NEIL WELLER MBE
Chair, London Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (LAAN) and Consultant, Troup Bywaters + Anders
In 2017, Neil Weller became Chair of the London Apprenticeship Ambassador Network and he continuously encourages other businesses to join and grow their apprentice intake. He has a particular ambition to expand the London network so that even more young people get the opportunity to become apprentices as he did when he started his career.
Neil was the Managing Partner for TB+A up to 2015, expanding the practice nationally during his tenure. He formalised their apprenticeship scheme in 2010 and subsequently acted as the lead employer to develop approved, Level 3 and Level 6 Building Services Design Trailblazers; whilst simultaneously setting bespoke college courses which historically had not met his company’s needs.
The practice’s apprenticeship scheme has won numerous awards and their apprentices have also been recognised individually for their outstanding achievements. Separately, TB+A are an IiP Platinum Champion employer guiding other organisations to deliver best practice in People Management and hold the coveted Princess Royal Training Award.
Neil has been heavily involved in this process and the development of their apprenticeship programmes, whilst also being a part of numerous other external steering groups such as the national Technical Apprenticeship Consortium (TAC), CIBSE BESA Education Committee, GLA Skills for Londoners Apprenticeship Sub-Group, CIBSE Careers Panel and more.
Vice Chair, London Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (LAAN) and Partner, IBM
Damian is an IBM Partner and BAME leader who has previously held several senior technology positions, leading delivery on multiple enterprise clients. He has 20 years’ experience on large scale transformational programmes, working with a variety of digital technologies, across multiple industries. He has been responsible for delivery of programmes generating significant revenues and sales, however, his greater contribution has been in developing the capability and influencing the careers of 1000s of employees throughout his career.
He is demonstrably passionate about addressing the UK digital skills gap, providing opportunities for those with an interest in technology, especially from diverse and socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Prior to joining IBM, he led Accenture’s Apprenticeship programme from 2016 to March 2020, with 350+ apprentices joining the programme and studying towards a Technology degree while gaining valuable work experience. As leadership for their Technology Analyst Group, he supported 1000's of graduate's development towards successful and impactful careers at the leading edge of technology.
Damian is currently vice-chair of the London Apprenticeship Ambassador Network and has been a member of both the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education's - Data and Digital Business T-Level Panel of Professionals and the Tech Partnership Degrees - Digital Apprenticeship Board. He is co-founder of iCompassUK.org which facilitates delivery of independent living skills for young people, including free employability skills training.
He has been externally recognised for his contributions to Inclusion and Diversity in the Technology sector by being awarded the Inclusive Tech Alliance Business Leader of the Year Award 2019 and being named on the Inclusive Boards 100 Most Influential BAME Leaders in the UK Tech Sector 2019.
Digital Marketing Apprentice, London Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (LAAN)
Grace joined the London Apprenticeship Ambassador Network in July 2018 as the Digital Marketing Apprentice and currently acts as the main co-ordinator for the London region of ambassadors. Her current duties involve overseeing the LAAN’s social media accounts, website updates, strategy development, determining a plan for posts, creating content to upload and representing the network at various events and meetings. Grace additionally acts as a mentor for new Business Administration Apprentice, Mariam Shaikh, supporting her in her role and helping her to transition into a new and exciting environment.
Over the past few months, Grace has played a key role in the development of the London Network, collating and promoting each ambassador’s apprenticeship activity. She additionally studies at London South Bank University, where she is completing her Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing alongside her day-to-day work.
Business Administration Apprentice, London Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (LAAN)
Mariam Shaikh joined the London Apprenticeship Ambassador Network as a Business Administration Apprentice in October 2020. Her duties involve developing and growing the network's social media channels, coordinating events such as National Apprenticeship Week, planning network meetings, pulling together quarterly reports and representing the network as a whole.
Throughout the course of her apprenticeship, Mariam will be studying about the principles of business, project management, and personal and professional development in order to complete her Level 3 qualification.
National Councillor and Leadership Team Member, London regional FSB
The fsb (Federation of Small Businesses) was established over 40 years ago to campaign in support of the interests of sole traders, micro and small businesses with fewer than 250 employees. We now have over 160,000 members in the UK (over 8,500 in London) and currently I am the elected, volunteer member representing Greater London on the fsb National Council.
As an organisation with an income of over £20 million a year, we employ around 200 staff and contract with around 100 Membership Advisers, who help recruit and retain members.
As a Levy payer, our Head Office in Blackpool employs several apprentices but I see my role as a London Ambassador as a way of helping fsb members employ more apprentices.
As the owner of Small Business Solutions Ltd, we employed James, one of the first Digital Media Apprentices , to help us with our Business Support, Consultancy and Training operations and worked closely with the Digital Youth Academy Ltd as their London based partner.
Programme Director, BASE
Andre has a wide understanding of Government policy in relation to all areas of employment and skills and many years’ experience at a senior level of translating policy to meet local community need/skills gaps, developing public/private partnerships to realise regeneration opportunities and securing funding for local authorities and public/private partnerships.
Developing collaborative approaches to respond to regeneration opportunities to maximise employment, training and apprenticeships and leading services that have led to the employment of thousands of disadvantaged Londoners.
Through her employment at Battersea Power Station Development Company she has have been able to influence the company’s apprenticeship agenda and sponsorship of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Apprenticeships. Andre is also a member of the Skills for Londoners – Business Partnership Apprenticeship Advisory Board.
