Executive Team

Click on a member of the executive team below to find out more about them.

David Barker

Chief Technology Officer

David has worked in the internet industry since the early 1990’s when he co-founded one of the UK’s first full-service digital marketing agencies, personally working with technology companies including Intel, Microsoft and Cisco. Exiting his first business in 2004, he became an internet and social entrepreneur, dedicated to using innovation and technology to improve society. As an ex apprentice himself, he is excited to be working with the Association with its focus to ensure all apprentices successfully complete their apprenticeship, and move into fulfilling long-term careers.

Fiona Burford

Member Services Director

Fiona has had a varied career spent largely in engagement, governance and operational roles. She spent 10 years at City & Guilds where she became Head of Corporate Affairs holding responsibility for corporate governance as well as managing all senior external relationships. She has also been Head of Secretariat at the Fishmongers’ Company (a City of London guild) overseeing governance and charitable activity, Senior Programme Manager to the Lord Mayor of London and Chief of Staff in a private family office. Fiona has a degree from Nottingham University and a PhD from Copenhagen University.

Sophia Ibrahim

Marketing Manager

Sophia has extensive experience in both B2B and B2C marketing and business development. After taking extended parental leave, Sophia decided to pursue a career in the third sector; volunteering as a copywriter for Nurture the Children, and joining the Association. Sophia has a BA in Comparative Literature & Linguistics from Queen Mary, University of London, advocates for the awareness of Hyperemesis Gravidarum and enjoys board games, eating out, and treating karaoke like a competition.

Rachel Kayes

Community Manager

Rachel has over 15 years’ experience in the education sector holding several roles in Teaching, Curriculum Lead and Academy Management, before joining the Association of Apprentices.

In her role as Community Manager, Rachel is responsible for facilitating and instigating community engagement, ensuring members receive a high quality member service and have the support they need to move forward in their career paths.

She enjoys keeping fit through dance and walking in the lovely Derbyshire countryside.

Emily Rock

Chief Executive Officer

Emily has over 20 years’ experience as a Talent and HR specialist, holding a number of roles in Talent Management including Early Careers, Learning and Development and Change Management. Before joining Babington, Emily was the Client Director for Apprenticeships at Capita Learning overseeing key strategic relationships across both the private and public sector. Prior to this, Emily was the Head of Apprenticeships for Lloyds Banking Group where she led and developed the Bank’s Apprenticeship programme and schools engagement activity seeing over 5,500 apprenticeship starts from its launch and winning a number of awards for quality including a finalist position for three consecutive years as Macro Employer at the National Apprenticeship Awards.

In her current role, Emily works with the St Martin’s Group, a membership organisation of employers, training providers and end-point assessment organisations, established to provide practical support to policymakers as they seek to create a world-class apprenticeship system for the UK. Emily joined the Association of Apprentices in December where she is the Engagement Director, seconded via Babington, one of its founding partners. She has a business degree from Manchester University and a post graduate diploma in Human Resources.

Jan Richardson-Wilde

CEO, Occupational Awards Limited

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.

We use cookies on our website. You are free to manage this via your browser setting at any time.