Speakers

Connecting Apprentices with Apprenticeships

Meet the expert speakers

Speakers and their Bios are being confirmed and will be added shortly
Conference Team - Safaraz Ali
Safaraz Ali

Founder

Conference Team - Kasim
Kasim Choudhry

Executive Director

Conference Team - Jagdeep
Jagdeep Soor

Executive Director

Charlotte Bosworth

Conference Co-Chair
Managing Director of Innovate Awarding

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Our Speakers

Kieren Buxton

Partnership Manager,
TrAC

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Susanna Lawson

Co-founder/Ambassador,
OneFile Ltd

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Melissa Richardson MBE

Senior Emerging Talent Manager, British Airways

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Ricky Leaves

Manager, Emerging Talent Development & Delivery, British Airways PLC

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Jan Richardson - Wilde ​

Chief Executive Officer, OAL

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Simon Ashworth

Director of Policy, AELP

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Jane Knight

Founder, Successful Mums Carer Academy

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Laura - Jane Rawlings MBE

CEO, Youth Employment UK

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Santina Bunting

Apprentice, ARUP

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Emily Rock

CEO , Association of Apprentices

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Alexia Williams

Deployed Lifecycle Engineer, Rolls-Royce Plc

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Simon Lewis

Head of Operations, NOCN

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Kirtsy Adams

Director Talent, L&D, ED&I, Compass Group UK&I

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Haris Javed

Lloyds Banking Group

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Nichola Hay MBE

Director of Apprenticeship Strategy and Policy, BPP Education Group

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Sharon Blyfield OBE

Head of Early Careers and Apprenticeships GB

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Jenny Pelling

Director of Apprenticeship Development and Diversity at Kaplan

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Derrin Kent

Managing Director, The Development Manager (TDM)

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Pete Milsom

Partnership Director of Apprenticeships, UCAS

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Rebecca Hollamby

EPA Partnership Manager, City & Guilds

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Joseph Lennox

Senior Strategy Advisor, HMRC

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Our founder

Safaraz Ali

With over two decades as a social entrepreneur, I’ve come to value the power of continuous learning and open-mindedness. As the CEO of Pathway Group, a skills and employability organisation.

Award Winning Social Entrepreneur

CEO & Founder and Social Business Leader

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Canny Conversations Podcast

Non-Executive Director

Volunteering and Judging Roles

safaraz.co.uk

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Susanna Lawson

Co-founder/Ambassador, OneFile Ltd

Susanna started her career as a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester and went on to work with adults with learning difficulties. Susanna then had to complete an NVQ in care to demonstrate her practical competencies – and her involvement in vocational training began.

After completing her NVQ levels 2 and 3, she soon moved up the ranks, and was appointed the National Contract Manager for an independent training provider, overseeing 1,000 apprentices across the UK. Throughout her journey she witnessed huge inefficiencies at every stage of the sector, and together with her partner decided to build a solution: OneFile.

OneFile is now the leading eportfolio software in the educational sector and was awarded the King’s Award for Innovation in 2017 and 2022 for innovation in the apprenticeship sector.

Susanna and her partner exited OneFile in October 2021, selling to Harris Computers, part of the Constellation Software group, the 2nd largest tech company in Canada. Susanna remains an ambassador for OneFile – promoting apprenticeships as well as being a non-exec director/governor and advising start up and scale up organisations in the education and technology sector including Metaverse Learning and Ada Digital College.

Jan Richardson-Wilde

Chief Executive Officer, Occupational Awards Limited (OAL)

Jan is the CEO of Occupational Awards Limited, a Director of the Improve Skills Limited and an FE College Governor. She has over 35 years’ experience in the education sector in strategic and operational management of training programmes with colleges, private training providers, local authorities the voluntary sector and not for profit organisations. Jan has previously been a board member of the Learning and Skills Council, chair of the North Yorkshire Training Provider network and Vice-Chair of Yorkshire Coast College and a Governor of the Grimsby Institute for Further and Higher Education. She has extensive experience of education policy, apprenticeships, qualification design and development as well as business improvement.

Jan joined OAL in 2019, a leading non-profit industry-focused Awarding and End-Point Assessment Organisation, supporting a wide range of employers, providers and stakeholders to succeed and surpass expectations. Jan is committed to continuous improvement and enthusiastic about improving the effectiveness, impact and quality of apprenticeships, education, and training in the UK and internationally.
She has a wide range of experience of working in a collaborative context with employers and training providers to develop End Point Assessment, apprenticeships, and vocational programmes.

