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Tom Russell

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Tom has worked in learning and development for 15 years, firstly as a Training and Operations Manager in the Army and Ministry of Defence, before moving into a role managing the trainee programmes at Bentley Motors in Cheshire. In 2022 he became the Learning and Development Manager at European Metal Recycling, a Global Sustainable Materials company based in Warrington.


Tom is passionate about raising awareness of the value of apprenticeships to individuals and businesses and developing sustainable talent pipelines. He is also a Strategic Board Member for the Cheshire and Wirral Maths Hub.

Tom is chair of the Northwest AAN


Lloyd Thomas


Lloyd is an experienced Training and Development professional passionate about the contribution that developing people and organisations can make to a business.


He started his career in Vocational Learning 24 years ago in Training Provision before moving into Corporate Talent and Organisational Effectiveness. Lloyd believes that work-based learning through Apprenticeships can really add value to support the talent and skills agenda within any business. He fully supports the benefits of learning on the job whilst gaining invaluable knowledge, skills and behaviours.


Lloyd has spent the past 10 years as Apprenticeship Partner at The Co-op and is passionate about Food retailing. He has previously very much enjoyed working with 3 leading retailers to integrate Apprenticeships into their training and development offer. Lloyd also chaired the Retail Trailblazer Group and currently chairs the Retail Quality and Skills Board.


Lloyd enjoys working at the Co-op because of its history, values and principles and truly believes that the Co-operative movement is an excellent start for people of all ages to begin or change their careers

Lloyd is an experienced ambassador and is a member of the NWAAN Board. 


Cath Robinson


Having worked in FE/HE sector for over 20 years Cath has been surrounded by apprenticeships and apprentices. In a previous role she had an apprentice working alongside her and saw daily the benefits this route gave to them. Completing her own apprenticeship is a very different experience to what Cath is used to; after leaving school she attended sixth form college for 2 years before continuing onto university to study a 4-year degree so after 24 years of undertaking only short qualifications, the transition to studying via an apprenticeship route has been quite challenging. However, she is reaping the benefits of improving her knowledge and subsequently transferring this into her day-to-day job.


With her insight, Cath feels that by no means an apprenticeship is the easy option that many people believe it to be and you will need to be able to balance working with studying. She has found this to be the most challenging part of her own apprenticeship, but the rewards far outweigh any challenge!


Cath is part of the NWAAN Board, linking apprenticeship work from the Lancashire sub-region.


Pat Jackson


Pat leads the Cheshire and Warrington LEP’s work on skills and education where she works directly with the LEP’s Employers’ Skills and Education Board to establish skills and education priorities.  

One of their top priorities has been to establish a Pledge network where employers work with local partners to inspire young people about new technologies and career opportunities.  Apprenticeship ambassadors and young ambassadors are integrated into our Pledge network. 

Pat is a member of the NWAAN Board linking apprenticeship work from the Cheshire and Warrington LEP

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Craig Watson


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


He has a passion for Apprenticeships and Training having gained all his qualifications vocationally. As part of the NWAAN Board he supports the region by linking with the DfE, aligning activities to meet the Business Plan objectives and develops relationships with local Combined Authorities, Careers Hubs, Apprenticeship Hubs  & sector bodies to promote interaction across the region.


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


Laura Kedward


Graduating in Business and Human Resource Management, Laura very quickly found her niche in Learning and Development. Working across a range of sectors, she has been instrumental in helping to develop the Metal Recycling General Operative apprenticeship through the Trailblazer working group. This standard was successfully launched in 2018 and went on to win Excellence in Learning and Development at the recycling awards. Following this success, Laura went on to support a progression route in perhaps an often-overlooked sector, developing the Metal Recycling Technical Manager standard. She has now turned her attention to engineering and digital for energy transition, continuing to follow her personal values aligned to sustainable practice.

Laura is the former chair of the NWAAN

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Mark Donnelly


Mark leads on apprenticeships for BAE Systems. With a 1st Class Honours Degree in Education, Mark spent several years in teaching before moving to the private sector for a 6 year period designing corporate training solutions for the automotive and pharmaceutical sectors. From 2007 to 2014 Mark worked in the public sector for the SFA/NAS and BIS before joining BAE Systems. Mark is passionate about apprenticeships, he is Chair of the Aerospace/Airworthiness apprenticeship Trailblazer group and supports the Maritime Defence Trailblazer group too, driving forward the design of new apprenticeship standards for the sector. Mark’s job role encompasses making policy and strategy decisions for over 1700 BAE Systems apprentices in the UK from Level 2 to Masters Level 7. Diversity and inclusion is an integral part of Mark’s work and he is an active employer member of the Government’s Apprenticeship Diversity Champion Network. Mark is a former Chair of the network.

