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Ambassadors

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Saima Yaqub

Talent Development Manager, Midland Heart

Saima is responsible for delivering apprenticeship programmes with a difference. She strives to make managers think of apprentices as an integral part of the team; someone who contributes to the team and organisational success by bringing their own unique talents and personality to the table to prepare Midland Heart for the future.

 

Saima is the Co-Chair of the West Midlands Region.

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Amy Barber

Early Careers Manager, Meggitt

Amy has over 16 years working within early careers, specialising in apprenticeships, she is passionate about developing future talent through apprenticeship programmes to build business resilience and ensure that all young people have the equal opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Having recently joined MEGGITT, her remit is to develop and grow the global early careers programmes, to ensure that the next generation of technical experts are being developed along with building engaged and empowered teams. Prior to her current role Amy has spent the last 5 years growing an award-winning apprenticeship programme at a regional utilities company. She has chaired the development of new apprenticeship standards for the industry and led in the organisation achieving employer provider status.

Amy sees apprenticeships as being a vital pathway for young people into future careers and the key to building the local economy.

Amy is the Co-Chair of the West Midlands Region.

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Chris Morris

Learning and Development Manager, IAE

Chris is a successful L&D & HR Professional with a proven track record in the development and management of Apprenticeship Programmes. Having spent 26 years within the Engineering and Manufacturing sector, he has a wealth of experience and knowledge within Engineering, Manufacturing, Production, Logistics, Health & Safety and Business Management.

Chris is responsible for Learning & Development at IAE and has the focus of ensuring every apprentice receives the correct training & development to maximise their potential and to meet the needs of the business. He has developed apprenticeship standards with other organisations through trailblazer groups. Working with training providers in the development of programmes for current employees also ensures IAE is continually evolving and at the forefront of development, which is crucial in minimising the impact of the skills gap.

 

Chris is the chair of the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire sub-regional group.

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Rose Rees

Head of Engagement & Skills, Midland Metro Alliance

Rose is Head of Engagement & Skills at Midland Metro Alliance. She and her team support stakeholders along the routes to minimise disruption to businesses and residents. She also works with local training providers, job centres and youth organisations to promote the Midland Metro Alliance's vision of leaving a legacy of sustainable employment for local people. Her drive is to encourage young people to consider careers in rail, civils and construction sectors. She was instrumental in creating a Trailblazer in Light Rail (which developed into the Tramway Construction Operative Apprenticeship at Level 2) and was determined to offer an entry level “no prior qualifications required” offender friendly apprenticeship to give people that first step on the career ladder.

Rose is the chair of the Black Country sub-regional group.

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Paul Fellows

Apprenticeship Development Lead, Marston's

Paul has worked within the hospitality sector for over twenty-five years and food has been a life-long passion, from joining Marston’s as a second chef, quickly progressing to head chef and then ten years as a chef trainer for the 180-year-old brewing, pub and hotel business! 
With the apprenticeship reforms and the introduction of new standards, apprenticeships now form a critical part of Marston’s early talent strategy. Paul’s priorities are to raise awareness of the apprenticeship opportunities available in hospitality and how chef careers are happening every day! 

Paul is the vice chair of the Black Country sub-regional group

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Clare Keegan

Business Development Manager, Harper Adams University

Clare leads the apprenticeship team at Harper Adams University and supports business across the UK to design and develop skills programmes to meet employees’ needs. 2021 will be the fourth year of apprenticeship delivery at the University, recently named Best UK University (Student Crowd awards 2021).

 

New programmes are created each year, across specialist sectors in Agriculture, Engineering, Food & Drink, Rural Surveying and Environmental Sustainability. This year sees the launch of Veterinary Technician, working with the trailblazer to support growth. Apprenticeships are part of a Knowledge Exchange strategy to meet the future requirements of the Agri-Food supply chain in the future.

Clare is the chair of The Marches sub-regional group.

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Craig Watson

Managing Director, Blackwatch Associates

Craig runs his own management consultancy supporting businesses across all sectors and has worked within the Education & Skills sector for 20 years where he held senior positions with both Colleges and National Training providers with responsibility for External Funding, Partnerships, Business Development, JCP Contracts/ Employability, Work Based Learning, Business Implementation and managing successful delivery of Apprenticeship programmes.

 

He has a passion for Apprenticeships and Training having gained all his qualifications vocationally. As part of the West Midlands AAN he supports the region by linking with the ESFA, aligning activities to meet the Business Plan objectives and develops relationships with local LEPs/ careers hubs  & sector bodies to promote interaction across the region.

 

Craig worked on the National AAN refresh with the Employer & Strategic Networks team within NAS where he supported the 9 Regional networks.

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Anita Davenport-Brooks

Group HR Manager, Lander Group

Anita has worked in Human Resources for over 20 years, the majority of her career being within manufacturing/automotive industries. She is a member of the Manufacturing Engineering Industrial Advisory Board, developing and reviewing with the group, manufacturing engineering courses and degree apprenticeships in manufacturing and robotics. She is a member of WMAAN and a member of the GBSLEP Apprenticeship Hub. Anita supports external activities, engaging with schools and career events promoting manufacturing/engineering. Anita is driving the vocational qualification levels at Lander, with employee development at the forefront of business practice.  There are 270 employees at Lander including over 100 apprentices.

 

Anita is a former chair of the West Midlands Region.

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Jenny Johnson

People & Culture Manager, KMF Group Ltd

Working at KMF for over 17 years, Jenny is the Training & Development Manager where she is responsible for the training, development and recruitment strategy, including their award-winning young & adult apprenticeship schemes. Recognised as a Women of the Year finalist, Jenny is recognised for her contribution to apprenticeships and encouraging females into engineering & STEM subjects.

Jenny is a former chair of the West Midlands Region

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Amy Crabb

Learning and Development Director, SERCO

Amy, an experienced professional in Learning and Development with over ten years of expertise, currently holds the position of leading Serco's learning function. She has a passion for continuous learning and recognises its role in personal and professional growth. At Serco, people are a cornerstone of the organisation's strategy and are crucial to help them achieve their goals.

 

In line with Serco's learning strategy, apprenticeships are a top priority, and the business is also an employer provider. Amy leads the team that help to upskill and enhance capabilities across the business while providing colleagues with a career pathway. Apprenticeships are crucial in addressing anticipated skills gaps within the organisation and also enable colleagues to unlock their full potential and flourish in their roles. By offering high-quality apprenticeship opportunities, Serco ensures that its workforce continues to learn, grow, and excel.

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Carol Rogers

Apprenticeships Manager, Harper Adams University

Carol has worked at Harper Adams University for 2½ years and has worked within the work-based learning sector for almost 20 years. Throughout her career, she has been involved with recruiting and supporting of apprentices across a wide range of sectors including construction, social care, hospitality and business administration. In her current role, she manages the quality and compliance of degree apprenticeships in chartered surveyor, Food Industry Technical Professional, Food and Drink Advanced Engineer and the higher apprenticeship Vet Technician. Through this experience, she has a broad understanding of the challenges within industry to recruit and retain staff, and support apprentices in various roles.

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Maria Carroll

Learning and Development Advisor, Capula

With over 20 years' experience and a specialist within her field, Maria’s commitment to ensure all employees are given the opportunity to take ownership of their development and future career aspirations underpins Capula’s philosophy to 'grow your own'.

Capula ensures its people are at the heart of everything we do and that the success of our business is reflected by the success of our people. With a focus on apprentices and apprenticeship pathways, Maria strives to nurture and develop talent by identifying and providing opportunities for individuals to gain a wider skill set to support their ongoing career aspirations.

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Leighton Arnold

Apprenticeship and Early Careers Manager, Ornua Foods

Leighton has worked within the apprenticeship sector for many years. And has vast array of experience of assessing, teaching, quality assurance, program development and employer engagement. He has led on projects to implement apprenticeships within organisations ensuring maximum effectiveness. His key areas of expertise are Management and Business administration, however having worked across a wide range of vocations, Leighton has extensive knowledge of available apprenticeship standards and point assessment requirements, which supports higher success rates by learners at all levels. He has a passion for apprenticeships and is always willing to assist with any apprenticeship requests.

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Kirsti Wells

Business Development Manager, CADCOE

Kirsti is a passionate ambassador for skills and innovation within UK Construction. With a specialism for business development in training and education, she plays an essential role in demystifying industry perceptions, both with businesses and our next generation of architects, engineers and digital designers.

 

The Construction and Design Centre of Excellence (Cadcoe) is a unique front-runner in the development of new digital talent for industry, through a ground-breaking apprenticeship initiative. With an increasing number of aspiring female engineers joining the Cadcoe programme, Kirsti is able to provide insight into how the company is making this a career choice that appeals to all, the importance of a diverse workforce for future survival and the need for a fresh approach in how we communicate our industry to the next generation.

 

Kirsti also has a passion for celebrating and promoting the ‘super powers’ of neurodiverse individuals, providing a personal account of, not only the challenges they face but also the amazing attributes they can bring to our developing digital world!

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Helena Baxter

Apprenticeship Lead, Walsall Council

Passionate about supporting Careers, Advice and Guidance around Apprenticeships, ensuring Schools get to hear how they are a fantastic way for young people to progress into the World of Work, learning new skills on the job whilst earning a wage. Apprenticeships are great for the economy helping employers like us tackle Skills Shortages and addressing an ageing workforce. Apprentices bring fresh new ideas to businesses up and down the country.

Walsall has a strategic plan to recruit new Apprentices but also train and up skill their existing staff through the Apprenticeship programme with a high number accessing the Higher and Degree Apprenticeships. They have nearly 400 Apprentices across the organisation ranging from Print and Design to Finance to Leadership and Management to HR and Recruitment.

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Nigel Morgan

Chief Executive, Herefordshire & Worcestershire Group Training Association

Nigel is Chief Executive at HWGTA, an Ofsted Outstanding provider of Apprenticeship training to over 200 employers and 600 apprentices across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.  Being an ex-Engineering Apprentice himself and having worked in a number of roles including Contracts Engineer, Project Manager and Operations Manager, Nigel has first-hand experience of the rewarding career a high quality apprenticeship can lead to.  Now, as Chief Executive of HWGTA, Nigel is responsible for ensuring the highest standards of training and achievement are maintained to provide the skills for the benefit of local people and employers.

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Phil Newton

Chairman and co-founder, PSE Offline Marketing

Phil is Chairman and co-founder of PSE Offline Marketing, with over 27 years’ experience of running a successful SME.  PSE Offline Marketing specialise in supporting B2C retailers acquire, retain and win-back lapsed customers using offline channels to improve the ROI they receive on their marketing investment.