Education, Qualifications and Skills Specialist, Starbucks Coffee Company UK Ltd
Joined Starbucks in April 2002 and then HR in 2016 to help lead the partner (employee) skills programmes aimed at advancing opportunity for Starbucks partners. Anita also leads on several Starbucks priority hiring initiatives, including refugee and youth hiring
At Starbucks, Anita helps leads on the Apprenticeship programme, English and Math’s for all partners and refugee hiring, including creating progression opportunities through the introduction of higher & degree level apprenticeships in professional services within head office and field-based functions.
The Starbucks apprenticeship scheme is multi-award winning, including previously being named best Macro employer for London at the National Apprenticeship Awards, 2017
Head of Employee Apprenticeships, Pearson
Anne Ashworth has single-handedly set about making apprenticeships an integral part of the UK business’ long-term workforce strategy, ensuring buy-in right from the top level for her vision of enhancement and expansion of apprenticeships.
Drawing on her experience and know-how from a 30-year career in the FE, training and skills sector, Anne’s strategy for apprenticeships means Pearson is embracing the levy and now running 15 different apprenticeship programmes, ranging from level 2 to 6, for over 100 apprentices across its UK business.
ANTHONY IMPEY MBE
Anthony is Founder of Optimity, a telecoms business that has pioneered the use of wireless technology to supply ultra-fast internet connections to businesses. The business has successfully used apprenticeships to help build its technical team, from Level 3 for those starting their careers, through to degree-level for those wanting to develop high-level technical skills.
In addition, Anthony has been extensively involved in developing apprenticeship opportunities across the tech, digital and telecoms sectors by starting Tech City Stars and Tech Up Nation, both of which helped kickstart the careers of young Londoners.
He now works with both local and central government to help shape apprenticeship policy, including as chair of the Skills and Apprenticeship National Policy Board for the Federation of Small Businesses, as chair of the government’s Apprenticeship Stakeholder Board and as chair of the Mayor of London’s Apprenticeship Group.
Talent and Learning Manager, dmg media
Antonia Fox is the Talent and Learning Manager at dmg media. Antonia’s experience is within recruitment, talent and learning and development and she manages the apprenticeship levy for DMGT (including dmg media).
dmg media has an inclusive apprenticeship programme that supports new talent with opportunities into media and existing employees as development opportunities ranging up to MBA level.
Senior Employment and Skills Officer, Barnet Borough Council
A London Apprenticeship Ambassador since 2013 and an industry expert with successful experience in s106 Employment, Skills and Community Investment, Cali Ibrahim has a proven ability to foster relationships with Local Communities, Developers, Development Stakeholders, EET Partners and internal mechanisms for Planning, Policy and Regeneration.
Cali is passionate about Equality, Diversity, Community Investment and supporting the Next Generation of talent. Companies are not just looking for a set of qualifications that match a job description. To ensure a complete and sustained Platform, with previous experience within a Housing Association supporting Apprenticeships and Training. Cali has gained invaluable insights into best and good practice models, to support Housing Stakeholders, Developers, Planning Employment and Skills Strategies, including Local Employment Agreements and Action Plans, that comply with Local and London Strategies & Policy, Planning and Regeneration, Social and Community Trends and Borough priorities.
Cali is most fulfilled when helping people and Organisations sustain and harness talent. His vision and ability to nurture relationships lead to long-term solutions and success.
Cali began his career in an Equality and Diversity Consultancy, and thereafter within a Leadership Consultancy, supporting organisations that include Central Government Departments, Corporate Legal, Banking and Finance Sectors. Cali’s experience in programme management supported the Organisations’ Equality and Diversity solutions to Leadership, BAME Employability Access, reviewing the Organisation’s E&D Strategy and Action Plan, Assessment Centre tools, including psychometric testing batteries.
Head of Trainee Experience and Apprenticeships, Grant Thornton UK LLP
I am passionate about using the apprenticeship levy to bring a diverse range of talent into organisations and build capability for the future. I have implemented the Apprenticeship Levy in Grant Thornton and am Co-Chair of the Accountancy Trailblazer Standards and a London Apprenticeship Ambassador.
I currently look after Grant Thornton's Trainee Experience, to support this - ensuring that our 800 trainees can achieve their professional qualifications and become rounded advisors to our clients.
For the past 10 years I have been a Leadership and Professional Development Consultant with a proven track record of designing and delivering award winning programmes. I build long standing, strategic relationships with clients and stakeholders.
Apprenticeship Lead, VolkerWessels UK
Christine joined VolkerWessels UK in September 2017 after working in various HR roles in various sectors. She took over managing the Apprenticeship Programme for the Group in July 2018. Since then she has fully immersed herself in all things apprenticeships and is now the resident expert for the VWUK Group driving the apprenticeship strategy.
VolkerWessels UK are proud to have built a diverse apprenticeship offering over 40 different pathways from Level 2 all the way to Level 7 for over 130 apprentices. The apprentice population is equally diverse, and we very much believe that apprenticeships should be for everyone no matter what your age or background may be. VWUK have very strong Equality, Diversity and Inclusion values and see apprenticeships as a chance to attract a more diverse workforce into construction.
Group Services Director, VGC Group
Ciara has worked for the VGC groups since 2002. The VGC Group specialise in delivering people and projects for major infrastructure projects across the UK.
With a masters in human resource management and having initially led the HR team she was appointed to the board in 2005 and now leads major head office functions including HR, training, finance, IT & marketing.