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Kristal Kemp


Kristel is a Senior Engineer – Strategic People Capability and has worked within Early Careers since 2015 – predominantly within BAE Systems, but also undertaking roles with training providers specialising in the behavioural development of apprentices, graduates and early leaders.  From 2016 – 2019, Kristel led the Higher and Degree Apprenticeship programmes across the BAE Systems Submarines sites in the UK.  Currently she is specifically leading on the strategic development of Engineering Degree Apprenticeships at the site in Barrow in Furness.


Teacher qualified, and with stints in social care, policing and educational publishing, Kristel has always been passionate about supporting young people to grow their best possible futures.  Kristel is a strong advocate of apprenticeships being an excellent and robust route to career success. 

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Michelle Smith


Michelle is the Senior Apprenticeship Coordinator at STFC Daresbury Laboratory supporting Apprenticehsip Coordinators across multiple sites. STFC, as part of UKRI, promote world class science by fostering talented apprentices in the disciplines of engineering, science, digital/IT and business   Prior to this role, Michelle had over 20 years experience in the education sector supporting early careers and apprentices. She is passionate about developing people and their talents, recognising the big difference apprenticeships can make. Apprenticeships are an invaluable opportunity to learn from the experts on-the-job whilst undertaking high quality training at any point in a person’s career.

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Greg Mattinson


Greg is a Senior Learning and Development Advisor at Alfred H Knight supporting the global company to develop learning strategies to support business growth. With over 15 years of experience working in and around apprenticeships in multiple sectors at all levels. Working on the provision of apprenticeships for different providers and driving apprenticeship recruitment and progression within organisations Greg is a passionate supporter and advocate for apprenticeships.


Ema Marinho

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Ema is a Sociology graduate with 10 years of experience in the Education, Social, and Engineering sectors.
She’s passionate about driving diversity and social mobility via apprenticeships and traineeships, while passionately leading William Hare's Award-Winning Early Careers program.

Hare were listed in the 2023 Top 100 UK Apprenticeship Employers, have Platinum accreditation award from The 5% Club and were  winners of the 2023 Large Employer of the Year category by The 5% Club.

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Melissa Parlour


With over 13 years’ experience within the recruitment industry, Melissa has worked with Matalan for the last 11 years, recruiting for Store, Head Office and Logistics roles at all levels. She recently moved into a new role as Early Careers & Apprenticeships Advisor, a hybrid role between the Talent Attraction and Talent Development teams.

Responsible for all Early Careers channels including Apprenticeships, Kickstart, Traineeships, Work Experience, 12-month industry placements and graduates, Melissa has built strong relationships with training providers, colleges and universities across the UK and is always looking for new initiatives for Matalan to be part of.

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Kirsty Brennan

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Kirsty is a highly motivated and empathetic HR specialist with 30 years’ experience across all aspects of strategic and operational people management. Adept at delivering change and transformation programmes as well as initiatives that encourage employee engagement and support business growth. Breadth of sector experience (manufacturing industries, construction, sales, sporting NGB and Justice) enables truly innovative solutions to be explored, agreed and implemented.  In her role at WHL, Kirsty leads and manages all aspects of human resources, early careers programme, training and social impact/CSR activities and plays a crucial role ensuring our workforce is well-equipped, motivated and productive. 

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Charlotte Beaumont

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After graduating with a Masters in English Language and Linguistics, Charlotte quickly found her feet in the world of Apprenticeships and Early Careers with Culina Group. Working as part of the Emerging Talent Team, Charlotte began her journey supporting the LGV Driver Apprenticeship programme and managing the Licence Acquisition process for internal colleagues. She is currently focusing on Culina Group’s Graduate and Undergraduate programmes across a variety of Group businesses such as IPS and Culina Asset Management (CAM). Also working alongside Generation Logistics, Charlotte is committed to discovering and developing the next generation of talent within the Logistics industry, and is incredibly excited to work with the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network.

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Roxanna Joyce


Roxanna leads on apprenticeships at Tameside Council, working across the Council’s services and with Schools within the borough to promote and support the delivery of apprenticeship pathways. Having started with Tameside Council 8 years ago as an apprentice herself, Roxanna is passionate about recognising and advocating for the value that apprenticeships can bring to both employers and individuals in their personal and professional development.


Patricia Partington

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Tricia is the Apprenticeship Programme Manager for Screwfix. Initially beginning her career in retail she moved into management development and then to various roles in Apprenticeship delivery. Tricia now leads a successful apprenticeship team to deliver levels  2, 3 and 4 apprenticeships which support succession and career growth within Screwfix.

2023 marked Screwfix’s 3rd year in Apprenticeship provision as an employer provider with around 600 learners currently on programme. They also achieved their first entry onto the Top 100 employers list and achieved a Good grading in their first full inspection. Tricia and her team are dedicated to ensuring that their provision and delivery meets not only the apprenticeship standards but delivers future leaders to continue to support Screwfix’s growth.