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Marcin Klaczek

Organisational Development Coordinator, Lisi Group

Marcin brings over a decade of experience from his role at Lisi Aerospace, where he honed his skills in various processes and continuous improvement. As an in-house trainer, he offers expert guidance in project management, lean manufacturing, CoSHH, and abrasive wheel training. In this time of digital transformation, Marcin is dedicated to maximizing the potential of apprenticeships to close skills gaps and prepare for the future. He is a key player in elevating the company's reputation through prestigious awards and accreditations and is passionate about promoting outstanding apprenticeship programs across a diverse range of business areas.

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Jamie Holland

Apprenticeship Category Manger, City & Guilds

Jamie is the Apprenticeship Category Manager at City & Guilds responsible for policy and product related apprenticeship decision making. Since joining City & Guilds in 2015 he has worked across the apprenticeship reforms and has led across a variety of touchpoints in our apprenticeship service offer and now represents the organisation leading on the full Apprenticeship Category approach

 

Prior to joining City & Guilds he provided strategic leadership, and decision-making on all aspects of curriculum development, delivery, and quality improvement across FE/Provider apprenticeship provision for over 15 years. As an ex-apprentice he is passionate about the apprenticeship offer and one of the greatest things his role allows him to experience and see how enabling completing an apprenticeship can be for many individuals. We see so many transformational examples where apprentices have completed their apprenticeship and progressed to senior positions.

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Lee Cattermole

Learning and Development Manager, EPWIN

Lee's career in Learning and Development has now spanned 30 years within multiple sectors industry, training provider and sector bodies. After a successful first career in the RAF he has found a passion for developing staff at all levels. Apprenticeships have always been a key part of the focus on either an organisational development plan for the companies or supporting employers with their plans for the future. Creating value for the business through its people by enhancing their skills knowledge and competence is an essential part of what all companies need to embrace for the success of all.  

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Kirsty Hurley

University Apprenticeship Manager, University of Worcester

Kirsty is the Apprenticeship Manager within the central Office for Apprenticeships at the University of Worcester. Qualifying as a scientist – Kirsty had the excellent opportunity to work within organisations varying from West Midlands Police Force, the University of Worcester, and the NHS; conducting technical roles and varies lab science testing. She moved across into a learning and development role within the world of apprenticeships 3 years ago, experiencing tutor roles, employer engagement and programme management. As an ambassador of Apprenticeships, Kirsty promotes accessible opportunities for learners to study higher education qualifications, whilst developing skills for life and building successful career possibilities.

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Raj Babber

Director of Programmes & Apprenticeship Learning, Discovery

With over 20 years of experience in apprenticeship, learning, and leadership, Raj is deeply passionate about the transformative power of education. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to fostering a culture of continuous learning and development, supporting individuals in upskilling, and reskilling themselves for success in a rapidly evolving world. She has witnessed first-hand the profound impact that learning can have on individuals and organisations and is committed to empowering others to unlock their full potential. As an advocate for lifelong learning, she strives to create innovative and inclusive learning environments that inspire growth and drive positive change.

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Kate Taylor

Apprenticeship & Early Careers Manager, ABP UK

Kate is the Apprenticeship & Early Careers Manager for ABP UK; part of ABP Food Group, one of Europe’s leading consumer food producers, providing quality beef to thousands of customers worldwide. They’ve forged a reputation over sixty years for quality and innovation, supplying fresh and frozen meat and meat-free products to retailers, discounters and wholesale customers.

Since starting her career in food manufacturing in 2016, she has been involved with a wide variety of collaborative working groups and early careers initiatives such as being an Enterprise Advisor for the Career and Enterprise Company for 6 years, working closely with Youth Employment UK as well as a variety of local groups across Staffordshire but more recently across the UK and NI.

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Phil Carr

Learning and Development Manager, Gestamp

Phil has worked for Gestamp for the past 25 years.  He has a career background in Quality Engineering, Continuous Improvement, Lean Manufacturing and has been in his current L&D role for the past 19 years.  Phil has overseen the recruitment and development many young learners and works with schools and training providers to promote the importance STEM skills and the value they have in careers in the sector.

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Elle Walker

Area Employment Advisor, Sandwell Council

Having worked in in the employment and skills sector for 20 years, Elle has been working at Sandwell Council for 16 years of these, and where she now takes the lead on Apprenticeship recruitment.  Her core role is to assist local people in raising their aspirations and challenging their expectations, as she delivers both 1:1 and group sessions; helping people to identify their current skills and abilities in accessing suitable and sustainable apprenticeship pathways. 

 

By delivering a high-quality Information, Advice and Guidance Service, she supports the daily recruitment operations for Sandwell Council’s Apprenticeship Programme from end to end, and mentor’s apprentices and managers throughout the employment journey.

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Nick Turner

Responsible Business Partner, GMI Constuction

The Responsible Business Partner for GMI Construction Group’s Midlands region, overseeing and reporting on all things Social Value across each project. Focused on the delivery of the businesses KPI’s, with a focus on the impact to the local environment, community and economy.

 

Passionate about CSR, Nick is the champion for the Midlands partnered charity Property for Kids, and organises all works with community groups and volunteering days in the region.

 

Nick believes in the huge importance of employment and skills provision to the next generation, and believes apprenticeships are vital to the construction industry, engaging schools, colleges and students regularly.

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Suzanne Allen

Apprenticeship Lead, Senior Employment Manager, Sandwell Council

Suzanne has worked for Sandwell Council, Think Sandwell for more than 17 years supporting apprenticeships both within the local authority as well as across all sectors of the local economy, as part of the local economic growth strategy. 

 

Having started as an entry level apprentice at the age of 17, developing to management as a steelwork engineer, Suzanne has seen the benefit of apprenticeship training and the development offered via pathways now available in many sectors.  The belief that making a difference to residents in raising awareness of these routeways and opening opportunities is essential for the local economy. 

 

Sandwell Council offer apprenticeships Level 2-7 across many sectors within the planned workforce development. Think Sandwell also support local employers to maximising opportunities for upskilling and developing their workforce and accessing the Digital Apprenticeship Levy has become key to expanding the delivery of apprenticeship training.

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Lisa Robertson

Head of learning and Development, Citizen Housing

Lisa is the Head of Learning and Development for Citizen, a Housing Association based in the Midlands.  She is passionate about all things Learning and Development and Apprenticeships and the development of talent and promoting the benefits Apprenticeships can bring to the individual and organisation. 

 

Lisa is responsible for all learning at Citizen, the Apprenticeship programme and work experience placements.  She enjoys supporting the wide range of skills that working within a Housing Association brings, working with Apprentices in Finance, Customer Service, Administration and Trade Areas.  She is particularly interested in supporting diversity into non-traditional roles.

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Sarah Horne

Apprenticeship Advisor, The Binding Site

Sarah is the apprenticeship advisor at The Binding Site in Birmingham; A specialist protein company that manufactures diagnostic kits which detect diseases such as multiple myeloma.  Sarah has worked at The Binding Site for six years in various customer-based roles. Her passion for helping people led her to Learning and Development where she was recently given the opportunity to take on the first apprenticeship advisor role The Binding Site have offered. She is very new to the world of apprentices but is looking forward to connecting with likeminded individuals and learning about this inspirational pathway of development. 

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Harpreet Kalm

Regional HR Manager, Inviron

Harpreet is a Regional HR Manager at Inviron; a Facilities Management company which is owed by EDF Energy/Dalkia. Since joining the business over two years ago, she had taken a lead on the business Apprenticeship scheme. She supports the career options for apprentices within the industry from engineers to project management and contract support. She drives and continuously develops the organisation apprentice offering year on year.   

Additional to her main role she also supports the company’s Social Value & Responsibility activities as well as charity events and a Mental Health first aider.   

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Adele Cooke

Apprentice Lead, Stoke & Staffs Integrated Care System

Adele is the apprentice lead for Staffordshire within the Integrated Care System. She took this new opportunity due her passion of the future workforce, specifically within the NHS.  She is working hard to encourage new people into the system via apprenticeships to learn along the way leaving them with endless opportunities for the future progression. Alongside this she is actively researching new areas for apprenticeship opportunities within the care sector to strengthen our workforce for the future.

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Fiona McGarry

Engagement Manager, Make UK Apprentice and Skills

Fiona has worked in the Manufacturing and Engineering sector for over sixteen years, previously managing the school’s engagement programme at Jaguar Land Rover for 12 years and has been at Make UK for over five years.

 

Her passion is increasing diversity within STEM and developing programmes and activities to attract more young people to the sector and the apprenticeship route. At Make UK they host schools’ visits from primary through to secondary hoping to inspire more young people to consider Manufacturing and Apprenticeships. Last year they launched the Engineering Apprenticeship Kitemark to encourage companies to follow a Best Practice Model within their Engineering Apprenticeship Schemes.

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Mark Combes

Non Executive Director - Severn Partnership Ltd. Part of The Munnelly Group PLC

Mark has been in Geospatial Survey for 34 years linked to construction & civil engineering. Includes survey exploration in oil and science research in the diverse environments of Papua New Guinea and experiencing life in the freezer, Antarctica.

A Shropshire Lad, always keen to develop the next generation of Surveyors. A member of the RICS & CICES and former President of The Survey Association, played a lead role in a Trial Blazer Steering Group to produce the Geospatial Survey Apprenticeships Levels 3 & 6; delivered by Dudley College & the University of East London.

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Paul Heppell

Skills & Qualifications Manager, Poundland

Having worked in the Training Sector for the last 14 years supporting large Levy paying organisations to develop and shape their Apprenticeship Strategy across multiple Sectors, Paul thought it was time to hop over the fence and take up an amazing opportunity to manage Poundland’s Apprenticeship provision. He is excited to be part of the WMAAN and looking forward to supporting the network.

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Helen Meeson

Human Resources Manager, Wieland Metals Birmingham

Helen has over 20 years’ experience of manufacturing, having worked in both Production and HR Management. For most of those years she has held a leading role of recruiting and mentoring apprentices within the organisation. It is important to Helen to ensure that the apprentices are skilled in the relevant departments required to face future business challenges and successive retention initiatives to help mitigate recruitment difficulties. To ensure every apprentice has a tailored support package to be the best they can be.

Helen is committed to ensure best use of the levy to achieve business goals and dedicated to ensure a rewarding apprenticeship experience equipped with knowledge and skills for the future. She understands that it is imperative to continue communicating that apprenticeships are an equal option to university and with many more benefits. The right apprenticeship means gaining experience whilst working towards a recognised qualification and also earning a wage with no student loans which is an excellent and worthwhile route for everyone to consider.

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Johnathan Foot

Head of Apprenticeships & Early Careers, Compass Group UK&I

Johnathan is an accomplished thought leader with distinguished experience optimising people, processes, and systems to positively impact bottom line performance specialising in learning, pre-employability, and apprenticeship programmes across commercial and public sector organisations. 

