Presenter Profiles 2016
In addition to being Chair to the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) Executive Board and Chair for the South East Wales Region of NTfW Sarah is Director of Acorn Learning Solutions which is part of the Acorn Group based in Newport.
Sarah has been working in Work Based Learning for over 20 years, during various roles in the sector Sarah has come into contact with a number of agencies/stakeholders including, Job Centres, Careers Offices, Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), Employer bodies, Welsh Government departments, Awarding Organisations, Schools, HEIs, FEIs in support of the Apprenticeship programmes available from Level 1 to Level 5. Acorn is the only Independent Provider franchised to a HEI for the delivery of a Foundation Degree.
At Acorn Sarah’s role mainly incorporates the areas of finance, operational delivery, bid management, and the development of innovative learning solutions for employers and learners linked to Welsh Government priorities.
Board Member for LSkIP (the South East Wales Regional Learning Partnership)
NTFW Representative on the University of Glamorgan Collaboration Forum
NTFW Board member as the Regional Chair for the South East Region
Julie James AM
Minister for Skills and Science
Julie James was born in Swansea but spent significant portions of her youth living around the world with her family. Julie spent her early career in London and then moved back to Swansea with her husband to raise their three children and to be closer to her family. Julie is a committed green campaigner, environmentalist and a keen swimmer and skier.
Until she was elected as Assembly Member for Swansea West, Julie was a leading environmental and constitutional lawyer. Prior to this, she was assistant chief executive at Swansea Council. She spent most of her legal career in local government, working as a policy lawyer with the London Borough of Camden before returning to Swansea to work for West Glamorgan County Council and then the City and County of Swansea.
Since being elected Julie sat on the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, Enterprise and Business Committee and Environment and Sustainability Committee. Julie published the ‘Influencing the Modernisation of EU Procurement Policy’ Report as Chair of the Enterprise and Business Committee’s Procurement Task and Finish Group. Julie also sat as Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee’s Common Fisheries Policy Task and Finish Group.
Julie James was appointed Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology in September 2014. In May 2016 Julie was appointed as Minister for Skills and Science.
Deputy President, NUS Wales
Carmen Smith is the NUS Wales Deputy President, formerly President at Grŵp Llandrillo-Menai Students’ Union.
NUS Wales is a movement of over 330,000 higher education students, further education students, and apprentices across Wales. All of their work is led by their Welsh members through Students’ Unions. Together they shape NUS Wales’ work and deliver campaigns for and with their members.
This year Carmen has been involved in the development of apprentice voice in Wales, through supporting and participating in the work of the National Society of Apprentices.
Leadership Team, National Society of Apprentices Wales
Alex has been in and out of Colleges and sixth form trying a variety of subjects, he is now a multi-skilled engineering Apprentice in the third year of his training. Alex works for a pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor in Wrexham, North Wales where he lives.
For almost 3 years of his apprenticeship he has worked with the National Society of Apprentices in Wales and with the NUS Wales which has led to his appointment on the Leadership team for the region.
Director of Policy and Research, Learning and Work Institute
Tony Wilson joined Inclusion, now known as Learning and Work Institute in October 2011. He has fifteen years’ experience of policy and research, project management and delivery across a range of roles in HM Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus.
He has particular expertise in the design, delivery and evaluation of employment programmes; support for disadvantaged groups; and social security reform. He has led projects advising on employment programme reform for the World Bank and governments of Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Scotland; has led research on ‘what works’ in support for groups including disadvantaged young people, disabled people, those in social housing and the low paid; and conducted evaluations of a range of national and local programmes.
Director of Skills, Higher Education and Lifelong Learning (SHELL), Welsh Government
Huw Morris is Director of Skills, Higher Education and Lifelong Learning within Welsh Government. In this post he is responsible for the oversight of higher education, further education and Government funded work based learning provision.
Before taking on this role he held a variety of posts in universities including: Bristol Business School (UWE), Imperial College, Kingston University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford. Huw has helped to develop networks of college and private provider provision including higher level apprenticeships and in-company degree programmes for companies including: Bank of New York Mellon, BBC, Bombardier, Coop, McDonalds and Tesco. In addition to working in higher education, Huw has also held management and board level positions in a range of public and private sector organisations.
Work Based Learning Equality and Diversity Champion, NTfW
Humie brings her vast experience as a Programme Manager and Community Engagement Practitioner to her current role as the Work Based Learning Equality and Diversity Champion.