Ashleigh Thorne


Ashleigh is the Clinical Nurse Manager for Risedale Estates which has four nursing homes in the Furness area. The nursing homes care for those with general nursing needs, complex nursing needs, dementia and behavioural needs. Ashleigh oversees the higher apprentices completed their Assistant Practitioner and Registered Nurse degrees, ensuring they receive the appropriate off the job hours, study time and placement hours. She is based in the training office, where the staff provide additional in-house training on a daily basis to upskill staff and enhance their knowledge. Risedale also provide level 2 and 3 Health and Social Care apprenticeships to both new and existing staff with the opportunity to achieve their functional skills in Maths and English.

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James Baker

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James Baker is an Early Careers Co-ordinator at Howdens, the UK’s number one trade kitchen supplier which provides thousands of products across kitchens, joinery, and hardware. Howdens is committed to supporting people from all backgrounds into employment, something that James has been actively driving forward through engagement with local organisations and managers. James is a graduate of Amazing Apprenticeship’s Genie Programme for 2022 and has also previously completed a level 3 apprenticeship. He is currently upskilling on the Level 6 Chartered Management Degree standard.

James is passionate about social mobility, diversity and inclusion and has this at the heart of everything he does. James is a keen advocate for apprenticeship, works to remove barriers to work, and ensure opportunities are accessible to all. 

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Sue Soper


Sue is the Payroll, HR & Practice Manager for Davenports and has a broad Corporate Banking work background. After being made redundant in 2010, she headed to the North-West to take on a number of new challenges.

Being with Davenports for nearly 3 years, Sue has brought her wealth of experience to bolster the customer focus of the business.  Sue is responsible for several the key elements relating to performance and is always keen to review and adapt to drive the business forward.

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Scott Davenport


Scott and his partner Jason established Davenport’s in 2000. Since then, both have worked hard to cultivate a strong and ethical business. With Scott’s experience as a Tax Director, Davenport’s are thriving by growing a strong team, teaching apprentice accountants and imparting his knowledge of Cloud Accounting, Tax Preparation, Business Planning, FRS and Accounting.


Since graduating from Oxford Brookes University in 1999, Scott has shown a strong accounting prowess that shows in the stature of our clients.

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Natalie Green

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Natalie leads on talent development, including the early careers provision at Konica Minolta Business Solutions UK.  A HR programme leader, with more than 15 years’ experience across HR specialist roles, leading programmes in a large FTSE 100 organisations.

Natalie is skilled in change management, business transformation, talent, leadership development, early careers and inclusion and diversity. Passionate about people, Natalie is excited to be part of the Apprenticeship Ambassador network, to share best practice and knowledge, collaborate and raise awareness of the value and importance of apprenticeships.

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Anne McKee


Anne has worked in the financial sector for over 20 years, spending the last 10 years with Praetura Asset Finance, rising through the operational ranks to lead the operations team in the role of Operations Manager.


With experience of all aspects of the apprenticeship journey, Anne started her career completing her NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Business Administration and Customer Service. Anne is currently studying towards the ILM L5 in Operational Management and has also played an integral role in introducing a working and successful apprenticeship scheme across the whole of the Praetura Group.


Anne was an inaugural member of the employee task force established at Praetura Group, helping implement community, wellbeing and environmental initiatives and is very much a champion of culture within the workplace, encouraging engagement and involvement from all members of the team.

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Ashley Roberts


Ashley is Apprenticeship Manager for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service. Her career has been spent leading educational settings from schools to universities and now apprenticeship provision. Gaining formal qualifications including MA & BA Education and Early Years and qualifying as a Headteacher in 2016. 

Ashley joined Merseyside in 2020 at the start of the Employer Provider journey and they have had almost 220 apprentices across multiple standards, with another 40 successful apprenticeships across the organisation. Ashley is also the Deputy Strategic Lead for Apprenticeships with the National Fire Chiefs Council and has since lead trailblazer groups to review and develop Apprenticeship standards.


Beccie Ford


Rebecca is the Recruitment Manager and Social Value ESG Lead for ES Steel and  is passionate about early careers, specifically apprenticeships within the Civil Engineering and Construction sector. Pairing this with being a STEM Ambassador, Rebecca’s strengths lie in career advice, educational pathways and interviewing/CV techniques. She enjoys working with Parents, Teachers and Students, broadening their knowledge of Civil Engineering, Construction and Apprenticeships.


Emma Barrett


Emma is an Apprenticeship Advisor at the Co-op, a large consumer co-operative owned but it’s millions of member. Her role is to manage Apprenticeship programmes in all our sites across the UK. Her focus is on Apprenticeships in Retail and Legal, as well as pan-business Apprenticeships and higher-level Apprenticeships.

Emma has supported Apprenticeships in the Co-op since 2018, working with multiple learning providers to deliver excellent programmes supporting our colleagues in their personal and career development. Her role also includes working with stakeholders across the business to help them to better utilize Apprenticeships to meet their training needs and to encourage them to support those new to work or seeking a career change.

She is such an advocate, she recently completed her own Apprenticeship: Level 5 HR Practitioner.

atalie leads on talent development, including the early careers provision at Konica Minolta Business Solutions UK.  A HR programme leader, with more than 15 years’ experience across HR specialist roles, leading programmes in a large FTSE 100 organisations.