At Compass Group Johnathan currently heads up the apprenticeships and early career development programmes, holding full accountability for the UK and Ireland Apprenticeship Levy. He engages with the board of directors and senior leadership teams, providing recommendations regarding organisational design and change management initiatives to improve professional development and career opportunities. Johnathan also has responsibility for establishing and aligning structure, implementing systems and processes, while providing leadership to drive growth, innovation, and continuous improvements.

 

Additional to his main role he also Co-Chairs the LGBTQ+ & Allies Committee known as 'Pride in Food'

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Jessica Potter

Branch Manager, Keyline Civils Specialists

Jessica is a Branch Manager at Keyline Civils Specialists. She started her career in the building sector by applying for a Management Apprenticeship role, where she has progressed quickly in her career within the Travis Perkins Group. She is an active ambassador for the Diversity and Inclusion network at Keyline and is a member of the Travis Perkins D&I board. As well as this, Jessica is also part of the Travis Perkins Youth Network because she feels so passionate about supporting more young people into the construction industry, 

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Jennifer Fairey

Head of Academy, Aspens Services Ltd

Jennifer has worked within the education sector for over 20 years. She is a successful learning and development lead with a recognised track record in the design and implementation of apprenticeship programmes across sectors. Jennifer is part of the IfATE trailblazer group for Catering & Hospitality.

Jennifer leads the professional development and skills provision across Aspens Services and other businesses. She is passionate about creating a structured culture of engaging, continuous professional development for all colleagues that is ambitious, fun, and rewarding.

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Sinead Mullarky

Schemes Portfolio Manager, BBC

Sinead has worked in the learning and skills arena for over fifteen years and is passionate about people development and creating opportunities for all.  Through her career to date, she has led on policy development for skills, implemented talent strategies and driven workforce planning. 

At the BBC, we believe in our people and recognise the need to invest in our staff and are dedicated about offering apprenticeships, that is why we have committed to taking on 1000 new apprentices by 2026 and believe it’s a perfect way to drive diversity.  We are very proud of our apprenticeship programmes as they offer such an innovative solution and industry leading experience to achieve success. 

Sinead heads up the BBC apprentice Hub, which is based in the West Midlands offering flexible apprenticeship opportunities to the creative industry and forms part of the BBC’s Across the UK Strategy. 

Her role as an Ambassador for apprenticeships is very important, as we need to heighten awareness and strive to shape quality programmes that create opportunities for learning at all ages.

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Catherine Armstrong

Vice Principal, Curriculum Support & Business Development, Shrewsbury Colleges Group

Catherine has worked in Further Education for over 30 years delivering vocational training and leading a wide range of vocational courses to both full time, adults, Apprenticeships and Higher Education. Being responsible for marketing and admissions activity at Shrewsbury Colleges Group, as well as leading on careers and enrichment activities, enables the passion for helping people develop wider skills and experiences and discover future careers choices.

 

Catherine is an Enterprise Advisor working with a local 11-16 school and represents the college at local business network events actively promoting apprenticeships as a valuable pathway for young people and employers.

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Jo Griffiths

People Development Manager, Crimson

Jo has worked in the education sector for over 20 years with the majority of that time spent focussed on the development and management of apprenticeship programmes. Having worked for a wide range of both local and national training providers she has focussed equally on the use of apprenticeships programmes to develop existing employees and also the recruitment of new hires into client businesses.

 

She has recently crossed over the fence to join a Birmingham based company in the IT sector to support and develop their apprenticeship programmes and learning and development across the business. Passionate about this form of delivery she has recently signed up to an apprenticeship programme herself to support and develop her own career.

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Sheri Moule

Trust Apprenticeship Officer

Sheri has worked in the NHS in Worcestershire for over 20 years, starting her career as a Business Admin Apprentice within a Training and Development Team.  

Sheri is passionate about the benefits of apprenticeships, with her current role, as Apprenticeship Officer, giving her a unique insight into the employer’s perspective as well as that of the apprentice.   The learning culture within the NHS provides staff with opportunities to continually develop their career options within the organisation, through apprenticeship opportunities staff are equipped with skills and experience which are transferable to different departments. 

Sheri supports internal and external activities in relation to the Trust's Apprenticeships, engaging with staffing groups, schools and career events promoting Apprenticeships within the NHS. 

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Ashley Kimberley

Senior HR Advisor

Ashley started her career at Paddock Fabrications as a Business Administration Apprentice. ASSA ABLOY acquired Paddock Fabrication in 2010 so has over 16 years length of service. Ashley is now a Senior HR Advisor. 

Ashely has gained a wide range of experience and developed great relationships. She has been involved in some great projects, such as Long Service Events, celebrating long serving employees, and supporting Early Talent - Apprentices, seeing their success stories and recently celebrated “National Careers Week.”

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Katy Chesters

Employer Partnerships Manager, Staffordshire University

Katy has a wealth of knowledge and experience of working within the Apprenticeship arena. She has a proven track record of supporting employers to utilise Apprenticeships to develop and diversify their workforce.  Katy and her team work with employers nationally to develop the Universities Apprenticeship offer and to ensure that the University leads the way in developing new standards to match the ever-changing needs of employers.  Katy is committed to promoting the value of Apprenticeships to both employers and potential learners across the City.

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Penny Johnson

Early Careers Manager, Housing Plus Group

Penny is driven by attracting, retaining and developing talent for organisational success. She is experienced in HR & Learning and Development across a range of disciplines. Key achievements include being shortlisted for the HR Excellence Awards for Best HR Team, Best Recruitment Strategy and being 2nd in the Times Top 100 Companies to work for in 2018. She is now channelling her passion for talent on Early Careers. She manages the HPG apprenticeship and graduate schemes and makes a positive difference through the Early Careers agenda within the communities that HPG serves.

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Nikki Clay

Senior Learning & Development Partner, Sanctuary

Nikki’s career has focused on qualifications and apprenticeships, starting her journey as an Assessor, IQA and then moving into the Apprenticeship Team to lead on Sanctuary’s apprenticeship programme.  Nikki maintains contacts with Training Providers, Colleges and Universities and supports apprentices and managers to ensure they have a valuable and rewarding apprenticeship experience. 

 

Nikki facilitates opportunities for Sanctuary’s Apprentice Ambassadors to promote apprenticeships at school and career events.  Nikki is also passionate about promoting apprenticeships to permanent employees within the business, to help build and grow Sanctuary’s programme further.

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Lisa Massey

Apprenticeship & Early Careers Manager, 2 Sisters Food Group

Lisa has 7 years experience in the early careers field, having launched and managed programmes in her previous role in the construction sector which were highly success and shortlisted for numerous awards. At 2 Sisters Food Group Lisa is a key member of the divisional L&D Team and is responsible for upskilling apprenticeships, utilizing the levy and their Engineering Apprenticeship and Finance Graduate schemes.

Lisa also has a strong background in Human Resources having held senior positions in various sectors including automotive, oil & gas, distribution, manufacturing and retail.

CIPD full qualified holding Chartered status, Lisa is also a qualified coach and workplace mediator.

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Tina Lockley

Apprenticeship Contract Manager

Tina has worked for Juniper Training for over 18 years. She set up the apprenticeship programme for Juniper in 2017, the programme now consists of over 500 apprentices with staffing to accommodate this. Delivery ranges from Education and Training, Business and administration, Health Public Services and Care, Retail and Commercial Enterprise and also Construction. Tina is proud to be part of WMAAN

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Mark Toole Jnr

Head of Training Development, Telent

Mark has ownership of the learning strategy across two business units within telent, whereby apprenticeships are at the heart of this. Managing several apprenticeship programmes for many years now Mark has seen the huge benefits and impact the apprentices have on the workplace and team. Mark also volunteers as a peer mentor for ‘One Million Mentor’s’ and supports his local school as a governor.

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Gill Price

Social Value Co-ordinator, Wrekin Housing Trust

Gill has worked with a number of organisations within Learning & Development, HR as well as delivering employability programmes and work-based opportunities in communities for over 30 years. Passionate about organisational, personal and professional development and committed to creating opportunities to build confidence, develop skills, grow talent and enable progression. Apprenticeships are just one way to do this, with employer and apprentice both reaping the rewards and achieving their ambitions. She is excited about promoting apprenticeships along with other like-minded members of WMAAN.

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Rhoda Lee

Group Apprenticeship Relationship Manager, Halfords

Rhoda is responsible for managing all the Apprenticeship programmes for the Halfords Group. Halfords offer apprenticeships across Retail, Auto Centres, Head Office and their Distribution Centres. Rhoda joined Halfords in April 2020, after previously working for Aldi where she was responsible for their Apprenticeship programmes where at one point they had over 1000 apprentices.  Rhoda was part of the North West Ambassador Network whilst working for Aldi.

Rhoda has worked in Apprenticeships for just over 7 years and has a background in retail, recruitment, sales and welfare to work.

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Chloe Wade

Talent for Care Coordinator, George Eliot Hospital

Once an Apprenticeship herself, Chloe is responsible for the coordination of Apprenticeships and ‘Talent for Care’ Activity for George Eliot NHS Trust. It is Chloe’s 5th year of working with Apprenticeships and she is very passionate about sharing her experience of completing an Apprenticeship as well as working with them.

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Kelly Hemus

Early Years Specialist, Canal and River Trust

Kelly has worked within the apprenticeship sector for the majority of her career and is passionate about the difference training and development can make to individuals and business alike. Having started as an apprentice herself, she likes to champion apprenticeships as the best way to start a career. Kelly has been with the Canal & River Trust since September 2021 and has overall responsibility for the early careers strategy, she has big ambitions to create future business leaders from the Trust’s successful early careers programmes.

Kelly is eager for the Trust to become a desired company for people to start their career or change career path and is keen to find new ways to inspire the next generation of employees to become part of the Canal & River Trust.

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Sharon Carrington

Apprentices and Graduate Lead, Bromford

Sharon has spent over 15 years working in Learning & Development and has a real passion for apprenticeships and the wealth of opportunity they bring to both individuals and employers.  Sharon is excited to have joined Bromford as the Apprenticeship Graduate Lead enhancing the good work already done in Bromford for apprenticeships. 

Sharon is passionate about apprenticeships and committed to ensuring that the apprentices and leaders are supported throughout the duration of the learning and beyond to continue to develop Bromford to be future ready.

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Dee Kumari

Apprenticeship, Volunteer, Placement Co-ordinator, Greensquare Accord

Dee is an advocate for all things apprenticeships, volunteering and work placement, with over 6 years of experience working in employability, skills and HR/L&D, working across many sectors over the years.