Ciara and her team have established market-leading recruitment and development strategies including the establishment of the VGC Academy to deliver a broad spectrum of L&D opportunities from apprenticeships through to behavioural competency development and a workforce leaders programme. These have made VGC a key partner on projects across the UK including Crossrail, Hinkley Point, HS2, Sellafield and Heathrow airport.
VGC has a well-established corporate social responsibility strategy focused on attracting new entrants to the industry, developing the existing workforce and supporting the wider community. As the first labour supplier in the UK to achieve the BRE 6002 Ethical Labour Sourcing standard in 2018, VGC demonstrated its ethical approach to recruitment and its commitment to eliminating modern slavery. Ciara believes that VGC’s approach to labour supply is helping to make the construction industry more diverse, safer and a preferred career choice.
Personal achievements include being listed in the Top 100 corporate influencers for modern slavery and the LDC top 50 ambitious business leaders.
Ciara and her VGC team have demonstrated that ethical practice, delivering social value and business success are not mutually exclusive.
Professional Development Consultant, RSA Group
Clare’s focus at RSA is to deliver and manage the organisations Apprenticeship strategy which includes upskilling and professionally developing existing employees through apprenticeship opportunities as well as recruiting and leading the school leaver and graduate programmes. Clare has a real passion for developing talent and her previous roles has seen her involved with Technology trailblazers and leading the way with degree apprenticeships.
2019 see’s Clare embark on her own apprenticeship journey by starting the L5 Learning & Development Consultant – truly practicing what she preaches.
Apprenticeship Coach, Coop Funeralcare
Colin has worked in the funeral industry for over 22 years completing all roles within the operational side of the business, including funeral service operative, funeral director and funeral arranger. In 2008, he joined the training department within Funeralcare and was involved in all types of training from induction through to personalised individual training for all roles from funeral service crew to managers. In 2018, Colin joined the newly developed team of Apprenticeship Coaches. They worked in conjunction with People plus to offer a standard apprenticeship to all operational roles. He generally looks after London, Kent and Sussex with over 50 apprentices on programme in his area.
Colin is married with two children and enjoys walking his dog as often as he can, going to the cinema and theatre, eating out and socialising with friends. Colin also enjoys the odd game of golf. He loves offering support and guidance to all his apprentices and loves seeing them achieve their apprenticeship and completing their end point assessment.
Daniell Morrisey is the Senior Editorial Early Careers Schemes Manager, responsible for the BBC’s production and journalism apprenticeship and trainee programmes. Previously Head of Talent for BBC Entertainment & Music and Factual Entertainment & Events, Daniell worked with the execs of shows from Strictly Come Dancing to Dragon’s Den, Top Gear, Children in Need, the Proms and ceremonial events. He was Head of Talent for BBC Comedy where he was responsible for recognising and recruiting Directors, Producers and Executives to develop, produce, and deliver award-winning comedy content for television, radio, and online. Prior to that, he was Talent Executive with BBC Children’s, primarily crewing CBeebies shows. Other roles included Business Manager with BBC Vision, the in-house production arm of the BBC comprising Factual, Entertainment, Comedy, Drama, Children’s and Multiplatform programming, HR Business Partner to BBC’s Entertainment, Comedy and Drama departments, and as head of recruitment for BBC NEWS.
Before joining the BBC, Daniell spent many years in the commercial sector recruiting journalists and editorial staff for print, interactive and broadcast sector, working with a range of companies including Virgin, ITV and AOL.
Daniell is an experienced career coach and, having started his career as a journalist and magazine editor, still writes about career matters.
Apprenticeship Training Advisor, Young's & Co PLC
I am David Everett of Youngs, I am on the front line of our Apprenticeship Training and Development. I am a product of the apprenticeship system and believe heavily in the importance of quality training & development for our work force in the hospitality industry. I want to raise the quality within the industry with fantastic training and development that I deliver with the apprenticeship scheme.
I can usually be found in our pubs or our training kitchen delivering skills & training to our apprentice’s and teams on everything hospitality. I facilitate in running all our apprenticeship courses from Commis, Chef De Partie and Hospitality Supervisor Apprenticeship to ensure we continue to innovate and push the boundaries in creating outstanding chefs and future leaders for Young’s at every level.
Alongside this I also ensure the Career Pathway is alive in all our pubs with workbooks and courses helping our people to develop into the fantastic leaders they choose to be. I plan and deliver our amazing Apprenticeship master classes from front to back and from demo’s to support functions. I push our apprentices’ boundaries to the next level of their development and careers. I embed skills, knowledge and behaviours for the success of our future leaders and culinary skills for our chefs alongside our career pathway. When I am not in the pubs, I am developing session plans, streamlining our delivery, building relationships across departments and keeping an eye on any changes that the government throw at apprenticeships.
Human Resources Specialist, Lloyds Banking Group
I'm Elaine Cowen and I'm currently working on both the design and delivery of Apprenticeships within Lloyds Banking Group. My role as an Apprenticeship Delivery Manager is all about ensuring colleagues have a great Apprenticeship experience that they enjoy, as well as developing their capabilities and skills to equip them for the future.
I started my career in Banking with NatWest Bank at the age of 16, where I undertook a number of specialist roles. After 12 years at NatWest I moved into Lloyds Banking Group which is where I started my HR Career and have been here ever since!
I’m a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and have worked in various HR roles within Lloyds Banking Group for the last 18 years. These have included HR Consultant, HR Business Partner, Change Manager, Relationship Manager as well as roles in Group IT. I love seeing the benefits that Apprenticeships bring to our colleagues and enjoy working alongside my other colleagues as part of the London Apprenticeship Ambassador Network.
