Presenter Profiles 2019
Sarah is chair of the National Training Federation for Wales’ Executive Board, a member of the Wales Employment and Skills Board, a Council member for the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and a Director of Cardiff-based apprenticeship provider ALS Training.
Having been involved in work-based learning for more than 20 years, she has worked with many agencies and stakeholders to deliver apprenticeship programmes at all levels and multiple sectors.
She is focused on ensuring that the NTfW network engages with employers and learners to deliver learning solutions linked to Welsh Government priorities. A key Welsh Government objective is to deliver a minimum of 100,000 high quality apprenticeships during the current administration.
Minister for Economy and Transport
Ken Skates was born in 1976 in Wrexham, educated at Mold Alun School and went on to study Social and Political Science at Cambridge University.
In his free time, Ken enjoys running, swimming, hiking and golf as well as having an interest in gardening, art and architecture. Ken was previously a journalist and assistant to Mark Tami MP. In 2008, he was elected a community councillor. Ken’s policy interests include manufacturing, mental health, sport and leisure, eliminating poverty and political economy. His political interests include skills training, tourism, environmental protection, mental health, sport and fitness and social inclusion.
In June 2013 Ken Skates was appointed Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology. In September 2014, Ken was appointed Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism. In May 2016 he was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure.
Ken was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport on 3 November 2017. On 13 December 2018 Ken was appointed Minister for Economy and Transport.
Professor David James
Director, ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, School of Social Sciences,
David is Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University and editor of the British Journal of Sociology of Education.
Once a labourer, clerical officer, musician and Further Education (FE) teacher, he moved into Higher Education in his mid-thirties. FE, skills and work-based learning are important strands of his research.
He co-directed the only major independent UK study of FE teaching and learning, and currently co-directs a four-nation UK study of FE governance.
Director of Skills, Higher Education and Lifelong Learning (SHELL),
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.
Kevern joined Agored Cymru in 2015 as Assistant Director for Quality, Standards and Regulations and was appointed Chief Executive in March 2017.
Kevern’s responsibilities span a wide remit, and include leading Agored Cymru’s senior staff team in the development of policy, business planning, risk assessment and management, and the growth of strategic partnerships. He is the lead Officer for Agored Cymru’s Board of governance and ensures the promotion of the organisation and its culture and values to wider stakeholder groups, including the Welsh Government.
Change Maker, Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales
Heledd is a Change Maker at the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. This role involves working with organisations to help them implement the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.
She leads on monitoring and assessing how organisations are meeting their duties, the Commissioner’s focus on ‘Skills for the Future’, works closely with the Wales Audit Office and provides support to the 19 Public Services Boards across Wales.
Heledd lives in Cardiff with her partner and greyhound, but is from Carmarthenshire originally and speaks fluent Welsh.
Deputy Director Further Education and Apprenticeships Division
By profession, Andrew is a Chartered Accountant. After qualifying in 1984, he spent the next decade working with private companies in South Wales and Bristol. In 1996 he transferred to the public sector and worked in a variety of finance roles, all of which were linked to the delivery of Education.
In 2004, Andrew moved out of finance and into a policy role, where he led the project to change the way that post-16 learning in Wales was planned and funded. In 2006 he joined the Welsh Government’s education department and, in 2008, had the policy oversight for the design and launch of the department’s ‘transformation’ policy for Further Education.
In 2010, Andrew was asked to lead the department’s Further Education Division, which has the two prime roles of policy development and delivery. In development terms, the Division leads on Further Education; apprenticeships; post-16 planning and funding; the post-16 quality framework; Adult Community Learning; Careers Wales; and the Seren network. The delivery side encompasses the funding of post-16 learning in Wales; monitoring of Further Education provision; oversight of the careers service; the procurement and contract management of work based learning contracts; and the management of certain European Social Fund projects. In addition, Andrew was a member of the “Review of Qualifications for 14 to 19 year olds in Wales” board, and had the lead on the Further and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Act 2014.
Chief Executive, Disability Wales
Rhian Davies, Chief Executive of Disability Wales since 2001 is a longstanding advocate for disability rights and equality. In 2017, she represented civil society in Wales at Geneva during the UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled People’s first periodic review of the UK Government’s implementation of the Convention.
Rhian chairs Welsh Government’s Framework for Action on Independent Living National Steering Group and is a member of the Strategic Equality Plan Board. She is a Trustee of Women’s Equality Network Wales.
From 2014 – 2016 Rhian was Disability member on Welsh Government’s Tackling Poverty External Advisory Group and is a former member of the EHRC’s Statutory Wales Committee (2007-2012). Rhian has an MSc in Equality and Diversity from Cardiff University and in May 2014 participated in the Women and Power Programme at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
DRILL Wales Programme Officer, Disability Wales
Dr Jody Mellor, DRILL Wales Programme Officer, has worked as an academic researcher for over ten years, working at the universities of Cardiff, Bristol and Sheffield. Trained as a social scientist, she completed her PhD in 2007, and is the author of several articles and book chapters on issues relating to gender, social class and religion. Recently, Jody has helped to set up and raise funds for a Carers’ Choir in Swansea.
