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Laura Kedward

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Laura joined the Board in 2019 and is the Chair of the NWAAN. Graduating in Business and Human Resource Management, Laura very quickly found her niche in Learning and Development. Working across a range of sectors, she gained a wealth of experience before working on a number of projects at European Metal Recycling Ltd. 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 this perhaps often overlooked sector, developing the Metal Recycling Technical Manager standard.

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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 trainee programmes at Bentley Motors. He is now extremely proud to work for a company with such a long tradition of supporting Apprentices but also keen to ensure that the knowledge, experience and expertise is shared to others.

 

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 and contributes to the Automotive and Digital Trailblazer groups.

Tom is a member of the NWAAN Board.

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Lloyd Thomas

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

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Tim Cutler

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Tim initially trained and worked as a professional chef for 17 years but for the past 19 years he has worked in apprenticeship/ work-based learning & education area, having taught & assessed in the catering & hospitality sector. Tim roles have included leading, managing and developing curriculum across several other sectors both in private training provider and colleges.

 

As Manager of the Lancashire Work Based Learning Forum Tim supports colleges, private training providers and universities across the county. The Forum enables him to work closely with the LEP and Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub to develop skills and careers through projects and initiatives. He has always been an advocate of influencing policy and reform for the benefit of the apprentice, employer and training providers. Tim is part of the NWAAN Board and leads the activity for the Lancashire sub-region.

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Georgia Fitzgerald

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The Juice Academy is a not-for-profit Digital Content Marketing Apprenticeship programme which was founded in 2013. Georgia has managed The Academy for over three years and helped create over 200 jobs, working closely with both employers and apprentices.

 

She is a voluntary Enterprise Advisor through the Greater Manchester Combined Authority initiative - BridgeGM and is a committed member of the skills committee at Pro-Manchester, which represents the business community across the region to promote the North as the place to do business.

Georgia is a member of the NWAAN board.

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Mel Dodd

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Mel leads the Apprenticeship Support Service by Be-More  (formally Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub) in partnership with the Combined Authority. Leading a highly skilled, enthusiastic and innovative team who inspire residents on the amazing apprenticeship opportunities in Liverpool City Region (LCR) she supports the growth in the number of vacancies available with our highly successful Employer & Apprentice Ambassador programme.  

 

Mel started her career as a Trainee at the Liverpool Playhouse Theatre and has worked for the last 25 years locally, nationally and internationally within the Education, Business and Skills Sector. This includes 14 years working directly as part of the Senior Leadership Team, both operationally and strategically in the public and private sector, leading on contract management, business strategy, development and transformation.  Seeing individuals achieve positive outcomes into Apprenticeships makes Mel’s job one that she passionately loves. Mel is part of the NWAAN Board and leads the activity for the LCRCA sub-region.

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Pat Jackson

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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 AAN and the LEP

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Mark Donnelly

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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 the former Chair of the network.

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Jim Murphy

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Jim has taken Iceland’s apprenticeships from 0 to over a 1000, ranging from level 2 to level 5. Jim is also a trail blazer in a number of apprenticeships in retail where he can offer up his advice and experiences across the board.  He has experience with frameworks and standards relating to apprenticeships, this means he can advise and support across a number of businesses, which he has done so with companies such as Ikea and Timpson.

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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.

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James Richards

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James started as a mechanical apprentice at 16yrs old when he trained to become a mechanical design technician. After returning to university full-time he graduated with a Batchelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Since then, he has held many different engineering roles in several industries James’ career has migrated into engineering management and has covered several Learning and Development areas including early engagement and outreach, apprenticeships, higher education, graduate programmes, strategic workforce planning. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and a Member of the Permanent Way Institution (PWI). I mentor developing engineers as they work toward chartership for the IMechE, PWI and Institution of Engineering Technology (IET); and interviews professional engineers who aspire to become Chartered themselves through the IMechE. 

Recently he set up a charity to engage young people and to help them to understand the world of academia and how this links with careers and career progression using learning activities like the Constructing a Life on Mars programme (CALOM).  In recent years James has developed some award-winning outreach programmes and recently received the Innovation in STEM Inspiration award from STEM Learning. He is an HRH Ambassador for the Industrial Cadets, an Ambassador for the PWI (Permanent Way Institution) and now an Ambassador for the Apprenticeships Ambassador Network.

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Anne Ashworth

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Anne was educated in Scotland and England where she lived on the Queen Mother's estate as a teenager. She  joined the Womens' Royal Naval Service and was the first unofficial WRN at sea.

Anne has over 30 years experience and expertise working in the FE & Skills Sector.where she has worked for a number of awarding organisations. She has been an inspector for the sector since 1999 and has worked at Pearson Plc since 2015.

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Paul Marshalsea

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An experienced learning and development professional, with specialism in outdoor experiential learning. Paul leads Outward Bound’s® Early Careers Business Development team on the work they do in developing behaviours and skills of apprentices, graduates and early talent from organisations across the UK. Focusing on the development of workplace behaviours such as: self-management, team working, confidence, resilience, influence, planning, leadership and enhanced communication (which can be funded from Apprenticeship Levy)  skills that enable individuals to be better equipped for their careers.