Early Careers Talent Partner, ISG plc
Emma Simpson is the Early Careers Talent Partner at ISG plc, she has spent the last five years promoting apprenticeships and the opportunities they bring in the engineering and construction industries. Emma is passionate about skills and changing the image of the construction industry and has represented the construction industry on a number of panels.
Apprenticeship Programme Development, Capita PLC
I joined Capita PLC in 2019 and am responsible for the development and operation of our Apprenticeship Programmes for our 60000+ employees nationwide. I am proud to represent Capita nationally and enjoy engaging with our delivery partners, government agencies and funding bodies to deliver the best opportunities for our businesses and employees to develop, improve and change.
My love of the lifelong learning sector started when I became an Engineering apprentice with British Telecom and has continued and developed over the past 20 years.
I have been fortunate to work in many different and diverse sectors ranging from developing Outdoor Education and Activity apprentices, working with aerospace engineering apprenticeships and leading on trailblazers for the business and the charity sector.
The common thread throughout my career has been the firm belief that apprenticeships are uniquely placed to allow access to training and development for all, without the need for prior qualifications, helping to develop and realise the potential of all who engage with them.
Talent Manager, London Fire Brigade
Gurdeep is an innovative Talent & Skills professional with over 7 years of experience in 360-degree talent acquisition spanning trailblazers, attraction, design, implementation and recruitment.
She has delivered over 26 varying apprenticeships at Transport for London covering a broad range of programmes from HR, Engineering, Rail, Technology to Project Management to name a few!
She has also delivered apprenticeship governance, guidance and strategies and has now moved to the London Fire Brigade to lead on the firefighter apprenticeship and build their apprenticeship portfolio.
Gurdeep has done some impressive diversity, outreach and recruitment work which focuses on social mobility and accessibility. She hopes to build on this work at the London Fire Brigade.
Head of Training Academy and Talent, Essentia (Guy’s & St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust)
After reading for a degree in Religious Studies and Philosophy at St. David’s University College, Lampeter in Wales, James started his working career as a teacher of Religious Studies in secondary schools and rose quickly to become a Head of Department; a joint Head of House and a School Governor. James then diversified and worked for the Police Service for 10 years, firstly as a Training Manager for British Transport Police, then as a Learning & Development Manager for Surrey Police finishing with a two-year secondment to a Home Office organisation, The National Police Improvement Agency. Two years of running his own development consultancy followed which involved him also learning the skills of web journalism and media relations. James returned to public service working for Surrey County Council firstly as an Organisational Development Consultant and then for six years as a Learning & Development Business Partner.
James moved to Essentia in July 2019 and now heads up the Training Academy & Talent Team for the non-clinical directorate of Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. This puts him front and centre of the Directorate’s drive to increase the number of apprentices – both new starters and existing staff. The Directorate has the highest percentage of apprentices for their headcount across the Trust and have been set a recruitment target of 50 new starts in 2019-20. James is keen to lead from the front and is becoming an apprentice himself by undertaking a Level 7 Masters in Business and Management from January 2020.
When afforded some free time, James enjoys music and sport – both playing and spectating. James also works for a number of charitable organisations, including The Poppy Factory and the Maritime Volunteer Service. James’ major focus when not at work is his role as a special constable with the Metropolitan Police where he holds the rank of Assistant Chief Officer. James first joined the police back in 1993 and has served in four forces, including being Chief Officer of Surrey Special Constabulary. He was also until recently the National Secretary and Trustee of ASCO – Association of Special Constabulary Officers, which represents the voice of the special constabulary nationally. James is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, and holds Fellowships with the Chartered Management Institute; Learning & Performance Institute; Institute of Training and Occupational Learning and the Royal Society of Arts.
Learning & Development Manager, Planet Organic
A former HR manager, consultant and editor of HRreview, James now leads learning and development for ethical food retailer Planet Organic, including introducing and heading their apprenticeship programmes. For the last year, he has also been responsible for the company’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture, in which apprenticeships are already playing an important role.
James is also a qualified coach, a chartered member of the CIPD and has been the host of HRreview’s popular InsideHR webinar series since they began in 2015.
Managing Partner, Blue Engineering
James runs Blue Engineering, a company which took on an apprentice in its first year of operation in 2010 and has continued to build the business model around apprenticeships ever since. James thinks that the modern apprenticeship is amazing and gives far better value than the traditional A-levels-then-University-then-Job route that has become prevalent in our society. He is here to champion apprenticeships and to spread the word to the unknowing SMEs, school leavers and parents, that there is a better way to recruit or be recruited!
Blue Engineering is a Structural Engineering consultancy in London employing around 30 people with roughly half of staff on an apprenticeship. They have won awards for their projects, designs and for their apprenticeships. It is their efforts in apprenticeships which they are most proud of.
Their strapline is "We Make Things Stand Up" – they apply this not only to buildings, but to people also.
JEAN DUPREZ MBE
Managing Director, Duprez Consulting Ltd
Head of Professional Qualifications & Apprenticeships, Grant Thornton UK LLP
Joanne is a Chartered accountant with over 11 years of experience in the industry. Following a career in audit at a Big 4 Firm, Joanne undertook a new role which enabled her to input into the strategic design and implementation of firm-wide training programmes.
Since then, Joanne has worked at a large Training Provider; supporting a number of Professional Firms with their programme design and apprenticeship levy strategies, with a focus on delivering relevant skills at the right time. Now at Grant Thornton, Joanne heads up all professional qualifications and apprenticeships.