In the organisation, Jody is responsible for the Big Lottery funded DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) Project, which is the world’s first major research programme led by disabled people.
Research and Policy Officer, Disability Wales
Ruth Nortey has worked as Disability Wales’ Research and Policy Officer since 2017, supporting Disability Wales’ work to effect change in public policy and influence policymakers to ensure disabled people living in Wales can live the lives they want to. This has included responding to public consultations and gathering the views of our members through research activities. Ruth has previously worked within the sensory loss sector in Wales supporting people with hearing and / or a vision impairment to live more independently. As a disabled woman Ruth is passionate about challenging equality issues and ensuring that everyone is able to enjoy equal treatment within our society.
Associate Director (Vocational Qualifications) Qualifications Wales
Cassy Taylor is Qualifications Wales’ Associate Director for Vocational Qualifications and leads the delivery of the VQ Strategy for Wales. Since 2015 she has led three ground-breaking Sector Reviews in Health and Social Care (including childcare), Construction and the Built Environment and ICT (digital). Having provided advice on the development of new Health and Social Care and Childcare qualifications for Wales she is now directing the project to commission the development and delivery of new Construction and Building Services qualifications.
Cassy joined Qualifications Wales from Welsh Government having worked in the education and training sector for over 25 years. For Welsh Government she worked on a review of 14-19 learning in Wales before taking on the regulation of general qualifications between 2008 and 2012. Her previous roles include quality management in further and higher education in England and as a Qualifications Manager at OCR, the awarding body, in the late 1990s. Cassy has also worked extensively in the vocational training field specialising in the development of, and support for, open learning in the health and care sector.
Qualifications Manager, Qualifications Wales
Donna Hughes is a qualifications manager within Qualifications Wales. Donna has played a lead role in the vocational qualification sector reviews, in workforce development for staff who assess and quality assure health and social care and childcare competency based qualifications and in the approval of new qualifications for Wales.
Donna previous job roles include assessor, internal quality assurer, centre manager, external quality assurer and quality consultant within centres that deliver both health and social care and childcare competency based qualifications.
Head of Jisc Wales
As Head of Jisc Wales, Alyson is responsible for ensuring WBL providers in Wales receive excellent service and gain maximum benefit from their Jisc membership.
Her role also entails working with the Welsh Government and sector bodies to help inform policy, most recently the Digital 2030 Framework, and develop a service that meets the digital needs of the sector whilst equipping staff and learners with the digital capabilities required for successful study, growth and employability.
Regional Skills Manager, North Wales Regional Skills Partnership
Sian has worked in the skills and employment field for over 14 years and has recently been seconded to manage the North Wales Regional Skills Partnership. She began her career in European Policy and progressed to work in Economic Development, where she was tasked with the developing Skills Strategy to match the needs of the economy with the skills needed locally. Sian was also seconded to Welsh Government to work with the Skills Policy team and developing post 2014 skills programmes for Wales.
Sian is currently leading on developing the new three year Skills and Employment Plan for North Wales.
Partnership Manager, South West and Mid Wales Regional Learning and Skills Partnership
Jane Lewis is the Partnership Manager for the South West and Mid Wales Regional Learning and Skills Partnership and the lead for the Skills and Talent Intervention project of the Swansea Bay City Deal.
Jane, started her career in the public sector undertaking both operational and management roles in the Tourism and Cultural Service areas before moving into the private sector managing her own marketing and promotional company. She has also managed a number of Regional European projects; a Charity and worked within various Local Authorities.
Managing the Regional Skills Partnership, Jane leads work that includes engagement, consultation, and coordination with regional and cross-border partners, providers, employers, and beneficiaries, on supporting a sustainable regional economy, based on a developing and flexible skills base. The evidence gathered is used to support the recommendations to Welsh Government in the annual Employment and Skills Plan.
Jane also manages the Skills and Talent project for the Swansea Bay City Deal – a project that will ensure that we have the right skills for the next 20 years to meet the needs of the City Deal projects and other initiatives happening across the region.
Community Regeneration Manager, Cardiff Capital Region
David started his career with Disability Services at the Department of Work and Pensions. After 7 years David joined Newport city council as the Work and Skills Manager, designing and creating their employment and skills department. David has vast experience in working with private, public and 3rd sector organisations designing provisions that work for communities.
For the past 3 years David has been the Community Regeneration Manager at Newport city council where the work and skills portfolio is now integrated into everyday community life.
David’s team at Newport has recently taken the management responsibility of the Regional Skills Partnership in South East Wales.