Natalie is skilled in change management, business transformation, talent, leadership development, early careers and inclusion and diversity. Passionate about people, Natalie is excited to be part of the Apprenticeship Ambassador network, to share best practice and knowledge, collaborate and raise awareness of the value and importance of apprenticeships.


Jodie Litherland


The role of the education services lead at BAE Systems Submarines is to attract and recruit the next generation of talent onto our submarines apprenticeship programmes each academic year. The application window opens 1st Nov and closes 28th Feb. Before and during this time the education services team will deliver attraction activities to inspire candidates across craft, technical, business and engineering to apply for roles cross the business. The ambiton of the education services team is to attract the right people into the right roles that match their ambitions and skills. Are you ready to make a difference? You could be a pioneer, fast-tracking the future of BAE Systems through innovative technology and next-generation engineering feats. With our apprenticeships you’ll earn while you learn and receive job-specific training, experience and recognised qualifications that will kickstart your career. 


Aneesa Butt

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Aneesa has worked at Mettler Toledo for 2 years, a global manufacturer of precision and analytical instruments for the food and pharmaceutical industry. With a background in retail and recruitment, Aneesa is currently a Talent, Learning and Development Specialist and supports in early careers and apprenticeships. She is passionate about advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, and is dedicated to implementing better practices across the business unit. She is excited to be part of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network to collaborate with like-minded professionals and develop the apprenticeship programme at Mettler Toledo Safeline


Paula Taylor

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Paula Taylor is a Senior Human Resources Officer with over 20 years’ experience in HR. Currently working for Mettler Toledo Safeline a global company who manufacture metal detectors for the food and pharmaceutical industry. The site is based in Salford with over 300 employees. Paula has worked there for 8 years and started supporting the apprenticeship programme around 6 years ago. This involved Paula supporting the recruitment and selection process and ensuring all apprentices have a good apprenticeship experience. Paula also provides ongoing support to the apprentices especially with mental health and wellbeing. Paula has recently qualified as a counsellor which is utilised for ongoing support.

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Adele Rudenko

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Adele has worked for Tenet Consultants for over two years and in the last year, has moved into the early careers and Learning & Development side of the business, supporting Tenet's apprentices and advertising the company's ever-growing apprenticeship scheme. As someone who opted for a University pathway, since graduating in 2019, Adele has increasingly recognised the value apprenticeships bring to both the individual and company they work in and has become a keen advocate, regularly promoting apprenticeships at schools and colleges across the North West.  


Laura Forrest

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Laura is the Retail Training & Development Manager for Iceland and has worked in training & development for over 12 years and is currently focusing on her TAP Master Diploma. She has worked within retail for over 26 years and has a real passion for cultivating talent and developing capability. She is responsible for the retail training & development agenda that includes apprenticeships.


Although new to the network and with around 1200 apprenticeships and an award-winning apprenticeship programme, she wants to continue to share and contribute to the bigger apprenticeship agenda to ensure that they benefit both learner and business.


Lee Firth


Lee has a wealth of Apprenticeship experience from within the Construction, Engineering and Hydrogen sectors. Holding previous titles of Professional Development Manager and Technical Training Manager with NG Bailey, Head of Learning, Development and Social Value with ENGIE, Academy Manager with ITM Power and his current role of Group L&D Manager with OCU. Lee has successfully implemented schemes, training programmes and processes covering emerging talent (Apprentices and Graduates) and has promoted Apprenticeships through numerous events.

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Sophie Norris


In her role as Early Careers Manager, Sophie looks after all Apprentices at Bentley Motors, both traditional trainees and colleagues utilising the Apprenticeship pathway to upskill. She’s passionate about promoting and raising awareness of Apprenticeships as a pathway for anyone looking to develop, and works alongside Apprenticeship Ambassadors across Bentley to share real life Apprentice stories to inspire others to consider the Apprenticeship route.  


Rachel Mirfin


Rachel is Gen2’s School Engagement and Careers Lead, working across Cumbria to promote apprenticeship opportunities to young people. Rachel has a background in teaching and supporting young people in further education.


Tamisha Ancliffe

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Initially working for a national training provider, Tamisha moved into to the other side in organisations across engineering and public sector working within their Early Career teams. Tamisha joined James Fisher and Sons in 2023 as Early Careers Lead to develop and grow their Apprenticeship programmes across their UK and global business. Tamisha has always been passionate around Apprenticeships and by ensuring that we grow our Apprentice intake on a regular basis ensures that we are developing our own talent within a sector that has an ever-increasing talent crisis.


As an advocate for Apprenticeships and levelling the playing field across social mobility, she is excited to join the North West Apprenticeship Ambassador network, to share best practice and knowledge, plus raise further awareness of the value of Apprenticeships.


Julia Teale


Julia's career began in 1984 when she joined Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars as a business apprentice.  After gaining valuable experience across the business Julia focused her career on HR and particularly Learning & Development taking responsibility for Apprentice and Graduate development as part of her role as Skills Development Manager for Bentley Motors Limited. 