Office and Apprenticeship Development Manager, Perega
Julie currently works for Perega Limited as Office & Apprenticeship Development Manager, where she has gained nearly 20 years of experience within the engineering sector. During this time, she has been very successful in recruiting Under Graduates for the business working closely with local colleges and schools. When the Government announced plans to create three million apprenticeships by 2020, Julie knew this was something she wanted to become more involved with.
Julie presented to the Board why apprenticeships were the way forward to recruit throughout the business and following on from this Julie was asked if she would like to be responsible for recruiting apprentices for all the offices countrywide. We now have 2 apprentices in each of our Southend and Belfast offices, and Julie is hoping that her passion for apprenticeships will result with one apprentice in every of the five Perega offices each year.
Apprenticeship and Graduate Manager, Premier Foods
Julie became Premier Foods’ Apprenticeship and Graduate Manager in 2017 in preparation for the management of the Apprenticeship Levy. With a strong knowledge of the business and its people, having been a part of it since 2001, her focus has been on implementing a whole array of different apprenticeships across the business. The company’s aim is to upskill existing talent and recruit new colleagues to support succession. We have colleagues on apprenticeship programmes in engineering, IT, manufacturing, CI, HR, finance, administration, project management, marketing and food science. We’re committed to support apprenticeships so that talented individuals can ‘earn while they learn’.
Premier Foods has been part of the Trailblazer groups for the Food & Drink Standards and plays an active role in working with schools to raise awareness of working in the food industry which needs a
pipeline of highly skilled new talent.
Apprenticeships Lead, IBM
Kashif began his graduate career as a systems auditor with Price Waterhouse, and then moved into management consultancy. He joined IBM in 2002, as part of the PwC Consulting acquisition and continued his consulting career, specialising in Oracle ERP implementations and later Learning and Development, across various industries including public sector, petrochemical, utilities and financial services.
Kashif switched careers in 2013, joining IBM’s reputable Foundation programme, where he career-manages Early Professionals and led the Internship and CIC apprenticeship schemes. He now leads the overall IBM apprenticeship programme which covers 12 pathways ranging from Level 3 to 7.
Apprenticeship Programme Manager, HOB Salons
Over the years I have had many exciting career opportunities and have been amazed at the occupation pathways presented to me in this remarkable industry.
My mum is a hairdresser and I grew up wanting to be a hairdresser too, I loved the smells, the people and the buzz and excitement of life in the salon. I started training as a hairstylist the day after I left school, over 25 years ago, and completed the youth training scheme – the equivalent of today’s Apprenticeship. The diversities in my job roles have ranged from working in a vibrant West End London salon, developing my skills as a newly qualified stylist, running my own business and developing a full clientele, gaining my teaching and assessing qualifications and passing on my industry skills and knowledge to others by training students in the college. In the last 8 years I have worked closely with City & Guilds, as a consultant for qualification development and I am the author of 5 hairdressing and barbering textbooks.
I started teaching and assessing over 20 years ago, where my love of hairdressing and training has gone from strength to strength. My current job role is Apprenticeship Programme Manager at HOB Academy. Here, I train new assessors, and manage the hairdressing training team.
Sharing my skills and knowledge with new learners throughout my teaching career has been a highlight. Watching someone master the art of hairdressing or achieve their qualification to start their journey is what training is all about, and I love it.
Head of Organisational Development, Greensill Capital
Leah's career in HR has covered various elements including OD, Communications and Business Partnering. She has been fortunate enough to have worked in many business sectors and great companies – such Direct Line Insurance and sectors such as Retail, Finance, Insurance, and Hospitality.
Leah joined Greensill – a Fintech organisation, over a year ago, as Head of Organisational Development. She is responsible for the development of their colleagues across the Globe to ensure they can be the best they can. Her role starts from when a colleague joins Greensill by ensuring that everyone is supported through their induction, and then helping colleagues to grow through owning their development and career. Learning was a new function, so in the short time Leah has been at Greensill, they have been able to start some great learning initiatives such as their Emerging Talent Proposition, Induction Portal, Mentoring, Lead Apprenticeship programme and a Digital Learning Platform to name a few.
Leah's passion continues by seeing how people grow and advance their career through the development opportunities they have had. She has been involved in the Apprenticeship levy since it launched, and has witnessed the positive changes it has created for individuals. At Greensill, they are excited about continuing their “apprenticeship journey” and see LAAN as a great opportunity for them to learn from others and share some of their knowledge.
LORD TONY YOUNG
Apprenticeship Ambassador in the House of Lords
Lord Young of Norwood Green started work as a Telecom Apprentice in the GPO in 1958. Tony entered the House of Lords in 2004 after a distinguished career as a Trade Unionist.
In 2008 he was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Skills and Apprenticeships in the then Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
In 2009, as Minister in the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, his role extended to responsibility for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs. A former Governor of the BBC from 1998 to 2002; former Vice Chair of the Ethical Trading Initiative; member of the Armed forces Pay Review Board from 2005 to 2008. He has recently been appointed an Apprenticeship Ambassador.
National Programme Manager - Apprenticeships, Health Education England
Lucy has worked in the training and education sector for over 20 years and for the past 8 years, she has been working in the Apprenticeship arena.First leading the business development teams at 2 London FE colleges and for the past 4 years working for Health Education England offering strategic support to the NHS on all aspects of apprenticeship development, delivery and implementation.
She is very passionate about apprenticeships as a great tool to recruit new talent into the NHS but also as a way to upskill the existing workforce and offer career pathways and progression from Level 2 to Level 7.