Previous roles include National Diversity Co-ordinator for the mental health anti-stigma campaign Time to Change Wales, Director of Butetown History and Arts Centre, Operational Manager for the Cardiff Communities First programme, and advisory roles with CULT (Creative Unions Learning Together) Cymru, Creative and Cultural Skills Sector and Arts Council Wales.
In 2002 Humie was recognised by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 in 2002 for her services to the community and voluntary sector.
Project Manager, Jisc
Nicole is the project manager for a Welsh Government funded project to assist Welsh WBL providers achieve compliance with ISO27001. This is part of the National Training Federation Wales’ sector change programme driving ISO27001:2013 compliance across the work based learning sector. ISO 27001 sets the accepted security and audit standards required for moving from a paper-based records system to a born digital approach.
Nicole is a subject specialist at Jisc and advises HE, FE and skills institutions on information and data management, information security and information systems. She has more than 10 years’ experience working in information management in the public and private sector implementing records management programmes and managing electronic records management systems.
Strategic Director, Estyn
Simon is a Strategic Director in Estyn, leading its policy advice to the Welsh Government and work on building capacity. He leads on Estyn’s local authorities and post-16 work. Simon has lead responsibility for Estyn’s joint working with other inspection and audit bodies.
He joined Estyn in 2001 as an HMI, subsequently working as a District Inspector, Managing HMI and later as Head of Directorate for post-compulsory education. His career has encompassed work as a teacher, local authority adviser, part-time lecturer and director of a software company.
Curriculum Development Manager for Essential Skills, Agored Cymru
Judith is responsible for developing Essential Skills qualifications for practitioners and learners and providing delivery and assessment support for Agored Cymru centres.
Before joining Agored Cymru she taught basic skills for 20 years and was employed by the University of South Wales as a visiting lecturer to deliver their level 5 numeracy teacher training qualification. She has also delivered the level 3 practitioners qualification for the Coleg Gwent Community Franchise Provision as well as numerous other CPD events. Judith was also part of the Basic Skills Agency team disseminating the Core Curriculum training events.
In 2008, Judith was awarded the Caerphilly Adult Basic Skills Tutor of the Year. In 2009, she was voted the NIACE Adult Basic Skills Tutor of the Year and NIACE Inspire Tutor Mentor of the Year.
Maths and English Advisor, City & Guilds
As City & Guilds’ full-time Maths and English Advisor, Paul Sceeny works closely with centres and stakeholders to ensure the awarding body has a thorough understanding of their needs and is able to develop both its qualification and resource/support offers accordingly. Based in Northern Ireland, he works across all parts of the UK, Ireland and beyond – bringing the perspectives that come from engaging with the (increasingly varied…) approaches to numeracy and literacy skills development across each of these jurisdictions.
Paul previously managed City & Guilds’ portfolio of maths and English qualifications for over ten years, leading on the recent changes to the Essential Skills qualifications, the development of the previous 2010 versions and each of the various incarnations of Basic and Key Skills during the 2000s. He has a background in product design and assessment development.
Sector Manager Post 16 English & maths, Pearson
Chris is an English and Maths specialist, who, for the past 15 years, has been working in education in Japan, Poland and the UK.
Chris has taught in FE colleges, WBL training providers and private schools. More recently, he worked as Curriculum Manager English and Maths for a large college, running a team of 25 lecturers.
Essential Skills Officer, WJEC
Bryan has been the Essential Skills Wales officer for the WJEC awarding body for over ten years and before that managed a project looking at ways to transfer best team-working practices between larger and smaller companies.
He is a qualified assessor, verifier and teacher whose background ranges from NVQ, competence-based assessment and quality assurance through to more formal methods of assessment. Bryan has previously worked with a number of organisations helping to train key staff on the importance of effective quality assurance systems and how such systems can be established and maintained.
Senior Apprenticeships Policy Manager, Welsh Government
Christopher currently takes the lead on the development of apprenticeship policy in Wales; aimed at improving the alignment of the apprenticeship model with the needs of the Welsh economy. He also has responsibility for the implementation of the Welsh Government’s plan to re-focus apprenticeships and to strengthen employer input.
Previously in the Welsh Government, Christopher was instrumental in developing the planning component of the post-16 funding system, the Review of Higher Education delivered in Further Education Institutions published in 2015 and post-16 transformation policy, resulting in the rationalisation of further education colleges across Wales.
Before joining the Welsh Government, Christopher worked in the education sector in both England and Wales.