The Outward Bound Trust deliver powerful experiential change focused on individual awareness and team behaviours. Using a high challenge, outdoor environments, they are able to create unique learning environments that accelerates both the depth and time of learning in individuals and provides a safe setting for them to explore their potential.

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Sam Johnston

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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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Victoria Douglas

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Victoria has over 10 years’ experience in apprenticeships. Initially working for a national apprenticeship training provider she supported other blue chip organisation across a wide range of sectors develop their apprenticeship strategies. Since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy Victoria has worked in large and Marco businesses, developing apprenticeship recruitment and development programmes.  Victoria’s specialism is in engineering, though she has a broad knowledge of apprenticeships including project management and leadership and management and leadership programmes.

Victoria’s career highlight was being awarded highly commended macro employer with Interserve in the Midlands regional finals of the National Apprenticeship Awards 2016

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Kim Holmes

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

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

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Lee Wright

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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.

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Andy Baker

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Andy has been involved in training for 20 years and apprenticeships for 5 and through this time has been a Trainer, Consultant, assessor and IQA. Before this he was a Sales Director, involved in Selection, Recruitment and Training as part of his role.

He feels lucky to have trained in 31 countries in a huge variety of environments and he is a passionate believer in Apprenticeships. The opportunities for people now to learn new skills on the job are fantastic and he believes more and more people will realise that.

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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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Kate Proctor

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I’m the Emerging Talent Partner at AO responsible for the attraction, onboarding and ongoing development of our Apprentices. Originally starting in the recruitment team almost 8 years ago I now have the absolute pleasure of working with our future talent and developing their skills. I also manage and run our Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award programme here at AO, which helps our Apprentices develop a whole host of skills from confidence, self awareness through to strengthening their communication skills particularly when working in a team setting.

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Sarah Eckersley

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Working previously as a HR generalist Sarah became involved in the amazing world of apprenticeships when she joined Trafford Council about 4 years ago. Currently she leads on all internal apprenticeships and the management of the apprenticeship levy. Sarah is hugely passionate about apprenticeships and the role they play in developing current and future workforce talent. She truly believes apprenticeships are the best way for people to learn as you can do them at any age, in an ever growing number of areas, whilst gaining invaluable experience. She is excited about becoming an Apprenticeship Ambassador to spread the word about how great Apprenticeships are.

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Paul Drew

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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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Ruth Runacus

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Ruth started her career working for welfare to work and apprenticeship training providers, working with local and national businesses, supporting young people into apprenticeships in finance, business administration and customer services.

 

Since 2017, Ruth has provided early careers talent management and apprenticeship strategies for Canal & River Trust. Thrives on supporting departments to recruit and retain the right staff and support them to build long term resource plans, always using a consultative approach.

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Deborah Barker

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I have come from the world of learning and development rather than from a traditional apprenticeship background. I have entry this wonderful and enabling world which offers opportunities for all at any age.  I am passionate apprenticeships and what is available. The breadth and depth of what is available constantly amazes me.  I am overjoyed to join the ambassador network to represent Healthcare apprenticeships in the private sector.

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Emma Blackburn

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Emma is responsible for creating, implementing and managing a high-impact and meaningful apprenticeship programmes to the individuals and the wider business. This year Booking.com has been named as one of the top 100 employers offering apprenticeships and has also been shortlisted for the apprenticeship programme of the year by the Learning and Performance Institute.

 

She has a background in supporting Greater Manchester skills initiatives including, supporting small to medium companies establish and grow apprenticeship programmes within the area. She’s passionate about raising awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships and believes they are an ideal way to gain the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours in the workplace.

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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.

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Lorraine Nicholls

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Apprentices allow the schools to train an employee to completely meet the needs of the business, the staff members are also our potential leaders and bring new and fresh ideas to the school. Many of our schools deal with SEMH children, therefore resilience and empathy play a huge part in maintaining a relationship and supporting the children to achieve in an educational area. An apprentice not only allows an organisation to bring new people to the job but supports your existing teams in terms of up-skilling them to manage teams, deliver training and staff planning.

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James Beardwood

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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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Phil Durnell

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Lancashire County Council have had great success with highway apprentices either becoming skilled highway operatives or a number following further education to gain professional qualifications and moving into engineering and management roles. Taking up an apprenticeship is a really good route to learn on the job with experienced skilled staff and also take advantage of day release and evening classes at college. Hands-on training gives you a real chance to put your skills into practice and helps you to gain more confidence in a working environment. You also earn while you learn. 

 

Apprentices, in whatever field are an investment for the future and essential for all businesses succession planning. As an employer you will benefit by having the opportunity to be part of the learning progress of the apprentices and can also have an influence on the academics studied by working with colleges. Phil believes the combination of attending college at the same time gaining experience in the work place give apprentices fantastic experience in the working environment and gives employers the chance to see the commitment of individuals and their work ethics.

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Neil Horner

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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.

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