical component of the education landscape and one of the key initiatives to address the UK skills gap.
Bud are delighted to be a founder partner of the Association of Apprentices.
Early Careers Lead UK – Work Experience, Traineeships & Apprenticeships, HSBC
Future Talent – Early Careers Programmes Lead, bp
Kerryn leads global early careers programmes across a range of business groups and disciplines and is the strategic lead for apprentices. She has worked in early careers programmes at bp for 2 years. Prior to bp, Kerryn worked at Goldman Sachs for more than 10 years as an Executive Director in change management and business readiness functions before moving to Kubrick Group as Head of Consultant Development.
Apprentices are a critical part of bp’s early careers population and bp has ambitious targets to increase apprentice numbers year on year to build the skills required to power the energy transition and positively impact diversity and social mobility.
Director of Apprenticeship Development and Diversity, Kaplan
Apprenticeships can be transformative for the lives of learners and their employers. Through being a leading provider of Accountancy & Tax, Financial Services and Data & Technology apprenticeships, Kaplan enables apprentices to flourish in their careers. Kaplan is delighted to support the powerful work and advocacy of the Association of Apprentices.
Jenny’s own career in apprenticeship education has involved her leading the development and design of apprenticeship programmes in financial services, accountancy & tax and law. Her career started with teaching English and then she qualified as a solicitor, working in London and Brussels. But she couldn’t resist the pull of education so joined a law school in 2004 and Kaplan in 2019. Jenny is a member of the Apprenticeship Leadership Team at Kaplan Financial and a Governor of Kaplan Pathways. She leads on the Brighter Futures initiative and is dedicated to broadening access to apprenticeships and the professions through her work with the Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance, RISE which provides skills insights to schools and the social mobility charity Career Ready. She also represents Kaplan as the organising partner of the World Skills Accounting and Tax competition.
Head of Apprenticeships, BT
Jamie is a commercial learning professional with a passion and specialism for apprenticeships. Joining BT at the beginning of 2023, as Head of Apprenticeships, Jamie leads the apprenticeship strategy across the business, focusing on both entry level talent and reskilling and upskilling the current workforce.
Prior to joining BT, Jamie gained significant multi sector experience across public and private sector organisations, including London Fire Brigade, Network Rail, Volkswagen and most notably had accountability for the Jaguar Land Rover Apprenticeship programme whilst working for Training Provider Babcock. Jamie has spent the last 3 years working in the nuclear sector working in partnership with Sellafield, focusing on future skills and capability.
Jan is the CEO of Occupational Awards Limited, a Director of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink and an FE College Governor. She has over 35 years’ experience in the education sector in strategic and operational management of training programmes with colleges, private training providers, local authorities the voluntary sector and not for profit organisations. Jan has previously been a board member of the Learning and Skills Council, chair of the North Yorkshire Training Provider network and Vice-Chair of Yorkshire Coast College and a Governor of the Grimsby Institute for Further and Higher Education. She has extensive experience of education policy, apprenticeships, qualification, and curriculum development as well as business improvement.
Jan joined OAL in 2019, a leading non-profit industry-focused Awarding and End-Point Assessment Organisation, supporting a wide range of employers and of key stakeholders to succeed and surpass expectations. Jan is committed to continuous improvement and enthusiastic about improving the effectiveness, impact and quality of apprenticeships, education, and training in the UK and internationally. She has a wide range of experience of working in a collaborative context with employers and training providers to develop End Point Assessment, apprenticeships, and a wide range of vocational programmes.
Sam Sawyer, CEO/Co-Founder, Accelerate People
Sam is the CEO/Co-Founder of Accelerate People, an Apprenticeship End-point Assessment Organisation currently operating within the Digital Sector. As well as overseeing the day-to-day operations, Sam leads on the vision and strategic direction of the business within the Blenheim Chalcot portfolio.
Sam has worked in the BC portfolio for some 10 years as Director of Operations where she led a highly successful team and was responsible for delivering Ofsted Grade 1. Sam is a qualified External and Internal Verifier and tutor and prior to her BC career, she spent 12 years at a national training provider with over 5,000 apprenticeship starts per year, starting as Area Manager and working up to CEO.
A passionate advocate of Apprenticeships, Sam has helped numerous businesses in the sector to build their infrastructure to enable them to achieve and maintain quality provision as they grow.
CEO, Lifetime Training
David Smith is a dynamic and visionary leader who took the reins as CEO of Lifetime in July 2023. With a remarkable track record across multiple blue chip business service sectors, David brings a wealth of expertise and a passion for transforming companies, building long lasting customer relationships, and building colleague engagement all with an eye on sustainability and social value.
Before joining Lifetime, David has held the prestigious position of Chief Executive at 6 previous organisations, where he made a lasting impact in sectors as diverse as Logistics, Facilities Management, Environmental Services, and Retail Banking. David is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
But David is more than just a seasoned executive; he is a true advocate for the power of vocational training and the incredible potential it holds for individuals and businesses alike. With an unwavering belief in the value of apprenticeships, David champions their ability to unlock untapped talents and create meaningful opportunities.
Head of Future Talent, Royal Mail
Biography to follow.