Passionate about apprenticeships, Julia is an advocate for developing the skills and knowledge individuals need to be successful in their chosen career path. Julia is delighted to be an Apprenticeship Ambassador to ensure potential apprentices and parents are clear on what fantastic Apprenticeship opportunities there are and also to encourage as many businesses as possible to recruit apprentices to boost their skills needs.

Julia has recently joined Mid Cheshire Hospital Trust, focusing on inspiring young people about career choices in the NHS.

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Sue Davison

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Sue has worked for Sodexo for 28 yrs. and has a background in Hospitality, Project and Operational Account Management, moving to Learning and Development in 2015. Since then, she has looked after apprentices in Sodexo, as Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers and led the organisation through a huge cultural change since the 2017 apprenticeships reforms. She heads up an award-winning team that supports over 1000 apprentices each year across all 6 levels, working with over 25 providers and self-delivering apprenticeship programmes in Sodexo’s Justice business, as an employer provider. She is passionate about the value apprenticeships bring and proud to wear her ambassador badge.


Matt Chamberlain


Matthew has been the Wirral University Teaching Hospital’s apprenticeship lead for five years, implementing new apprenticeship standards and supporting 500 individuals into the healthcare sector. Matthew is also responsible for the Trust’s vocational development agenda, providing structured pathways and opportunities via ‘entry into employment’ programmes, work experience and volunteering. Before joining the NHS, Matthew supported long term unemployed into transport sector specific roles across the Liverpool City Region.”

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Steven Molyneux

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Steven works for Great Places Housing Group as their Future Talent & Succession Specialist as part of their Colleague Experience and Development team. His role is to oversee their talent development programmes, primarily focusing on their Apprentice & Graduate scheme, Growing Greatness. He ensures the successful end-to-end management, recruitment, and delivery of these programmes, with the aim to support succession and progression within the organisation. In addition to this, he also supports with wider employment offers in conjunction with other teams and building strong links with local schools for work experience opportunities.


Before joining Great Places, Steven had worked in the education sector, both private and public, supporting hundreds and hundreds of people into apprenticeship opportunities across the Northwest. He started his career as a Business Administration Level 2 apprentice so he can provide real examples from his own experience to inspire future apprentices.

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Dawn Smith

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Dawn has over 13 years’ experience in the management of Apprenticeship & Graduate programmes, mainly within Real Estate, Construction & Engineering.  In 2021, Dawn joined Trafford Housing Trust (THT) a profit-for-purpose housing association with a mission to make society fairer for everyone, as their Emerging Careers Advisor.  She is extremely proud to work THT who strive to make a difference, have a passion for social justice and a strong history of supporting Apprentices.


Dawn is passionate about spreading the word of Apprenticeships and the opportunities they present to everyone.  She is excited to join the Apprenticeship Ambassador network, to share best practice and knowledge, plus raise further awareness of the value of Apprenticeships. 

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Samantha Ventre


Sam has worked with Apprenticeships for 10 years now. Starting her journey as an Apprentice herself when she joined the Skills Funding Agency as a Business Administrator, completing her level 2 Apprenticeship. Then moving on to join the National Apprenticeship Service to achieve her Business Administration Level 3 and 4 Apprenticeships. Following on over the years she has continued her career within the Education sector around the promotion and delivery of Apprenticeships, working in both the private and public sector. Before recently joining the Learning & Organisational Development Team within St Helens & Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust, to lead on Apprenticeships and Functional Skills.


From the very start of her career Apprenticeships have always been at the heart of everything Sam has done and continuous to do. Sam is passionate about the success Apprenticeship’s have to offer and how the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy has made them more accessible to all. Her goal, as it has been throughout her career, is to raise the profile of Apprenticeships and to educate those who underestimate them, especially within the Health Sector.


The NHS has fantastic opportunities to build individuals skills, knowledge and confidence and opens up a wealth of possibilities for future careers.


Alys Reeves


Alys has been an Apprenticeship Manager for the past 10 years, having been Director of Finance for a Training Provider previously to that.  She made the move from Provider to Employer initially to The Co-op, helping them set up their Apprenticeship Academy as the Apprenticeship Quality Manager.  Alys was then Apprenticeship Manager for Lockheed Martin and then returned to retail as Early Careers Manager for Argos, until the acquisition by Sainsbury’s saw the rationalisation of Argos’s L&D and HR functions.  She has been Apprenticeship Manager at Spire Healthcare now for 2 years and is still getting her head around the intricacies of the healthcare sector with sector regulatory bodies such as the NMC and HCPC adding to the complexities of the apprenticeship offering.  Last year Spire Healthcare recruited the largest ever intake of  Adult Nurse Degree Apprentices with 165 being employed across their 35 English hospitals, increasing the number of Apprentices within Spire to over 500.  This reflects Alys’s passion for apprenticeships and the benefits they bring to an organisation. 