Apprentice Specialist, CBRE
Head of Talent, Arriva
Arriva is a transport service provider that prides itself on the delivery of 2 billion passenger journeys per year. Having joined in 2016 I was pleased to discover that there was a great history of Apprenticeships in the organisation, with a large number of new starters having the opportunity to learn new skills through apprenticeships and many of the managers having previously been apprentices in Arriva.
Arriva is passionate about apprenticeships, having been involved in and led a variety of Trailblazer groups. The transition from frameworks to standards has resulted in Arriva offering a full range of Apprenticeships, from Bus / Train Driver, Engineer Apprenticeships through to Management and Functional Apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships are at the core of our colleague’s development, helping them, learn new skills, become the best they can be in their current role and supporting them to achieve their future career aspirations. We have many colleagues who excel in their roles, every day, none more so than our Engineering Apprentices, who regularly win the annual IRTEC Skills Challenge.
MARTYN PRICE MBE
Workforce Development Director, O’Halloran & O’Brien Ltd (OHOB)
Martyn Price, MBE, is currently the Chairman of the Cross-Industry Construction Apprenticeship Task Force (CCATF) as well as Workforce Development Director for O’Halloran & O’Brien. As a former apprentice Martyn went on to successful establish several construction businesses. His passion and values has always been aligned to people development, Martyn has consistently championed and actively supported the construction skills agenda and the development of apprenticeships throughout his career. Martyn represents the sector on main key strategic Board’s including the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (AAN). His work in this area was recognised by Her Majesty the Queen in 2012 for services to vocational skills.
Emerging Talent Lead, Mace Group
Michael has worked in Emerging Talent for 15 years managing both recruitment and development of graduates and undergraduates in the Retail, Construction and Banking sectors. Michael joined Mace in 2014 with a remit that includes supporting over 250 colleagues engaged in Graduate, Undergraduate and Apprentice and Trainee programmes. Mace’s approach to Emerging Talent has received a wide range of external recognition. In 2019, Mace had the highest ranking for a Construction company in the UK’s Top 100 Undergraduate Employers and won the award for Best Advanced Apprenticeship at the School Leaver Awards 2019. Mace has also been shortlisted in the ‘Apprenticeship Initiative of the Year’ category at the 2018 and 2019 Construction News Talent Awards.
Michael role includes support for Mace’s CEO in his role as Skills Lead for the Construction Leadership Council. Michael is currently the Sector Lead for the Institute for Student Employers (ISE) for employers in the Built Environment Sector and a member of the GLA’s Apprenticeship Advisory Group.
Learning and Development Director, CBRE
CEO, SustainHR Ltd
For the past 10 years Mike has developed multiple award winning recruitment, apprenticeship and diversity programmes in his role as Director for Early Careers at Barclays.
His passion is social mobility and diversity and during his time at Barclays he developed an apprenticeship programme that supported over 3000 long term unemployed people into work across all areas of the Barclays business.
Working with multiple third sector organisations, Mike has developed pathways into work for job seekers from all backgrounds including those with disabilities and over 50's talent.
His work has earned him a place on the Government's Apprenticeship Delivery Board and his programmes have won 24 national awards including from CIPD, BITC and Personnel today.
For three years he chaired the financial services trailblazer group developing new apprenticeship standards for the financial services sector.
For the past two years Mike has been a route panel chair within the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) where he has responsibility for chairing the employer panel that approves all new apprenticeship standards and T Levels for legal, accountancy and financial services.
He is a renowned speaker in the areas of diversity and skills and he has often featured on both national television and radio.
He recently set up his own business called, SustainHR Ltd supporting other companies to develop sustainable HR strategies: www.sustain-hr.co.uk.
Head of Emerging Talent, Skanska UK plc
Nick’s career in HR began as a Business Psychologist in the assessment and selection space, before branching out into wider talent initiatives and most recently heading up the Emerging Talent team at Skanska since 2019.
As one of the world’s largest and leading Construction and Development groups, apprentices are critical to the talent pipeline and future success of the business. Nick and his team manage the recruitment and development of around 250 employees studying apprenticeship levy funded courses, as well as that of the graduates and interns. Civil engineering, quantity surveying, mechanical and electrical engineering and construction management apprentices, among many others, play an active role in delivering critical building, infrastructure and building services projects ranging from hospitals and schools to HS2 and skyscrapers such as the Gherkin.
In 2020, Skanska were recognised as one of the top 100 apprenticeship employers in both the National Apprenticeship Awards and Rate My Apprenticeship awards.
UK Apprenticeship Manager, Amazon
Nicola Drury, UK Apprenticeship Manager joined Amazon in 2013. She led the UK training teams who were responsible for training thousands of associates each year on the processes which result in products being delivered to Amazon’s customers.
Nicola left for a short period and rejoined Amazon in 2017 as the UK Apprenticeship Manager where she has led Amazon’s efforts to create over 1000 apprenticeship opportunities over the last 18 months. Nicola has spent her working life in retail with House of Fraser, Debenhams and Marks and Spencer working across roles in HR and employee development.
Co-CEO, Leadership Through Sport & Business
Paul is Co-Chief Executive at Leadership Through Sport and Business, with a professional background in Young Peoples' services, Sport for Development , Mental Health, Homelessness, Education, and Employability Provision. Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB) is a registered UK charity empowering young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to fulfill their potential by preparing and supporting them into professional careers with major firms.
Previously, Paul was CEO at the national education and youth charity, UFA and before that Managing Director at the award winning charity Street League, a leading youth employability charity which changes lives through the power of sport.