 

Responsible, for the design, delivery, and management of the apprenticeships, volunteering and work placements initiatives in Green Square Accord.  Having a proven track record to grow and develop a future workforce that has the right capabilities to thrive in the world of Housing, Construction and Care in the future.

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Jack Taylor

Careers Hub and Digital Assistant, South Warwickshire NHS Trust

As part of the Careers Hub, Jack’s role is to connect surrounding healthcare organisations and expose people to the amazing careers within the Health and Care sector. Members of the Hub include organisations across Coventry & Warwickshire who want to encourage and advise people on how to start their career journey into healthcare. The aim is to provide the local community with options that are available and accessible to them.

 

There are over 350 different job roles across the healthcare sector. Departments include Finance, Human Resources, Clinical Support Work, Estates, Nursing, Learning and Development and many more… Whatever field you are considering in healthcare this could lead you into a career for life with one of our organisations. 

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Kim Holmes

Apprenticeship Scheme Manager, Network Rail

Kim has worked within Learning and Development for over 10 years during which time becoming an associate CIPD, with the last 3 years focusing on apprenticeships. Previously she worked for Virgin Trains achieving great results as an employer provider; managing and teaching apprenticeships resulting in a good OFSTED review.

Kim joined Network Rail this year to ensure her career and passion for apprenticeships carried on, where she is currently scheme manager for the higher level engineering apprenticeship schemes.

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Max Jones

People Development Manager,  Yamazaki Mazak UK Ltd

Max’s role, as People Development Manager, involves the training and development of Mazak employees to fulfil their potential. It also involves encouraging people to consider apprenticeships and supporting them once they have joined the company. The role involves going into schools to promote apprenticeships as well as arranging for schools to visit Mazak for team challenges and factory tours. Mazak also have an award winning work experience scheme in partnership with the EDT called Industrial Cadets which has been a great success.

 

Max is an ex-apprentice himself and greatly values the opportunities his apprenticeship has given him. Max has held several Director level roles in previous organisations and this demonstrates the potential opportunities that apprenticeships can give to those that are willing to work hard. He joined Mazak in 2014 and has held numerous senior positions within the company. Max can, as a result, see how apprentices can add significant value to Mazak and how the company can offer a broad range of exciting career prospects to those involved. Mazak is very proud of its award winning apprenticeship scheme.

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Charlotte Swain

Deputy Director of Delivery, MTC Training

Charlotte manages the delivery of Apprenticeships and Commercial Training at the MTC’s two training centres, the Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC) in Coventry and Oxfordshire Advanced Skills (OAS) in Oxford.

MTC Training is the skills arm of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), which is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a catalyst for the future growth and success of UK advanced manufacturing. We develop, maintain and build upon the vital skills required by manufacturing apprentices, graduates, technicians, engineers and managers to deliver the technologies that keep the Great British manufacturing industry globally competitive. The sector is ever-evolving and our experts work closely with the latest developments to deliver up-to-date, practical training, ensuring that our customers and their staff are equipped with the skills that they need both now and in the future.

Charlotte joined MTC Training in January 2021. She has worked in the education sector for 17 years, including 3 years as Vice Principal at a large Further Education College.

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Michelle Roberts

Digital Transport Apprenticeship Manager, Transport for West Midlands

Michele has worked in the education and skills sector for most of her career.   She is a passionate supporter for Apprenticeships and worked in the National Apprenticeship Service and Skills Funding Agency where she led on policy development in relation to SME incentives, higher apprenticeships and wider employer engagement activity. 

 

Her last five years have been spent setting up and delivering Higher and Degree Apprenticeships at the University of Wolverhampton’s Apprenticeship Hub.  She is now at Transport for West Midlands leading on the roll out of the Transport Infrastructure Skills Academy which will help share and create opportunities in the digital transport sector.

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Matthew Smallwood

Training Manager, Doosan

Matt was formerly the managing director of a small engineering company and a member of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), before moving into secondary education. He then spent 15 years in state secondary schools setting up engineering courses ranging from GCSE/A level, Diplomas, BTECs and NVQ’s and teaching GCSE Mathematics.

 

He was instrumental in engaging with local and national engineering companies linking them with engineering curricula activities and was part of the Wolverhampton Skills and Employment Board. He moved into apprenticeships as a Centre Manager for Marches Centre of Manufacturing Technology before becoming the Training Manager for Doosan Babcock.

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Jo Timms

Head of Apprenticeships, South Staffordshire College

For many years Jo has championed the way for apprenticeships having been an apprentice herself straight from school to teaching the subject she is so passionate about in Beauty Therapy. Her career has been focused on shaping the future for people of all ages through education and skills training worldwide. Jo has worked in FE Colleges for 20 years in different regions of England including Kent, Birmingham, London and Staffordshire and recognises the needs locally and nationally to support the skills gaps and evolving technologies that change and diversify the labour market.

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Jeff Baker

Employer Engagement Lead

Jeff has a wealth of knowledge within the apprenticeship sector. As an employerengagement lead with a national training provider, Jeff’s responsibility is to engage with large levy paying companies and advising them on the best way to utilise their levy fund. He also visits local school assemblies to talk about ‘what is an apprenticeship’. Jeff has worked on major projects which included Birmingham New Street Station (renamed Grand Central) helping to advise over 200 contractors on apprenticeships and construction training and Birmingham Airport run way extension.

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Jenny Docherty

Learning & Development Partner, Housing 21

Jenny has worked within Learning & Development at Housing 21 for the last 12 years, Jenny’s role is to promote apprenticeship opportunities to existing staff to support development and to identify where the organisation can recruit apprentices.  Joining the Ambassador network has been a fantastic opportunity to work with other organisations who share the same passion for apprenticeships and what they can do for organisations.

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Daniel Degg

Head of Employer Engagement & Business Development, City of Wolverhampton College

Daniel is driven by providing an excellent service to support employers with addressing their skills gaps. In his current role he leads the employer engagement team at the City of Wolverhampton College responsible for apprenticeship recruitment and other work-based learning solutions to help broaden the opportunities for our young people and the regional workforce.

 

Daniel has extensive experience promoting and delivering apprenticeships from level 2-7 at colleges and universities within the region. In 2020/21 he also launched and developed the GBSLEP Skills & Apprenticeship Hub which offered Plan for Jobs support to over 500 employers in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Kate Whatley

Commercial Director, SPV-UK

Kate has been the Commercial Director at SPV Group for 15 years where she is set to take over as MD in 2021. She is a strong business development professional with a BA focused in Business Management from The University of Sheffield.

Among her accolades, she is a Construction Role Model 2019 and 2020, CITB Roofing Ambassador, set up The Building Futures Pathway course in conjunction with Juniper Training, a Fellow of the Institute of Roofing as well as the Midlands Regional Chair of The Institute of Roofing and Co-opted Board Member of the Institute of Roofing.

Kate is passionate about encouraging diversity within the sector and is determined to make a real difference in inspiring, fostering and developing future generations to enter the construction industry. She has supported over 25 new apprentices enter and develop with SPV Group over the last 15 years.

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Maxine Burns

Apprenticeship & Work Experience Manager, George Elliot Hospital

Maxine has worked in the Apprenticeship Sector for almost 20 years. She has managed an Apprenticeship Academy for British Gas, delivered Apprenticeships for Vodafone, led a team of Senior Business Managers who were collectively responsible for the delivery of £1.5 million ESFA Apprenticeship contract, and most recently Apprenticeship and Work Experience Manager for the GEH NHS Trust.

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Kerry Davies

Apprenticeship Co-ordinator, Worcestershire Apprenticeships

Kerry has 20 years’ experience in the work-based learning industry, after moving on from her hotel-based career in February 2000. She has worked with two national training providers specialising in the delivery of apprenticeship training across various sectors, the main one being Hospitality to reflect her own industry background. She has worked in various roles including the delivery of training, assessment of learners, quality assurance and managing teams of trainers. This has provided her with a wealth of knowledge on apprenticeships and the funding requirements that go with Government led training. She moved into an IAG role in February 2018 joining Worcestershire Apprenticeships, where she can continue using her experience to support others with apprenticeships.

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Kate MacDonald

Graduate & Apprenticeship Manager, Shropshire County Council

Kate has worked for Shropshire Council for 9 years in various roles having started on the Graduate Programme in 2011;  since then she has been passionate about training and development where she has been creating opportunities for others to gain the skills and knowledge they need to develop in their role.

 

Having started in her role as Graduate/Apprenticeship Manager in 2018, Kate has developed a passion for apprenticeships and champions these across Shropshire Council.  She is keen to develop the offer further and continually strives for improvement and development.  Kate’s role requires her to drive the programme forward and be responsible for the continual growth of the internal apprenticeship offer for local authority’s staff and schools.

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Steve Barker

Director, SkillsPlan Ltd

Steve has over 25 years’ leadership, sales and marketing experience in the education and skills sector having previously worked for some of the UK’s leading awarding bodies and apprenticeship providers. 

 

His career started leading sales and marketing teams in international education before moving onto work with Cambridge Assessment, Pearson’s, Raytheon, Wolters Kluwer, People Plus and Seetec. He has worked in Logistics, Automotive, Legal, Retail, Care and Manufacturing and has a long history of supporting the UKs largest levy paying employers supporting them with Apprenticeships solutions.

 

Steve has a passion for the development of new ideas, methodologies and products to enhance the delivery of training solutions that meet the needs of learners and employers that are both engaging and innovative. 

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Sarah Green

Apprenticeships Programme Lead

Sarah is a highly experienced learning and development professional with over 15 years’ experience in apprenticeships. She was an apprentice herself after leaving school where she found out first-hand what it is like to be a learner and the benefits of an apprenticeship. Sarah  is keen to learn and has recently started the Learning & Development Consultant Partner Apprenticeship alongside successfully leading the apprenticeship team at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital and being a chair of the Learning and Disability steering group.

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Kate Taylor

Employer Brand  & Engagement Co-ordinator, Ornua Foods

Based at their state-of-the-art cheese packaging facility in Leek, Ornua Foods has been working closely with a number of local, regional and national apprenticeship providers to ensure that they are welcoming in new, fresh talents to the business, but also to showcase the variety of benefits to their current workforce. They employ over 650 people within the Stoke and Staffordshire Moorland district and within Kate’s role she works closely with all employees, as well as the local high schools and colleges to help Ornua on its journey to be an Employer of Choice with the area.

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Edwina McQueen

Founder & Director, McQueen Education & Training Consultancy

Edwina is passionate about Apprenticeships & workplace learning having developed her own career path through the vocational route. She has been helping blue-chip companies design and implement their apprenticeship programmes for over 18 years where she has seen firsthand the opportunities apprenticeships bring both for the individual and the employer.