Lucy Kidson


Lucy is the Apprenticeship Programme Manager at AJ Bell plc.  Lucy joined AJ Bell in 2017 to lead and develop their apprenticeship programmes having spent the previous 13 years with a global accountancy firm. Lucy works with schools and colleges in the north west to promote AJ Bell’s apprenticeship opportunities, including digital degree and investment operations apprenticeships.  Lucy also oversees the financial and compliance aspects of the apprenticeships AJ Bell deliver as employer providers.

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Jack Armstrong

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Jack is the Apprenticeship Co-ordinator and joined Oldham Council on a traineeship in 2018 working within the Economy & Skills sector where, after being exposed to the work being done around apprenticeships internally at the council & externally within the borough, he moved into the Apprenticeship Co-Ordinator role. The main aim of Jack’s role is to create quality career pathways within the organisation and apprenticeships are the key to this, bringing in new talent, as well developing the staff they already have. He takes an active lead in this and is currently undertaking a Level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor apprenticeship to further his own development.

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Molly Whelan


Molly is an NHS Vocational Development Manager, her work spans apprenticeship management, widening participation - ensuring opportunities are open and accessible to all, along with volunteer management. Her background is in management in the third sector. Molly has always been passionate about apprenticeships and providing opportunities for young people. She has completed her CIPD L5 apprenticeship and is now on the Level 7 Senior Leaders apprenticeship and is excited to be part of the network.

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Johnny Mathieson


Johnny is the Emerging Talent Manager for Siemens Digital Industries where he manages the graduate and internal apprenticeship programmes. He plays a key role in the Siemens Emerging Talent steering committee, and monitors their programmes’ effectiveness, drives improvements, and provides strategic direction.


He started his career as an apprentice Electrical Engineer, progressing on to roles as an Engineering Manager, College Lecturer/Senior Assessor/Internal Verifier for Engineering and Management qualifications, Apprenticeship Manager, runs his own professional education consultancy and latterly as national account manager at OneFile, enabling Siemens to adopt their portfolio management system that many of their apprentices use today. He joined Siemens Digital Industries from Siemens Energy where he held an apprenticeship governance and quality assurance position including managing and co-ordinating awarding bodies.


Spencer Harrison


20 years' experience in the teaching, delivery and management of operations, quality and contracts in education and work-placed learning. Development, implementation and oversight of Apprenticeship and Early Careers Strategy and levy account across EG Group and all partner brands, including delivery of internal work placed learning programmes, Private Training Providers and performance management of apprenticeship programmes across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Widened apprenticeship curriculum to achieve a responsive, data driven offer aligned to business needs, people planning and increase Levy spend.


Edd Draper


Edd is the Training Manager at Guinness Property with over 10 years’ experience of working in education and training. Roles have included – PE teacher, Head of Year and personal development coordinator (secondary school) and quality manager for an independent training provider. He has a particular interest in information, advice, guidance and careers support for young people.

Edd has vast experience of working with Apprentices in a range of sectors and has experience of working with disadvantaged groups, including running employability and traineeship programmes. He enjoys self-development and is currently completing a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership.

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Ryan Kennedy

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Ryan is the Apprenticeship Programme Coordinator for Electricity North West and has experience in Apprenticeships for over 5 years. Upon leaving College, Ryan decided to go down the apprenticeship route, completing a Level 3 Digital Marketing apprenticeship, progressing onto the Level 4 Project Management standard.

Ryan is responsible for Electricity North West’s Level 3 Apprentices and is a keen advocate of Apprenticeships. He has seen and experienced first-hand the benefits of an apprenticeship, and the many opportunities available.


Chris Havard

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After a post university career in retail management Chris has spent the last 18 years working in the apprenticeship sector, originally as an assessor and then setting up a City and Guilds/ILM training provider. In the last 10 years Chris has moved across into developing and managing apprenticeship programmes for businesses, initially with where he designed an apprentice and graduate programme for multiple disciplines across the group incorporating the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. In 2017 Chris was approached to revamp the Electricity North West Apprenticeship programme and has spent the last 4 years building an award winning programme that is now delivering for the business. Chris has delivered talks at schools, colleges and universities and has presented twice at the Apprentice and School Leavers Conference supporting other companies and encouraging people into apprenticeships.

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Sam Johnston


I have a huge passion for helping the communities we live and work in. I am responsible for Brother UK's talent programme, employee engagement, cultural development and corporate communications. I spend my time helping to build strong relationships in the local community, enabling job opportunities for young people, helping them to become "work ready" by offering employability training, coaching and mentoring and insight and support into the world of work. I am a huge advocate for apprenticeships and vice chair our local Tameside Apprenticeship committee, I also sit on the GM Digital industry board, where we  collaborate to help bridge the gap between business and education, offering experience and understanding of industry needs.

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Kate O’Callaghan

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Kate started her career in the military almost 20 years ago, on exit she completed her own apprenticeship followed by a degree in business management.  The past 12 years have been spent in L&D, specifically experiential learning and more recently apprenticeship delivery too. 