With a strong record in achieving sustainable growth and development, he has been instrumental in securing numerous high value contracts, mergers, partnerships and funding opportunities across numerous service types.
Paul holds a First Class Honours Degree in Business and Management, a Diploma in Psychotherapy and qualified to Level 4 as a Teacher of Further Education. He is currently studying a Post Graduate qualification in Strategic Leadership and Management.
In 2009 Paul was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and proud to hold full membership of the Chartered Management Institute (MCMI).
Outside of work he is trustee of the Nottinghamshire learning disability charity REACH and has recently completed 10 years of chair of trustees at award winning sexual abuse and assault charity, ISAS.
Director, HOB Salons
Paul Simbler is Co-Director and one-third of the driving force behind HOB Salons. His hairdressing career started in 1975 at Robert Fielding in London, giving Paul a solid grounding in the industry. Working his way up through the ranks at an early age, Paul came together with lifelong friend Clive Collins to start HOB Salons.
The company was founded in 1983 with the opening of their first salon in Mill Hill, London. Akin Konizi soon became the third partner in the group and over 30 years on, HOB Salons continues to grow from strength to strength.
Now with over 700 staff and continuous growth through company-owned and franchise salons, Paul believes the company’s success has come from building strong foundations in education and from putting in place clear systems and procedures to ensure the HOB culture is ﬁltered from top level management right through to the Apprentices working on the salon floor.
BT Apprenticeship Manager, BT Group
Reg is an apprenticeship Relationship Manager for BT Global Services, BT Group and BT Technology. The roles involve working with each Customer Facing Unit/Customer Unit (CFU/CU) apprentice leads to ensure their apprenticeship programmes are compliant with government and awarding body policies. These activities include capturing annual apprentice bids from each of the CFU/CUs, acting as a subject matter expert on apprenticeships, liaising with the wider apprentice team to ensure quality support for apprentices as well as monitoring the apprenticeship completions/assimilation's into operational teams, and pay and reward.
Global service, BT Group and Technology are currently consumers of over 23 frameworks and standards, including Cyber security, Project management, digital technology solutions, ICT, chartered manager, software developer, network, HR and finance apprenticeship with a combined funding total in excess of £2,000 000. I engage with each CFU/CU apprentice lead on a regular basis to deal with queries, capture adhoc requests, analyse data to understand where apprentice programmes are meeting business needs and to identify how they can be improved from a skills and employee experience perspective. I also support them in creating a sense of excitement and enthusiasm for new approaches to develop and retain the very best apprentices for their business area. I am also an active member of the all parliamentary party group on apprenticeships, and co- chair an employer forum.
Senior manager, Education, Skills & Qualifications, Starbucks Europe, Middle East & Africa
Russell joined Starbucks in September 2015 and leads the partner (employee) skills programmes aimed at advancing opportunity for Starbucks partners through their time with the business and beyond. Russell also leads on a number of Starbucks priority hiring initiatives, including refugee and youth hiring
At Starbucks, Russell has helped to extend the Starbucks UK apprenticeship programme, including creating progression opportunities through the introduction of higher & degree level apprenticeships, as well as introducing apprenticeships in professional services within head office and field-based functions.
The Starbucks apprenticeship scheme is multi-award winning, including previously being named best Macro employer for London at the National Apprenticeship Awards, 2017.
General Manager, Royal Lancaster London
Sally Beck is General Manager of Royal Lancaster London, one of London’s largest independent hotels, with 411 bedrooms, three restaurants and bars and some of the largest banqueting space in Europe.
Sally recently led the team through an £85m renovation whilst keeping the hotel open. In early 2018, the hotel was announced as one of the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For, retaining its spot in the ranking for the third consecutive year.
As an Equal Opportunity employer, Royal Lancaster London is committed to constantly developing, maintaining and supporting equal opportunities across all employment matters. The hotel strives to create an equal balance between men and women at work, especially in regard to transfers, salaries, benefits and promotions.
Royal Lancaster London’s Apprentice Scheme gives youngsters the best possible training for a lifelong career in the hospitality industry. The two-year programme provides a hands-on learning experience where apprentices also gain academic qualifications, achieving NVQ Level 1 and Level 2 certificates.
As well as offering industry leading development schemes, the hotel aims to be ‘the happiest hotel in London’ and create an environment where each colleague can be the very best version of themselves every day. Corporate social responsibility initiatives have seen thousands of single use plastic bottles removed from the business in the past year and colleagues have had the chance to participate in bespoke engagement events that have included escape rooms and their very own exception experience.
Royal Lancaster London sits alongside businesses that display the highest standards of team engagement, proving that its colleagues are truly some of the happiest in hospitality.
Head of Apprenticeships, Brunel University London
With over 13 years’ experience within the apprenticeships and skills sector, across a variety of senior posts within education and third sector organisations, Sam is responsible for leading and implementing the levy strategy across Brunel, a global University dedicated to providing education and research relevant to the needs of industry and society.
Brunel offers a growing number of apprenticeship opportunities across Business & Administration, Catering & Hospitality, Construction, Digital, Education and Sales & Marketing. As part of his role, Sam is also leads the development of Higher and Degree apprenticeships across the institutions three colleges.
In his spare time, Sam supports a youth mentoring charity and acts as a subject matter expert for business related curriculum.
Head of Early Careers & Apprenticeships GB, Coca-Cola European Partners
Sharon has been in the business for 28 years in a variety of functions and roles. She joined the HR team 17 years ago, covering all elements of Supply Chain and now heading up the Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) Early Careers agenda for Great Britain.