 

Edwina continues to work with both large and small employers as an independent Apprenticeship adviser/ coach, regularly giving Apprenticeship talks to Schools in her role as a Careers Enterprise Adviser. She is delighted to continue this work as an Apprenticeship Ambassador for the West Midlands.  

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Heather Morris

Placement Lead, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

Heather started her career within the NHS as a student nurse, from which she became a registered nurse working clinically and supporting learners in their journey.  She moved into training and development 15 years ago and has supported a large number of apprentices with their careers as an assessor/mentor and tutor. Currently Heather's role includes working closely with the managers, apprentices and departments in the Trust giving them support when employing and supporting apprenticeships, she liaises with external providers ensuring that the needs of the apprentice and the service is met.  The progression and support of apprentices continues to be her motivation.

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Ross McPherson

Learning and Development Consultant - Knowledge and Capability,  Shell Energy

So this is me, I'm late to the professional party after spending the majority of my working life as a contracting Licensed Retail manager and only joining the world of office life just under 6 years ago. Since then I have moved from Operational Management into the land of L&D and as a previous apprentice I am loving the ability my new role provides me with - enhancing our talent pools, developing our teams and creating a happier workplace. I'm excited to see what changes, challenges and rewards I can encounter in the future!

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SAIMA YAQUB

Talent Development Manager, Midland Heart

Saima is responsible for delivering apprenticeship programmes with a difference. She strives to make managers think of apprentices as an integral part of the team; someone who contributes to the team and organisational success by bringing their own unique talents and personality to the table to prepare Midland Heart for the future.

 

Saima is the Co-Chair of the West Midlands Region.

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Amy Barber

Early Careers Manager, Meggitt

Amy has over 16 years working within early careers, specialising in apprenticeships, she is passionate about developing future talent through apprenticeship programmes to build business resilience and ensure that all young people have the equal opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Having recently joined MEGGITT, her remit is to develop and grow the global early careers programmes, to ensure that the next generation of technical experts are being developed along with building engaged and empowered teams. Prior to her current role Amy has spent the last 5 years growing an award-winning apprenticeship programme at a regional utilities company. She has chaired the development of new apprenticeship standards for the industry and led in the organisation achieving employer provider status.

Amy sees apprenticeships as being a vital pathway for young people into future careers and the key to building the local economy.

Amy is the Co-Chair of the West Midlands Region.

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Chris Morris

Learning and Development Manager, IAE

Chris is a successful L&D & HR Professional with a proven track record in the development and management of Apprenticeship Programmes. Having spent 26 years within the Engineering and Manufacturing sector, he has a wealth of experience and knowledge within Engineering, Manufacturing, Production, Logistics, Health & Safety and Business Management.

Chris is responsible for Learning & Development at IAE and has the focus of ensuring every apprentice receives the correct training & development to maximise their potential and to meet the needs of the business. He has developed apprenticeship standards with other organisations through trailblazer groups. Working with training providers in the development of programmes for current employees also ensures IAE is continually evolving and at the forefront of development, which is crucial in minimising the impact of the skills gap.

 

Chris is the chair of the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire sub-regional group.

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Rose Rees

Head of Engagement & Skills, Midland Metro Alliance

Rose is Head of Engagement & Skills at Midland Metro Alliance. She and her team support stakeholders along the routes to minimise disruption to businesses and residents. She also works with local training providers, job centres and youth organisations to promote the Midland Metro Alliance's vision of leaving a legacy of sustainable employment for local people. Her drive is to encourage young people to consider careers in rail, civils and construction sectors. She was instrumental in creating a Trailblazer in Light Rail (which developed into the Tramway Construction Operative Apprenticeship at Level 2) and was determined to offer an entry level “no prior qualifications required” offender friendly apprenticeship to give people that first step on the career ladder.

Rose is the chair of the Black Country sub-regional group.

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Paul Fellows

Apprenticeship Development Lead, Marston's

Paul has worked within the hospitality sector for over twenty-five years and food has been a life-long passion, from joining Marston’s as a second chef, quickly progressing to head chef and then ten years as a chef trainer for the 180-year-old brewing, pub and hotel business! 
With the apprenticeship reforms and the introduction of new standards, apprenticeships now form a critical part of Marston’s early talent strategy. Paul’s priorities are to raise awareness of the apprenticeship opportunities available in hospitality and how chef careers are happening every day! 

Paul is the vice chair of the Black Country sub-regional group

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Clare Keegan

Business Development Manager, Harper Adams University

Clare leads the apprenticeship team at Harper Adams University and supports business across the UK to design and develop skills programmes to meet employees’ needs. 2021 will be the fourth year of apprenticeship delivery at the University, recently named Best UK University (Student Crowd awards 2021).

 

New programmes are created each year, across specialist sectors in Agriculture, Engineering, Food & Drink, Rural Surveying and Environmental Sustainability. This year sees the launch of Veterinary Technician, working with the trailblazer to support growth. Apprenticeships are part of a Knowledge Exchange strategy to meet the future requirements of the Agri-Food supply chain in the future.

Clare is the chair of The Marches sub-regional group.

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Craig Watson

Managing Director, Blackwatch Associates

Craig runs his own management consultancy supporting businesses across all sectors and has worked within the Education & Skills sector for 20 years where he held senior positions with both Colleges and National Training providers with responsibility for External Funding, Partnerships, Business Development, JCP Contracts/ Employability, Work Based Learning, Business Implementation and managing successful delivery of Apprenticeship programmes.

 

He has a passion for Apprenticeships and Training having gained all his qualifications vocationally. As part of the West Midlands AAN he supports the region by linking with the ESFA, aligning activities to meet the Business Plan objectives and develops relationships with local LEPs/ careers hubs  & sector bodies to promote interaction across the region.

 

Craig worked on the National AAN refresh with the Employer & Strategic Networks team within NAS where he supported the 9 Regional networks.

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Anita Davenport-Brooks

Group HR Manager, Lander Group

Anita has worked in Human Resources for over 20 years, the majority of her career being within manufacturing/automotive industries. She is a member of the Manufacturing Engineering Industrial Advisory Board, developing and reviewing with the group, manufacturing engineering courses and degree apprenticeships in manufacturing and robotics. She is a member of WMAAN and a member of the GBSLEP Apprenticeship Hub. Anita supports external activities, engaging with schools and career events promoting manufacturing/engineering. Anita is driving the vocational qualification levels at Lander, with employee development at the forefront of business practice.  There are 270 employees at Lander including over 100 apprentices.

 

Anita is the ex Chair of the West Midlands Region.

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JENNY JOHNSTON

Training & Development Manager, KMF Group Ltd

Working at KMF for over 17 years, Jenny is the Training & Development Manager where she is responsible for the training, development and recruitment strategy, including their award-winning young & adult apprenticeship schemes. Recognised as a Women of the Year finalist, Jenny is recognised for her contribution to apprenticeships and encouraging females into engineering & STEM subjects.

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Kirsti Wells

Business Development Manager, CADCOE

Kirsti is a passionate ambassador for skills and innovation within UK Construction. With a specialism for business development in training and education, she plays an essential role in demystifying industry perceptions, both with businesses and our next generation of architects, engineers and digital designers.

 

The Construction and Design Centre of Excellence (Cadcoe) is a unique front-runner in the development of new digital talent for industry, through a ground-breaking apprenticeship initiative. With an increasing number of aspiring female engineers joining the Cadcoe programme, Kirsti is able to provide insight into how the company is making this a career choice that appeals to all, the importance of a diverse workforce for future survival and the need for a fresh approach in how we communicate our industry to the next generation.

 

Kirsti also has a passion for celebrating and promoting the ‘super powers’ of neurodiverse individuals, providing a personal account of, not only the challenges they face but also the amazing attributes they can bring to our developing digital world!

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Helena Baxter

Apprenticeship Lead, Walsall Council

Passionate about supporting Careers, Advice and Guidance around Apprenticeships, ensuring Schools get to hear how they are a fantastic way for young people to progress into the World of Work, learning new skills on the job whilst earning a wage. Apprenticeships are great for the economy helping employers like us tackle Skills Shortages and addressing an ageing workforce. Apprentices bring fresh new ideas to businesses up and down the country.

Walsall has a strategic plan to recruit new Apprentices but also train and up skill their existing staff through the Apprenticeship programme with a high number accessing the Higher and Degree Apprenticeships. They have nearly 400 Apprentices across the organisation ranging from Print and Design to Finance to Leadership and Management to HR and Recruitment.

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Nigel Morgan

Chief Executive, Herefordshire & Worcestershire Group Training Association

Nigel is Chief Executive at HWGTA, an Ofsted Outstanding provider of Apprenticeship training to over 200 employers and 600 apprentices across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.  Being an ex-Engineering Apprentice himself and having worked in a number of roles including Contracts Engineer, Project Manager and Operations Manager, Nigel has first-hand experience of the rewarding career a high quality apprenticeship can lead to.  Now, as Chief Executive of HWGTA, Nigel is responsible for ensuring the highest standards of training and achievement are maintained to provide the skills for the benefit of local people and employers.

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Phil Newton

Chairman and co-founder, PSE Offline Marketing

Phil is Chairman and co-founder of PSE Offline Marketing, with over 27 years’ experience of running a successful SME.  PSE Offline Marketing specialise in supporting B2C retailers acquire, retain and win-back lapsed customers using offline channels to improve the ROI they receive on their marketing investment.

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Marcin Klaczek

Organisational Development Coordinator, Lisi Group

Marcin brings over a decade of experience from his role at Lisi Aerospace, where he honed his skills in various processes and continuous improvement. As an in-house trainer, he offers expert guidance in project management, lean manufacturing, CoSHH, and abrasive wheel training. In this time of digital transformation, Marcin is dedicated to maximizing the potential of apprenticeships to close skills gaps and prepare for the future. He is a key player in elevating the company's reputation through prestigious awards and accreditations and is passionate about promoting outstanding apprenticeship programs across a diverse range of business areas.

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Jamie Holland

Apprenticeship Category Manger, City & Guilds

Jamie is the Apprenticeship Category Manager at City & Guilds responsible for policy and product related apprenticeship decision making. Since joining City & Guilds in 2015 he has worked across the apprenticeship reforms and has led across a variety of touchpoints in our apprenticeship service offer and now represents the organisation leading on the full Apprenticeship Category approach

 

Prior to joining City & Guilds he provided strategic leadership, and decision-making on all aspects of curriculum development, delivery, and quality improvement across FE/Provider apprenticeship provision for over 15 years. As an ex-apprentice he is passionate about the apprenticeship offer and one of the greatest things his role allows him to experience and see how enabling completing an apprenticeship can be for many individuals. We see so many transformational examples where apprentices have completed their apprenticeship and progressed to senior positions.