Now working for a training provider, Skern Training & Skills, who not only deliver apprenticeships but also behavioural development programmes through experiential learning. The company also employs around 150 apprentices annually.  Kate is passionate about developing people and apprenticeships, working with many employers across the UK to design and develop unique and engaging programmes.    

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Jacqui Kawczak

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Jacqui has been the Apprentice Programme Delivery Manager at United Utilities since 2012 and has worked within apprenticeship provision for over 20 years so brings a wealth of experience with her. Jacqui is extremely passionate about apprentices and developing people whilst on programme. With a keen eye for quality, Jacqui ensures that all on their apprenticeships at United Utilities whether that be internally delivered or externally delivered are supported so that they can reach their full potential.


Jonathan Aghanian


Jonathan is responsible for the operational delivery and multi-faceted coordination of the Apprenticeship Scheme at STFC Daresbury Laboratory.  Predominantly their apprentices work in Engineering, Computing, and Project Management roles. However, Daresbury has a wide-range of apprentices working in various roles, disciplines, and levels across all departments – from early-career school leavers, right through to senior managers.


Jonathan has many years of experience working across various youth/employment projects and strongly believes apprenticeships provide sustainable, rewarding careers at any stage in your working life.


Victoria Douglas


Victoria has over 10 years’ experience in early careers working for large and Macro organisations across multiple sectors including engineering, professional and business support services. She is an advocate of apprenticeships as a route to recruit and develop organic diverse talent. Victoria’s career highlight was being awarded highly commended macro employer with Interserve in the Midlands regional finals of the National Apprenticeship Awards 2016.


Victoria is open to supporting other organisations to explore the benefits of apprenticeships.

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Kelly Woods


Kelly is the Assistant Director of the NHS North West Leadership Academy supporting system leadership & talent development. Developing those who lead in the NHS to flourish and empower our health care workforce, which ensures better health, care and wellbeing outcomes.

Kelly has more than 15 years’ experience working within people and organisation development and has recently completed a Senior Leadership master’s degree Apprenticeship at Huddersfield University. She values apprenticeships for early career route entry and sees the potential they can provide to people to enable them to progress within their careers. She would like to support people to know more about the value of being and having an apprentice and the vast amount of careers which are on offer within the NHS.

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Ian Lenehan

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Ian is the Recruitment Manager for McCann Manchester, overseeing their Apprenticeship programme. As an agency McCann are proud to have been investing in Apprentices since 2011 and they are delighted to see many who started on the programme, still progressing their careers with them. Ian believes wholeheartedly in the importance of investing in future talent and the Apprenticeship scheme is an essential part of this, enabling young people to experience agency-life whilst developing the skills required to pursue their careers. The energy, enthusiasm and passion Apprentices bring to McCann is a key part of their culture and something he would recommend to all employers.

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Su Matthews


Su leads on Apprenticeships at Greater Manchester Combined Authority as an employer and an employer-provider for the Operational Firefighter Standard. She is passionate about learning and Apprenticeships and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to be the best they can in their work and career. This passion has been evident in GMCA being ranked in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers for two years in a row (and improving on that ranking!) and the recent Ofsted report where the Overall Effectiveness of the Apprenticeship provision was graded as Good by inspectors. 

Prior to working in Learning and Development Su worked for the National Careers Service and she has taken much of the experience into her role.  


Charlotte Webster


Charlotte has been part of the Early Careers team at First Response Finance since 2017, working as an Early Careers Mentor supporting the students through their apprenticeship. The reason she got involved in apprenticeships is that she can see the value in them.


Charlotte started her career using the more 'traditional' route of university full time then employment, however, if she had her time again, she would of have done a degree apprenticeship. Having apprentices in the business has made a big difference to processes, change and creative thinking. Charlotte looking forward to being involved in the network and supporting apprenticeships for the future.


Lee Wright


Lee started his career working for an apprenticeship training provider working with local and national businesses, sector skill councils and the National Skills Academy for Retail. Lee moved to the other side of the table, providing talent management and apprenticeship strategies for organisations in a variety of sectors such as retail, social housing, rail and manufacturing including gaining employer provider status for a number of businesses. In 2019, Lee joined Encirc to develop its internal and external talent programmes, with the exciting launch of the ‘Ignite’ programme in early 2020 across the UK and Europe.


Paul Drew


After working in digital marketing and apprenticeships for over 20 years Paul set up Apprentify, to answer two simple questions – 1) how can businesses harness digital apprenticeship talent to drive growth & 2) how can apprentices get access to the very digital opportunities to set their careers alight. It’s a simple concept that takes the very best digital marketing training & harnesses them with innovative training techniques & technologies to meet business growth needs. It’s not just about knowledge transfer it is about the application & impact on a business and a person’s career much further on than training/development.