Head of Work-based Learning Quality, NTfW
Kelly joined the NTfW team as Head of WBL Quality in May 2016, with responsibility for leading and coordinating quality improvement initiatives across the WBL sector in Wales.
Prior to this, Kelly worked in Adult Education as Senior Research and Policy Officer at WEA YMCA CC Cymru and at the University of South Wales for over ten years in a variety of roles, including Senior Lecturer (WBL), Project Manager, Learning Development Officer (WBL) and Graduate Careers Adviser. Her research interests focused on WBL as a route to widening participation.
Quality Manager, Vocational Skills Partnership
Sarah has worked within the Work Based Learning sector for over 14 years and has developed a passion for lifelong learning, where learners participate in high quality learning experiences and gain valuable skills which aid both personal and professional development.
As the current Chair of the NTfW Quality Working Group, Sarah is keen to facilitate the identification and sharing of best practice across the network to ensure world-class Apprenticeship programmes across Wales.
Bilingual Champion NTfW
Ryan has been the Bilingual Champion for NTfW since April 2012; and has worked in the WBL sector for over 10 years. As part of his role, Ryan supports WBL providers in increasing their capacity to deliver more bilingual Apprenticeships and to increase the number of Welsh-speaking learners completing some or all of their work-based qualifications in Welsh or bilingually.
His workshop entitled ‘Securing the Future for Welsh Speakers in a time of Change’ aims to share the good practice of engaging with both learners and employers to highlight Welsh as a competitive advantage in an ever changing economy.
Senior Skills Officer, Welsh Language Division, Welsh Government
Born and raised in Aberystwyth; after studying for a degree in Agriculture, Richard started his working career managing farms in mid Wales, later joining the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) as a Business Relationship Manager.
When the WDA merged with the Welsh Government he continued within a similar role before moving to the Education Department and specifically Welsh in Education Policy in 2011.
The main area of work revolves around ensuring that young people value and maintain the Welsh language skills that they have developed in schools for use in future employment.
Dr Esther Barrett
Jisc Subject Specialist – Teaching, learning and assessment
Esther has been working in the education sector for over fifteen years. From teaching Literacy and ESOL in the community she went on to design courses, train teachers and expand learning opportunities on a regional learning network project. As an eLearning advisor with Jisc Wales she supported the ACL and voluntary sectors.
Now a Jisc Subject Specialist in Teaching, Learning & Assessment, Esther offers consultancy and training to HE, FE and Skills providers across the UK in such areas as digital capability, mobile and blended learning. She has also been closely involved with the digital literacy movement in Wales. She has just been awarded a PhD in Digital Linguistics.
Chief Executive, Education Workforce Council
Hayden is Chief Executive of the Education Workforce Council (EWC).
Having joined the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) at its inception in 2000, he held the posts of Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Executive, before the body was renamed (to become the EWC) and its remit extended in April 2015.
Hayden has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors and has also worked in further and higher education, the health service, policing and for a multi-national retail company. He is a governor at WEA YMCA Community College Cymru.
Hayden holds a BSc Honours Degree in Statistics from the University of Wales Aberystwyth and Masters degrees in both Business Administration from Aberystwyth and Applied Statistics from Sheffield Hallam University.
Deputy Chief Executive, Education Workforce Council
Liz is responsible for leading the operational functions of the Council and is accountable for the overall delivery, development and performance in the following areas: maintenance and development of the Register of Education Practitioners in Wales including statistical reporting; fitness to practise and the investigation and hearing of cases referred to the Council; grant funded work from the Welsh Government including the administration of the funding, tracking and recording arrangements in respect of the professional development of newly qualified teachers and the administration of the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
With previous experience mainly from financial services and the police service, Liz joined the GTCW in 2003 as the Qualification and Registration Manager before moving to her current role.
Partner, York Consulting
Philip Wilson is an experienced researcher and Partner at York Consulting. Having graduated in Economics he worked for Training and Enterprise Councils in Bangor (TARGED) and Manchester.
During his 17 years at York Consulting he has undertaken over 25 projects across Wales, covering: work-based learning; information, advice and guidance; and adult learning. Philip’s recent studies include: Evaluation of Work-Based Learning covering Apprenticeships and Traineeships (Welsh Government); evaluation of Women into Engineering a year 10 STEM programme (Outward Bound Trust); Skills for the Workplace ESF evaluation (Coleg Cambria) and; research on employer views of National Occupational Standards (BIS/UKCES).