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Lee Cattermole

Learning and Development Manager, EPWIN

Lee's career in Learning and Development has now spanned 30 years within multiple sectors industry, training provider and sector bodies. After a successful first career in the RAF he has found a passion for developing staff at all levels. Apprenticeships have always been a key part of the focus on either an organisational development plan for the companies or supporting employers with their plans for the future. Creating value for the business through its people by enhancing their skills knowledge and competence is an essential part of what all companies need to embrace for the success of all.  

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Kirsty Hurley

University Apprenticeship Manager, University of Worcester

Kirsty is the Apprenticeship Manager within the central Office for Apprenticeships at the University of Worcester. Qualifying as a scientist – Kirsty had the excellent opportunity to work within organisations varying from West Midlands Police Force, the University of Worcester, and the NHS; conducting technical roles and varies lab science testing. She moved across into a learning and development role within the world of apprenticeships 3 years ago, experiencing tutor roles, employer engagement and programme management. As an ambassador of Apprenticeships, Kirsty promotes accessible opportunities for learners to study higher education qualifications, whilst developing skills for life and building successful career possibilities.

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Raj Babber

Director of Programmes & Apprenticeship Learning, Discovery

With over 20 years of experience in apprenticeship, learning, and leadership, Raj is deeply passionate about the transformative power of education. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to fostering a culture of continuous learning and development, supporting individuals in upskilling, and reskilling themselves for success in a rapidly evolving world. She has witnessed first-hand the profound impact that learning can have on individuals and organisations and is committed to empowering others to unlock their full potential. As an advocate for lifelong learning, she strives to create innovative and inclusive learning environments that inspire growth and drive positive change.

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Kate Taylor

Apprenticeship & Early Careers Manager, ABP UK

Kate is the Apprenticeship & Early Careers Manager for ABP UK; part of ABP Food Group, one of Europe’s leading consumer food producers, providing quality beef to thousands of customers worldwide. They’ve forged a reputation over sixty years for quality and innovation, supplying fresh and frozen meat and meat-free products to retailers, discounters and wholesale customers.

Since starting her career in food manufacturing in 2016, she has been involved with a wide variety of collaborative working groups and early careers initiatives such as being an Enterprise Advisor for the Career and Enterprise Company for 6 years, working closely with Youth Employment UK as well as a variety of local groups across Staffordshire but more recently across the UK and NI.

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Phil Carr

Learning and Development Manager, Gestamp

Phil has worked for Gestamp for the past 25 years.  He has a career background in Quality Engineering, Continuous Improvement, Lean Manufacturing and has been in his current L&D role for the past 19 years.  Phil has overseen the recruitment and development many young learners and works with schools and training providers to promote the importance STEM skills and the value they have in careers in the sector.

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Elle Walker

Area Employment Advisor, Sandwell Council

Having worked in in the employment and skills sector for 20 years, Elle has been working at Sandwell Council for 16 years of these, and where she now takes the lead on Apprenticeship recruitment.  Her core role is to assist local people in raising their aspirations and challenging their expectations, as she delivers both 1:1 and group sessions; helping people to identify their current skills and abilities in accessing suitable and sustainable apprenticeship pathways. 

 

By delivering a high-quality Information, Advice and Guidance Service, she supports the daily recruitment operations for Sandwell Council’s Apprenticeship Programme from end to end, and mentor’s apprentices and managers throughout the employment journey.

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Nick Turner

Responsible Business Partner, GMI Constuction

The Responsible Business Partner for GMI Construction Group’s Midlands region, overseeing and reporting on all things Social Value across each project. Focused on the delivery of the businesses KPI’s, with a focus on the impact to the local environment, community and economy.

 

Passionate about CSR, Nick is the champion for the Midlands partnered charity Property for Kids, and organises all works with community groups and volunteering days in the region.

 

Nick believes in the huge importance of employment and skills provision to the next generation, and believes apprenticeships are vital to the construction industry, engaging schools, colleges and students regularly.

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Suzanne Allen

Apprenticeship Lead, Senior Employment Manager, Sandwell Council

Suzanne has worked for Sandwell Council, Think Sandwell for more than 17 years supporting apprenticeships both within the local authority as well as across all sectors of the local economy, as part of the local economic growth strategy. 

 

Having started as an entry level apprentice at the age of 17, developing to management as a steelwork engineer, Suzanne has seen the benefit of apprenticeship training and the development offered via pathways now available in many sectors.  The belief that making a difference to residents in raising awareness of these routeways and opening opportunities is essential for the local economy. 

 

Sandwell Council offer apprenticeships Level 2-7 across many sectors within the planned workforce development. Think Sandwell also support local employers to maximising opportunities for upskilling and developing their workforce and accessing the Digital Apprenticeship Levy has become key to expanding the delivery of apprenticeship training.

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Lisa Robertson

Head of learning and Development, Citizen Housing

Lisa is the Head of Learning and Development for Citizen, a Housing Association based in the Midlands.  She is passionate about all things Learning and Development and Apprenticeships and the development of talent and promoting the benefits Apprenticeships can bring to the individual and organisation. 

 

Lisa is responsible for all learning at Citizen, the Apprenticeship programme and work experience placements.  She enjoys supporting the wide range of skills that working within a Housing Association brings, working with Apprentices in Finance, Customer Service, Administration and Trade Areas.  She is particularly interested in supporting diversity into non-traditional roles.

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Sarah Horne

Apprenticeship Advisor, The Binding Site

Sarah is the apprenticeship advisor at The Binding Site in Birmingham; A specialist protein company that manufactures diagnostic kits which detect diseases such as multiple myeloma.  Sarah has worked at The Binding Site for six years in various customer-based roles. Her passion for helping people led her to Learning and Development where she was recently given the opportunity to take on the first apprenticeship advisor role The Binding Site have offered. She is very new to the world of apprentices but is looking forward to connecting with likeminded individuals and learning about this inspirational pathway of development. 

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Harpreet Kalm

Regional HR Manager, Inviron

Harpreet is a Regional HR Manager at Inviron; a Facilities Management company which is owed by EDF Energy/Dalkia. Since joining the business over two years ago, she had taken a lead on the business Apprenticeship scheme. She supports the career options for apprentices within the industry from engineers to project management and contract support. She drives and continuously develops the organisation apprentice offering year on year.   

Additional to her main role she also supports the company’s Social Value & Responsibility activities as well as charity events and a Mental Health first aider.   

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Adele Cooke

Apprentice Lead, Stoke & Staffs Integrated Care System

Adele is the apprentice lead for Staffordshire within the Integrated Care System. She took this new opportunity due her passion of the future workforce, specifically within the NHS.  She is working hard to encourage new people into the system via apprenticeships to learn along the way leaving them with endless opportunities for the future progression. Alongside this she is actively researching new areas for apprenticeship opportunities within the care sector to strengthen our workforce for the future.

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Fiona McGarry

Engagement Manager, Make UK Apprentice and Skills

Fiona has worked in the Manufacturing and Engineering sector for over sixteen years, previously managing the school’s engagement programme at Jaguar Land Rover for 12 years and has been at Make UK for over five years.

 

Her passion is increasing diversity within STEM and developing programmes and activities to attract more young people to the sector and the apprenticeship route. At Make UK they host schools’ visits from primary through to secondary hoping to inspire more young people to consider Manufacturing and Apprenticeships. Last year they launched the Engineering Apprenticeship Kitemark to encourage companies to follow a Best Practice Model within their Engineering Apprenticeship Schemes.

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Mark Combes

Non Executive Director - Severn Partnership Ltd. Part of The Munnelly Group PLC

Mark has been in Geospatial Survey for 34 years linked to construction & civil engineering. Includes survey exploration in oil and science research in the diverse environments of Papua New Guinea and experiencing life in the freezer, Antarctica.

A Shropshire Lad, always keen to develop the next generation of Surveyors. A member of the RICS & CICES and former President of The Survey Association, played a lead role in a Trial Blazer Steering Group to produce the Geospatial Survey Apprenticeships Levels 3 & 6; delivered by Dudley College & the University of East London.

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Paul Heppell

Skills & Qualifications Manager, Poundland

Having worked in the Training Sector for the last 14 years supporting large Levy paying organisations to develop and shape their Apprenticeship Strategy across multiple Sectors, Paul thought it was time to hop over the fence and take up an amazing opportunity to manage Poundland’s Apprenticeship provision. He is excited to be part of the WMAAN and looking forward to supporting the network.

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Helen Meeson

Human Resources Manager, Wieland Metals Birmingham

Helen has over 20 years’ experience of manufacturing, having worked in both Production and HR Management. For most of those years she has held a leading role of recruiting and mentoring apprentices within the organisation. It is important to Helen to ensure that the apprentices are skilled in the relevant departments required to face future business challenges and successive retention initiatives to help mitigate recruitment difficulties. To ensure every apprentice has a tailored support package to be the best they can be.

Helen is committed to ensure best use of the levy to achieve business goals and dedicated to ensure a rewarding apprenticeship experience equipped with knowledge and skills for the future. She understands that it is imperative to continue communicating that apprenticeships are an equal option to university and with many more benefits. The right apprenticeship means gaining experience whilst working towards a recognised qualification and also earning a wage with no student loans which is an excellent and worthwhile route for everyone to consider.

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Johnathan Foot

Head of Apprenticeships & Early Careers, Compass Group UK&I

Johnathan is an accomplished thought leader with distinguished experience optimising people, processes, and systems to positively impact bottom line performance specialising in learning, pre-employability, and apprenticeship programmes across commercial and public sector organisations. 

At Compass Group Johnathan currently heads up the apprenticeships and early career development programmes, holding full accountability for the UK and Ireland Apprenticeship Levy. He engages with the board of directors and senior leadership teams, providing recommendations regarding organisational design and change management initiatives to improve professional development and career opportunities. Johnathan also has responsibility for establishing and aligning structure, implementing systems and processes, while providing leadership to drive growth, innovation, and continuous improvements.

 

Additional to his main role he also Co-Chairs the LGBTQ+ & Allies Committee known as 'Pride in Food'

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Jessica Potter

Branch Manager, Keyline Civils Specialists

Jessica is a Branch Manager at Keyline Civils Specialists. She started her career in the building sector by applying for a Management Apprenticeship role, where she has progressed quickly in her career within the Travis Perkins Group. She is an active ambassador for the Diversity and Inclusion network at Keyline and is a member of the Travis Perkins D&I board. As well as this, Jessica is also part of the Travis Perkins Youth Network because she feels so passionate about supporting more young people into the construction industry, 

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Jennifer Fairey

Head of Academy, Aspens Services Ltd

Jennifer has worked within the education sector for over 20 years. She is a successful learning and development lead with a recognised track record in the design and implementation of apprenticeship programmes across sectors. Jennifer is part of the IfATE trailblazer group for Catering & Hospitality.