Dr Llŷr ap Gareth
Senior Policy Advisor, FSB Wales
Dr Llŷr ap Gareth is Senior Policy Advisor at FSB Wales, and has been involved in Welsh public policy for a number of years. He has worked teaching International and Welsh Politics at Aberystwyth University, and then at the Electoral Reform Society where he authored several reports on governance and democracy. He worked at Community Transport Association before joining the FSB.
Senior Account Manager, Workplace Wellbeing Team, Mind Cymru
Claire has specialised in the field of workplace well-being for the last 10 years and has worked with many leading workplaces to develop and review their policies, promote their well-being offer to staff, as well as providing training audits and developing training proposals.
Claire has presented at conferences promoting the benefits and business case for investment in well-being in the workplace. Prior to her role within Workplace Wellbeing, she was responsible for the rollout of the Mental Health First Aid (Wales) programme.
Dr Esther Barrett
Jisc Subject Specialist – Teaching, learning and assessment
Esther has been working in education for nearly twenty years. From teaching Literacy and ESOL in the community she went on to design courses, train teachers and expand learning opportunities in 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, employability, blended learning and assessment. She is closely involved with the digital literacy movement in Wales, supporting FE and Skills. She has a PhD in education and online language.
Head of B-wbl (Pembrokeshire College)
Berni is Head of the B-wbl Consortium at Pembrokeshire College and has worked in Education in both Further Education and Work-based Learning (WBL) for over 20 years. She is a Board member of the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) and chair of the NTfW South West and Mid region group.
As an independent member of the Education Workforce Council for 4 years she is an enthusiastic user of the Professional Learning Passport (PLP) and keen to encourage the use of technology to support professional learning and the achievement of the professional standards for WBL practitioners.
Director of Professional Development, Accreditation and Policy, Education Workforce Council
Bethan is responsible for: The accreditation of professional programmes; Functions undertaken on behalf of the Welsh Government such as the administration of funding / recording arrangements in relation to school teacher Induction and the delivery of a national e-portfolio for practitioners (the Professional Learning Passport); Strategic planning and communications; Policy development.
Bethan joined the EWC in 2000 and has worked as the Council’s Professional Development and Funding Manager from 2006 before moving to her current role.
Professional Development and Funding Manager, Education Workforce Council
Rhian is employed within the Professional Development and Funding team and has two functions. Firstly the delivery of the Professional Learning Passport (PLP). The PLP is an online e-portfolio which is available to all EWC registrants to support them in planning, recording and reflecting upon their professional development for the duration of their career. Secondly the tracking of Newly Qualified Teachers as they progress through their statutory Induction Programme, and the administration of funding to schools who are providing NQTs with Induction support.
Rhian has worked for the EWC and within the Professional Development and Funding team since 2006 and has recently been appointed to the role of Manager.
Interim Business Development Director, Careers Wales
Derek is currently Interim Business Development Director at Careers Wales. He is a freelance consultant at Digital Transformation Relationships Ltd. working for clients such as The Automobile Association and Oracle. Previously, he was Head of Digital Services and Head of Digital Efficiencies and Channels at DWP introducing, amongst other things, Digital Carers Allowance, robotics and disability friendly channels.
Before that he was Head of Strategic Marketing at The Pensions Regulator (responsible for rolling out Automatic Enrolment to every employer in the UK), Head of Insight & Marketing at DVLA (responsible for rolling out Online Car Tax, Driving Licenses and Personal Registration Marketing), Motoring Franchise Director at DirectGov (responsible for the biggest volume franchise on DirectGov site) and CEO of Valleys Arts Marketing (responsible for marketing support for venues in 10 Local Authorities). He is a Fellow of both the CIM and the IDM.
Dr Lowri Morgans
Academic Manager, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol
Dr Lowri Morgans is an Academic Manager for the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. She obtained a doctorate from the Department of Welsh, Aberystwyth University on body language and gestures in Medieval Welsh literature. Before joining the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, Lowri began her career in a Further Education college and progressed to be a Welsh Language Manager at the college.
Until recently Lowri has been contributing to managing the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol’s Higher Education Academic Plan and has established the Associate Lecturer Scheme, which is a scheme to create a community of Welsh medium lecturers. Recently Lowri has been appointed to implement the post-16 strategy which reflects the Coleg’s new responsibilities.
Dr Dafydd Trystan
Registrar, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol
Dafydd Trystan Davies is the registrar of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. He received his
doctorate from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, for his work on globalisation and the Welsh
During his time lecturing on Welsh politics in the International Politics Department at Aberystwyth University, he became renowned for his research on voting behaviour in Wales. He also worked as a consultant for BBC Cymru, and between 2002 and 2007 he was chief executive of Plaid Cymru. He is a director of several social enterprises, including ‘Cycle Training Wales’ and TooGoodToWaste.