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Linzi Monks


Preston College has recruited many apprentices within their Business Support team over the years.  This has been a beneficial experience for them as a business and for the individuals.  Preston College is proud to boast that a number of their Team leaders, Assistant Team leaders and middle managers first started out as apprentices  and have risen through the ranks. By taking on new talent year on year they are able to keep their business practices current and train home-grown talent.  This supports a fabulous culture of opportunity and keeps all staff engaged and motivated, for those apprentices that have moved on Preston College has been pleased to be part of their journey and all have progressed to the next steps of their career.

The apprenticeship programme is a really good way to either bring new talent into your business or develop existing staff to reach their full potential in your business.  Either way you are guaranteed to increase productivity and quality.


Charlotte Knowles


Elektec are passionate about taking on apprentices of all ages, upskilling and making a difference within Lancashire.

They have recruited 5 apprentices within the last year and feel Apprentices bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the workplace.  Charlotte feels it is a pleasure to see them blossom, grow and gain new skills. In Elektec the competition is high so candidates should offer to complete work experience for free to prove yourself and capabilities,  take photos of your work and achievements, build a portfolio of experience and skills. Read up about the company before you apply or attend any interviews.  Follow them on social media to get an insight into their ethos and work.


Becky Toal

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Since 2010 we have recruited several apprenticeship in Business Admin, Project Management and most recently Team Leading. The skills brought into the business have helped us to grow, increase our turnover and remain profitability. We have signed the Lancashire Skills Pledge and are committed to providing quality apprenticeships, paid internships and training to all of our staff. It is a very positive step to ensure good succession management, to demonstrate that you take up-skilling your staff seriously. It will also make you an employer of choice – somewhere that people actually do want to work and are proud to work with you on your team.

We won 2017 the top 100 Apprentice Employer of the year, which was great and a real positive boost to our social media and brand awareness.


Alice Bennett


Apprentices enrich any organisation. Their focus on learning at work is inspirational. When a person, whatever age they are, takes on the commitment of an apprenticeship, it almost guarantees a two- or three-year commitment to your organisation which can never be guaranteed in any other employee. Alongside that commitment is the current knowledge that they bring as a result of their up-to-date learning, especially on crucial legislation such as GDPR and health and safety. 


Apprentices are committed to their development and it is a joy to engage with them on organisational matters as they will be seeking opportunities to be seen, heard, trained and retained. The investment in each apprentice often results in loyalty to the organisation. It is a myth that they need a lot of supervision; the training provider is an invaluable source of support to ensure that their competence levels constantly improve.


James Beardwood


As a member of the Learning Development Team at Lancashire County Council James works with Lancashire's services and schools in utilising the procurement of apprenticeship training from training providers, colleges and universities across the region.  Lancashire County Council now have over 891 apprentices including those that have completed their apprenticeships that we have helped since April 2017.


Apprenticeships allow you to enjoy the opportunity to be able to learn on the job with time served experience, it's an invaluable opportunity to build experience from grassroots. James wouldn't hesitate  to recommend the apprenticeship route as it’s a great opportunity to shape and mould skills for the workforce of tomorrow with real world experience plus the opportunity to boost the local economy.

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Neil Horner


Neil's career and life has benefited from being an apprentice. He havs recruited apprentices, worked with and coached apprentices within construction and project engineering contexts enabling them to grow through technical challenge, engaging with peers, leading initiatives and contextualising learning to industry & business objectives.

Neil  continues to maintain close contact and respect for peers who have developed their business skills through apprenticeships progressing to realise business and industry success through maintaining their personal commitment to proving and applying themselves to every challenge.


Kirsten Burnett


Kirsten is the Head of Policy and Organisational Development at Hyndburn Borough Council. Using apprenticeship standards, several members of staff have gained new skills and qualifications which have included areas of national skills shortage, for example e.g. the LGV apprenticeships have helped with drivers in waste service – it helps also helps provide career progressions.  The council is able to attract younger people, in particular through the use of degree apprenticeships, this not only brings fresh new skills but also a different outlook which helps them better reach a range of customers.  In some cases they have worked with colleagues across the region by sharing apprenticeship training -this is excellent for networking. Kirsten's advice to other employers is to look at the full range of apprenticeship levels, not just entry level.  Providing a degree opportunity will attract brilliant candidates!

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Emma Fitsimmons

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Emma is the Senior HR and OD Business Partner at Forbes Solicitors. where they have supported and delivered apprenticeships for a number of years and this has contributed to the organic growth of the business by developing their existing members of staff and allowing them to be promoted to different roles within the organization. Hiring an Apprentice can lead to a committed and skilled workforce, especially if there is scope for advanced routes in time. They will help to develop and retain your workforce and can also bridge any skills gap(s) you may identify.


Apprenticeships also allow existing colleagues to develop mentoring skills by way of supporting an Apprentice. Emma's advice to other employers is speak to your potential Apprenticeship provider to understand what the requirements are from the business in terms of supporting the Apprentice, the training provided and any ‘off the job’ training time, once you determine whether you can fully support an Apprenticeship in the workplace….go for it!

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