Jennifer leads the professional development and skills provision across Aspens Services and other businesses. She is passionate about creating a structured culture of engaging, continuous professional development for all colleagues that is ambitious, fun, and rewarding.

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Sinead Mullarky

Schemes Portfolio Manager, BBC

Sinead has worked in the learning and skills arena for over fifteen years and is passionate about people development and creating opportunities for all.  Through her career to date, she has led on policy development for skills, implemented talent strategies and driven workforce planning. 

At the BBC, we believe in our people and recognise the need to invest in our staff and are dedicated about offering apprenticeships, that is why we have committed to taking on 1000 new apprentices by 2026 and believe it’s a perfect way to drive diversity.  We are very proud of our apprenticeship programmes as they offer such an innovative solution and industry leading experience to achieve success. 

Sinead heads up the BBC apprentice Hub, which is based in the West Midlands offering flexible apprenticeship opportunities to the creative industry and forms part of the BBC’s Across the UK Strategy. 

Her role as an Ambassador for apprenticeships is very important, as we need to heighten awareness and strive to shape quality programmes that create opportunities for learning at all ages.

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Catherine Armstrong

Vice Principal, Curriculum Support & Business Development, Shrewsbury Colleges Group

Catherine has worked in Further Education for over 30 years delivering vocational training and leading a wide range of vocational courses to both full time, adults, Apprenticeships and Higher Education. Being responsible for marketing and admissions activity at Shrewsbury Colleges Group, as well as leading on careers and enrichment activities, enables the passion for helping people develop wider skills and experiences and discover future careers choices.

 

Catherine is an Enterprise Advisor working with a local 11-16 school and represents the college at local business network events actively promoting apprenticeships as a valuable pathway for young people and employers.

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Jo Griffiths

People Development Manager, Crimson

Jo has worked in the education sector for over 20 years with the majority of that time spent focussed on the development and management of apprenticeship programmes. Having worked for a wide range of both local and national training providers she has focussed equally on the use of apprenticeships programmes to develop existing employees and also the recruitment of new hires into client businesses.

 

She has recently crossed over the fence to join a Birmingham based company in the IT sector to support and develop their apprenticeship programmes and learning and development across the business. Passionate about this form of delivery she has recently signed up to an apprenticeship programme herself to support and develop her own career.

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Sheri Moule

Trust Apprenticeship Officer

Sheri has worked in the NHS in Worcestershire for over 20 years, starting her career as a Business Admin Apprentice within a Training and Development Team.  

Sheri is passionate about the benefits of apprenticeships, with her current role, as Apprenticeship Officer, giving her a unique insight into the employer’s perspective as well as that of the apprentice.   The learning culture within the NHS provides staff with opportunities to continually develop their career options within the organisation, through apprenticeship opportunities staff are equipped with skills and experience which are transferable to different departments. 

Sheri supports internal and external activities in relation to the Trust's Apprenticeships, engaging with staffing groups, schools and career events promoting Apprenticeships within the NHS. 

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Ashley Kimberley

Senior HR Advisor

Ashley started her career at Paddock Fabrications as a Business Administration Apprentice. ASSA ABLOY acquired Paddock Fabrication in 2010 so has over 16 years length of service. Ashley is now a Senior HR Advisor. 

Ashely has gained a wide range of experience and developed great relationships. She has been involved in some great projects, such as Long Service Events, celebrating long serving employees, and supporting Early Talent - Apprentices, seeing their success stories and recently celebrated “National Careers Week.”

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Katy Chesters

Employer Partnerships Manager, Staffordshire University

Katy has a wealth of knowledge and experience of working within the Apprenticeship arena. She has a proven track record of supporting employers to utilise Apprenticeships to develop and diversify their workforce.  Katy and her team work with employers nationally to develop the Universities Apprenticeship offer and to ensure that the University leads the way in developing new standards to match the ever-changing needs of employers.  Katy is committed to promoting the value of Apprenticeships to both employers and potential learners across the City.

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Penny Johnson

Early Careers Manager, Housing Plus Group

Penny is driven by attracting, retaining and developing talent for organisational success. She is experienced in HR & Learning and Development across a range of disciplines. Key achievements include being shortlisted for the HR Excellence Awards for Best HR Team, Best Recruitment Strategy and being 2nd in the Times Top 100 Companies to work for in 2018. She is now channelling her passion for talent on Early Careers. She manages the HPG apprenticeship and graduate schemes and makes a positive difference through the Early Careers agenda within the communities that HPG serves.

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Nikki Clay

Senior Learning & Development Partner, Sanctuary

Nikki’s career has focused on qualifications and apprenticeships, starting her journey as an Assessor, IQA and then moving into the Apprenticeship Team to lead on Sanctuary’s apprenticeship programme.  Nikki maintains contacts with Training Providers, Colleges and Universities and supports apprentices and managers to ensure they have a valuable and rewarding apprenticeship experience. 

 

Nikki facilitates opportunities for Sanctuary’s Apprentice Ambassadors to promote apprenticeships at school and career events.  Nikki is also passionate about promoting apprenticeships to permanent employees within the business, to help build and grow Sanctuary’s programme further.

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Lisa Massey

Apprenticeship & Early Careers Manager, 2 Sisters Food Group

Lisa has 7 years experience in the early careers field, having launched and managed programmes in her previous role in the construction sector which were highly success and shortlisted for numerous awards. At 2 Sisters Food Group Lisa is a key member of the divisional L&D Team and is responsible for upskilling apprenticeships, utilizing the levy and their Engineering Apprenticeship and Finance Graduate schemes.

Lisa also has a strong background in Human Resources having held senior positions in various sectors including automotive, oil & gas, distribution, manufacturing and retail.

CIPD full qualified holding Chartered status, Lisa is also a qualified coach and workplace mediator.

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Tina Lockley

Apprenticeship Contract Manager

Tina has worked for Juniper Training for over 18 years. She set up the apprenticeship programme for Juniper in 2017, the programme now consists of over 500 apprentices with staffing to accommodate this. Delivery ranges from Education and Training, Business and administration, Health Public Services and Care, Retail and Commercial Enterprise and also Construction. Tina is proud to be part of WMAAN

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Mark Toole Jnr

Head of Training Development, Telent

Mark has ownership of the learning strategy across two business units within telent, whereby apprenticeships are at the heart of this. Managing several apprenticeship programmes for many years now Mark has seen the huge benefits and impact the apprentices have on the workplace and team. Mark also volunteers as a peer mentor for ‘One Million Mentor’s’ and supports his local school as a governor.

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Gill Price

Social Value Co-ordinator, Wrekin Housing Trust

Gill has worked with a number of organisations within Learning & Development, HR as well as delivering employability programmes and work-based opportunities in communities for over 30 years. Passionate about organisational, personal and professional development and committed to creating opportunities to build confidence, develop skills, grow talent and enable progression. Apprenticeships are just one way to do this, with employer and apprentice both reaping the rewards and achieving their ambitions. She is excited about promoting apprenticeships along with other like-minded members of WMAAN.

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Rhoda Lee

Group Apprenticeship Relationship Manager, Halfords

Rhoda is responsible for managing all the Apprenticeship programmes for the Halfords Group. Halfords offer apprenticeships across Retail, Auto Centres, Head Office and their Distribution Centres. Rhoda joined Halfords in April 2020, after previously working for Aldi where she was responsible for their Apprenticeship programmes where at one point they had over 1000 apprentices.  Rhoda was part of the North West Ambassador Network whilst working for Aldi.

Rhoda has worked in Apprenticeships for just over 7 years and has a background in retail, recruitment, sales and welfare to work.

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Chloe Wade

Talent for Care Coordinator, George Eliot Hospital

Once an Apprenticeship herself, Chloe is responsible for the coordination of Apprenticeships and ‘Talent for Care’ Activity for George Eliot NHS Trust. It is Chloe’s 5th year of working with Apprenticeships and she is very passionate about sharing her experience of completing an Apprenticeship as well as working with them.

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Kelly Hemus

Early Years Specialist, Canal and River Trust

Kelly has worked within the apprenticeship sector for the majority of her career and is passionate about the difference training and development can make to individuals and business alike. Having started as an apprentice herself, she likes to champion apprenticeships as the best way to start a career. Kelly has been with the Canal & River Trust since September 2021 and has overall responsibility for the early careers strategy, she has big ambitions to create future business leaders from the Trust’s successful early careers programmes.

Kelly is eager for the Trust to become a desired company for people to start their career or change career path and is keen to find new ways to inspire the next generation of employees to become part of the Canal & River Trust.

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Sharon Carrington

Apprentices and Graduate Lead, Bromford

Sharon has spent over 15 years working in Learning & Development and has a real passion for apprenticeships and the wealth of opportunity they bring to both individuals and employers.  Sharon is excited to have joined Bromford as the Apprenticeship Graduate Lead enhancing the good work already done in Bromford for apprenticeships. 

Sharon is passionate about apprenticeships and committed to ensuring that the apprentices and leaders are supported throughout the duration of the learning and beyond to continue to develop Bromford to be future ready.

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Dee Kumari

Apprenticeship, Volunteer, Placement Co-ordinator, Greensquare Accord

Dee is an advocate for all things apprenticeships, volunteering and work placement, with over 6 years of experience working in employability, skills and HR/L&D, working across many sectors over the years.

 

Responsible, for the design, delivery, and management of the apprenticeships, volunteering and work placements initiatives in Green Square Accord.  Having a proven track record to grow and develop a future workforce that has the right capabilities to thrive in the world of Housing, Construction and Care in the future.

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Jack Taylor

Careers Hub and Digital Assistant, South Warwickshire NHS Trust

As part of the Careers Hub, Jack’s role is to connect surrounding healthcare organisations and expose people to the amazing careers within the Health and Care sector. Members of the Hub include organisations across Coventry & Warwickshire who want to encourage and advise people on how to start their career journey into healthcare. The aim is to provide the local community with options that are available and accessible to them.

 

There are over 350 different job roles across the healthcare sector. Departments include Finance, Human Resources, Clinical Support Work, Estates, Nursing, Learning and Development and many more… Whatever field you are considering in healthcare this could lead you into a career for life with one of our organisations. 

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Kim Holmes

Apprenticeship Scheme Manager, Network Rail

Kim has worked within Learning and Development for over 10 years during which time becoming an associate CIPD, with the last 3 years focusing on apprenticeships. Previously she worked for Virgin Trains achieving great results as an employer provider; managing and teaching apprenticeships resulting in a good OFSTED review.