Having spent the majority of her career developing young talent at the start of their careers, her current remit fits perfectly with her passion to create opportunities to support the next generation of young leaders. As part of her commitment, Sharon strives to work with strategic partners who challenge organisation’s approach to under representation of young people across all communities and works to create a level playing field in the recruitment process that might unconsciously deselect from those groups.
Sharon’s dedication and commitment to CCEP’s apprenticeship programme has been recognised by CCEP’s leadership team, as well as her peers and apprentices alike. She has received praise for her outstanding leadership of the programme, which has continued to grow and expand in line with the business’ Early Careers agenda. As well as recognition from the leadership team, Sharon is adored by the apprentices themselves, who see her as a trusted advisor and mentor.
Apprenticeship Manager, Entain Group
Stephanie has worked for Ofsted Outstanding rated training providers and set up employer providers. She joined Entain Group (previously known as GVC) in 2018, to advise our brands such as Ladbrokes Coral, Bwin, Gala Bingo, Foxy Bingo etc. on how apprenticeships can support new and existing colleagues with their development.
Entain Group are keen to enable and support the development of our new and existing colleagues and believe Apprenticeships are a key route to support this.
Global Apprentice Lead, GSK and LAAN Representative on the Diversity Champions Network
Having worked in generalist HR roles in Alstom, BUPA and BHP Billiton, I moved to GSK and was the Site HR Lead at their Ulverston manufacturing base. Whilst in this role I developed a keen interest in talent management and career development. Having established an apprentice scheme at the Site, I followed this passion and progressed to a role in GSK’s Talent Management Centre of Excellence, developing and growing their apprentice early talent route across multiple businesses and geographies. This award winning scheme is now helping 100+ people per year find paths into GSK and enabling them to progress their careers. I am also Chair of the Life Science Trailblazer. Having been based in the North West for a number of years I am a member of the NWAAN however as my job role is requiring more time to be spent at GSK HQ, I am looking to join the local London AAN here.
I split my time between GSK’s Head Office in Brentford, home in Manchester and sitting on the train.
Founder & CTO, Astro
Steve's career in IT started with a Post Office Telecommunications Apprenticeship in 1973. In 1979 Steve joined Cable & Wireless UK Services as a Service Engineer but in 1984 having risen to Area Manager - South East of England, Steve co-founded Astro Communications Ltd. Since founding Astro, Steve has been responsible for the design and delivery of some very innovative and challenging technology solutions including safety systems for the North Sea oil industry; global wide area networks; autonomous vehicle networks. During his long career Steve has been engaged to determine and resolve business threatening problems on some of the largest networks in the UK - public and private. He has also developed and delivered many bespoke training courses to train over 300 support engineers for organisations including: Bell Communications, Mercury Communications and The London Stock Exchange.
Steve has always been passionate about apprenticeships and has employed school leavers since 1988 developing them through internal and commercial training resources. All have had long and successful careers in the industry. Steve is a Court Liveryman in the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists’ where he supports a number of charities helping disadvantaged young people to access apprenticeships or higher education. Steve is a Trustee of the Charity IT Association and in 2018 he became an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals.
Early in Careers Resourcing Advisor, BDO
I joined the Early in Career team at BDO LLP UK in January this year. I recruit for Graduates, Interns, Apprentices and Summer School Students across the BDO offices in Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich and Reading.
I feel incredibly passionate about ensuring young students have all of the information available to them to make an informed decision about their chosen career paths. As employers, we need to be going into schools and engaging with students from a young age so they can understand the amazing opportunities available to them. Alongside this, we need to provide the tools to submit a successful application. I believe that organisations coming together and sharing best practice and challenges faced is a great way to build a movement.
Manager - People Advisory Business Consulting, Grant Thornton UK LLP
Tom's 5 years in advisory has been across both government and non-government funded programmes within the people space, including extensive work on apprenticeships. Tom delivers advisory services on apprenticeships to a range of private, public and non-profit sector organisations and programme manages the apprenticeship funded, leadership development partnerships with Cranfield University and Activate Business School.
Within the apprenticeship space:
- Co-ordinated the Business Administrator Trailblazer Group, creating the new Standard at Level 3, which has seen 5,000 enrolments 2016-2020
- Ran a national programme of 50 seminars on the Apprenticeship Levy with over 1,500 attendees in total, including sessions on behalf of local authorities, training providers and sector bodies such as ABTA, BRC and CFG
- Programme manage the leadership programmes with Cranfield University and Activate Business School, including specialist training delivery, course design and Executive Coaching with over 1,500 participants from 400 companies representing 15% of the FTSE 350, mid-market and non-profit sectors.
Before joining Grant Thornton, Tom was at a 'Big 4' firm and went on to complete a Corporate Services Leadership Scheme at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
After taking my A-levels, I was accepted into university but wasn’t sure if it was the right path for me. I joined Brakes in November 2017 as a Business Administration Apprentice and have since been made permanent as the Projects and Development Coordinator beginning my CMDA in October 2019. I now know that I couldn’t be happier about the decision I made.
I support the management of the apprenticeship programme and levy fund across Brakes Group, focusing on progress and analytics as well as visiting institutes of education and large events to ambassador apprenticeships.
Even in the last 18 months, I have seen a huge change of attitude towards apprenticeships which is great to be a part of! Although we have much further to go, I feel we are on the right path to making apprenticeships a first choice for many more people!