Kim joined Network Rail this year to ensure her career and passion for apprenticeships carried on, where she is currently scheme manager for the higher level engineering apprenticeship schemes.

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Max Jones

People Development Manager,  Yamazaki Mazak UK Ltd

Max’s role, as People Development Manager, involves the training and development of Mazak employees to fulfil their potential. It also involves encouraging people to consider apprenticeships and supporting them once they have joined the company. The role involves going into schools to promote apprenticeships as well as arranging for schools to visit Mazak for team challenges and factory tours. Mazak also have an award winning work experience scheme in partnership with the EDT called Industrial Cadets which has been a great success.

 

Max is an ex-apprentice himself and greatly values the opportunities his apprenticeship has given him. Max has held several Director level roles in previous organisations and this demonstrates the potential opportunities that apprenticeships can give to those that are willing to work hard. He joined Mazak in 2014 and has held numerous senior positions within the company. Max can, as a result, see how apprentices can add significant value to Mazak and how the company can offer a broad range of exciting career prospects to those involved. Mazak is very proud of its award winning apprenticeship scheme.

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Charlotte Swain

Deputy Director of Delivery, MTC Training

Charlotte manages the delivery of Apprenticeships and Commercial Training at the MTC’s two training centres, the Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC) in Coventry and Oxfordshire Advanced Skills (OAS) in Oxford.

MTC Training is the skills arm of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), which is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a catalyst for the future growth and success of UK advanced manufacturing. We develop, maintain and build upon the vital skills required by manufacturing apprentices, graduates, technicians, engineers and managers to deliver the technologies that keep the Great British manufacturing industry globally competitive. The sector is ever-evolving and our experts work closely with the latest developments to deliver up-to-date, practical training, ensuring that our customers and their staff are equipped with the skills that they need both now and in the future.

Charlotte joined MTC Training in January 2021. She has worked in the education sector for 17 years, including 3 years as Vice Principal at a large Further Education College.

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Michelle Roberts

Digital Transport Apprenticeship Manager, Transport for West Midlands

Michele has worked in the education and skills sector for most of her career.   She is a passionate supporter for Apprenticeships and worked in the National Apprenticeship Service and Skills Funding Agency where she led on policy development in relation to SME incentives, higher apprenticeships and wider employer engagement activity. 

 

Her last five years have been spent setting up and delivering Higher and Degree Apprenticeships at the University of Wolverhampton’s Apprenticeship Hub.  She is now at Transport for West Midlands leading on the roll out of the Transport Infrastructure Skills Academy which will help share and create opportunities in the digital transport sector.

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Matthew Smallwood

Training Manager, Doosan

Matt was formerly the managing director of a small engineering company and a member of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), before moving into secondary education. He then spent 15 years in state secondary schools setting up engineering courses ranging from GCSE/A level, Diplomas, BTECs and NVQ’s and teaching GCSE Mathematics.

 

He was instrumental in engaging with local and national engineering companies linking them with engineering curricula activities and was part of the Wolverhampton Skills and Employment Board. He moved into apprenticeships as a Centre Manager for Marches Centre of Manufacturing Technology before becoming the Training Manager for Doosan Babcock.

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Jo Timms

Head of Apprenticeships, South Staffordshire College

For many years Jo has championed the way for apprenticeships having been an apprentice herself straight from school to teaching the subject she is so passionate about in Beauty Therapy. Her career has been focused on shaping the future for people of all ages through education and skills training worldwide. Jo has worked in FE Colleges for 20 years in different regions of England including Kent, Birmingham, London and Staffordshire and recognises the needs locally and nationally to support the skills gaps and evolving technologies that change and diversify the labour market.

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Jeff Baker

Employer Engagement Lead

Jeff has a wealth of knowledge within the apprenticeship sector. As an employerengagement lead with a national training provider, Jeff’s responsibility is to engage with large levy paying companies and advising them on the best way to utilise their levy fund. He also visits local school assemblies to talk about ‘what is an apprenticeship’. Jeff has worked on major projects which included Birmingham New Street Station (renamed Grand Central) helping to advise over 200 contractors on apprenticeships and construction training and Birmingham Airport run way extension.

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Jenny Docherty

Learning & Development Partner, Housing 21

Jenny has worked within Learning & Development at Housing 21 for the last 12 years, Jenny’s role is to promote apprenticeship opportunities to existing staff to support development and to identify where the organisation can recruit apprentices.  Joining the Ambassador network has been a fantastic opportunity to work with other organisations who share the same passion for apprenticeships and what they can do for organisations.

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Daniel Degg

Head of Employer Engagement & Business Development, City of Wolverhampton College

Daniel is driven by providing an excellent service to support employers with addressing their skills gaps. In his current role he leads the employer engagement team at the City of Wolverhampton College responsible for apprenticeship recruitment and other work-based learning solutions to help broaden the opportunities for our young people and the regional workforce.

 

Daniel has extensive experience promoting and delivering apprenticeships from level 2-7 at colleges and universities within the region. In 2020/21 he also launched and developed the GBSLEP Skills & Apprenticeship Hub which offered Plan for Jobs support to over 500 employers in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Kate Whatley

Commercial Director, SPV-UK

Kate has been the Commercial Director at SPV Group for 15 years where she is set to take over as MD in 2021. She is a strong business development professional with a BA focused in Business Management from The University of Sheffield.

Among her accolades, she is a Construction Role Model 2019 and 2020, CITB Roofing Ambassador, set up The Building Futures Pathway course in conjunction with Juniper Training, a Fellow of the Institute of Roofing as well as the Midlands Regional Chair of The Institute of Roofing and Co-opted Board Member of the Institute of Roofing.

Kate is passionate about encouraging diversity within the sector and is determined to make a real difference in inspiring, fostering and developing future generations to enter the construction industry. She has supported over 25 new apprentices enter and develop with SPV Group over the last 15 years.

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Maxine Burns

Apprenticeship & Work Experience Manager, George Elliot Hospital

Maxine has worked in the Apprenticeship Sector for almost 20 years. She has managed an Apprenticeship Academy for British Gas, delivered Apprenticeships for Vodafone, led a team of Senior Business Managers who were collectively responsible for the delivery of £1.5 million ESFA Apprenticeship contract, and most recently Apprenticeship and Work Experience Manager for the GEH NHS Trust.

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Kerry Davies

Apprenticeship Co-ordinator, Worcestershire Apprenticeships

Kerry has 20 years’ experience in the work-based learning industry, after moving on from her hotel-based career in February 2000. She has worked with two national training providers specialising in the delivery of apprenticeship training across various sectors, the main one being Hospitality to reflect her own industry background. She has worked in various roles including the delivery of training, assessment of learners, quality assurance and managing teams of trainers. This has provided her with a wealth of knowledge on apprenticeships and the funding requirements that go with Government led training. She moved into an IAG role in February 2018 joining Worcestershire Apprenticeships, where she can continue using her experience to support others with apprenticeships.

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Kate MacDonald

Graduate & Apprenticeship Manager, Shropshire County Council

Kate has worked for Shropshire Council for 9 years in various roles having started on the Graduate Programme in 2011;  since then she has been passionate about training and development where she has been creating opportunities for others to gain the skills and knowledge they need to develop in their role.

 

Having started in her role as Graduate/Apprenticeship Manager in 2018, Kate has developed a passion for apprenticeships and champions these across Shropshire Council.  She is keen to develop the offer further and continually strives for improvement and development.  Kate’s role requires her to drive the programme forward and be responsible for the continual growth of the internal apprenticeship offer for local authority’s staff and schools.

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Steve Barker

Director, SkillsPlan Ltd

Steve has over 25 years’ leadership, sales and marketing experience in the education and skills sector having previously worked for some of the UK’s leading awarding bodies and apprenticeship providers. 

 

His career started leading sales and marketing teams in international education before moving onto work with Cambridge Assessment, Pearson’s, Raytheon, Wolters Kluwer, People Plus and Seetec. He has worked in Logistics, Automotive, Legal, Retail, Care and Manufacturing and has a long history of supporting the UKs largest levy paying employers supporting them with Apprenticeships solutions.

 

Steve has a passion for the development of new ideas, methodologies and products to enhance the delivery of training solutions that meet the needs of learners and employers that are both engaging and innovative. 

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Sarah Green

Apprenticeships Programme Lead

Sarah is a highly experienced learning and development professional with over 15 years’ experience in apprenticeships. She was an apprentice herself after leaving school where she found out first-hand what it is like to be a learner and the benefits of an apprenticeship. Sarah  is keen to learn and has recently started the Learning & Development Consultant Partner Apprenticeship alongside successfully leading the apprenticeship team at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital and being a chair of the Learning and Disability steering group.

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Kate Taylor

Employer Brand  & Engagement Co-ordinator, Ornua Foods

Based at their state-of-the-art cheese packaging facility in Leek, Ornua Foods has been working closely with a number of local, regional and national apprenticeship providers to ensure that they are welcoming in new, fresh talents to the business, but also to showcase the variety of benefits to their current workforce. They employ over 650 people within the Stoke and Staffordshire Moorland district and within Kate’s role she works closely with all employees, as well as the local high schools and colleges to help Ornua on its journey to be an Employer of Choice with the area.

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Edwina McQueen

Founder & Director, McQueen Education & Training Consultancy

Edwina is passionate about Apprenticeships & workplace learning having developed her own career path through the vocational route. She has been helping blue-chip companies design and implement their apprenticeship programmes for over 18 years where she has seen firsthand the opportunities apprenticeships bring both for the individual and the employer.

 

Edwina continues to work with both large and small employers as an independent Apprenticeship adviser/ coach, regularly giving Apprenticeship talks to Schools in her role as a Careers Enterprise Adviser. She is delighted to continue this work as an Apprenticeship Ambassador for the West Midlands.  

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Heather Morris

Placement Lead, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

Heather started her career within the NHS as a student nurse, from which she became a registered nurse working clinically and supporting learners in their journey.  She moved into training and development 15 years ago and has supported a large number of apprentices with their careers as an assessor/mentor and tutor. Currently Heather's role includes working closely with the managers, apprentices and departments in the Trust giving them support when employing and supporting apprenticeships, she liaises with external providers ensuring that the needs of the apprentice and the service is met.  The progression and support of apprentices continues to be her motivation.

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Ross McPherson

Learning and Development Consultant - Knowledge and Capability,  Shell Energy

So this is me, I'm late to the professional party after spending the majority of my working life as a contracting Licensed Retail manager and only joining the world of office life just under 6 years ago. Since then I have moved from Operational Management into the land of L&D and as a previous apprentice I am loving the ability my new role provides me with - enhancing our talent pools, developing our teams and creating a happier workplace. I'm excited to see what changes, challenges and rewards I can encounter in the future!

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