Kieren Buxton

Partnership Manager, TrAC

I am the Partnership Manager for TrAC, Apprenticeships and Co-Chair for the East of England Apprenticeships Ambassador Network. I have been involved in Apprenticeships, Skills, and Careers Education for 9 years, starting off as an apprentice myself.

I am extremely passionate about the sector, and I am proud to have been recognised as the AAC/FE Week Apprenticeships Champion of the Year 2024, and the DfE East of England Apprenticeships Champion of the Year 2023.

I am very excited to be able to support the Apprenticeship Branding Conference – Amplify 2024!

Simon Ashworth

Director of Policy, Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP)

Simon is currently the Director of Policy for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) and is responsible for developing and implementing AELP’s policy approach including responding to and influencing stakeholder policy and ensuring it is in line with the Board’s short and long-term objectives. AELP is a national membership body, proudly representing around 800 organisations. AELP members support thousands of businesses and millions of learners in England by delivering a wide range of training, vocational learning, and employability programmes.
Simon joined AELP in January 2017 and has worked in the further education and skills sector for over twenty years in a range of strategic and operational roles with different training providers and employers.

Simon currently represents AELP on the following external groups/panels:
• Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education’s Quality Alliance
• Department for Education’s Lifelong Loan Entitlement Ministerial Steering Group
• Ofqual’s Vocational & Technical Qualifications Reference Group
• Ofsted’s Careers, Information, Advice and Guidance Steering Group
• Education and Skills Funding Agency’s Provider Reference Panel
• East Midlands Chamber of Commerce: Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) Advisory Board.
• Vice-chair of the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Higher Skills for Londoners Advisory Group

Jonathan Foot

Head of Apprenticeships & Early Careers, Compass Group UK & Ireland.

Jonathan is the Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers at Compass Group UK & Ireland. Results orientated Operations and Quality Director with extensive experience in the skills and training sector form senior management roles leading multi-site team across commercial business centres, the charity sector and in retail.

Highly skilled at motivating and engaging teams to achieve exceptional results and an expert in driving change, designing, and implementing new programmes, structures, and processes. I really enjoy supporting people onto the first rung of the career ladder at Compass Group and supporting the skills development and career progression of our existing employees resulting in attracting and retaining great talent in our business through structured quality apprenticeship roadmaps including Culinary, FOH, Business and Management, Finance, IT/Digital Solutions, Events, Procurement, & FM delivered by our preferred delivery partners across England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.

Laura-Jane Rawlings

CEO, Youth Employment UK

Laura-Jane is a passionate campaigner for youth employment and the rights for all young people to access employment and have their voices heard on the issues that affect them. Laura-Jane believes that it is for all of us to create a youth friendly society so that young people can fulfill their potential.

Laura-Jane founded Youth Employment UK in 2012, believing that there was a need to put young people at the heart of youth employment policy and services on a local and national level. Youth Employment UK is a not-for-profit, social enterprise supporting young people, employers, educators, third sector organisations and policy colleagues.

Recognised as a leading youth employment expert Laura-Jane provides support, insight and expertise to many groups Co-Founder & Chair of the Youth Employment Group, Secretariat and Advisor to the APPG for Youth Employment, a founding Board Member of the Youth Futures Foundation, and was a secondary school governor for 6 years.

Jane Knight

Founder, Successful Mums Carer Academy

Jane Knight FIEP is the founder of Successful Mums Carer Academy.

When Jane became a mum, she could see the gap to support this skilled audience back work after a career break. A qualified teacher, career advisor and 25 years in FE, Jane set herself a goal to help 100 mums back to work. Since then, they have helped almost 10,000 mums (and dads) into work to find their career mojo. Delivering events and training courses to women returners, then linking these skilled women to flexible friendly employers.

Jane believes becoming a parent should enhance, not halt your career.

Ricky Leaves

Manager, Emerging Talent Development & Delivery, British Airways PLC

Ricky Leaves is Manager, Emerging Talent Development & Delivery at British Airways. Ricky has been working in apprenticeships for the past 11 years in Assessor and IQA roles.

In his current position at British Airways, Ricky and his team have been instrumental in planning and delivering the rebuild of the airlines Emerging Talent programmes following the pandemic.

Over the past 3 years, his team has welcomed more than 300 colleagues on to British Airways’ Apprenticeships & Graduate schemes, which are tailored to creating a thriving and responsible business with a focus on how apprenticeships play a key part in the continued learning and development of people.

Ricky is a true advocate of Emerging Talent and the benefits they bring to both companies and individuals. In particular, he champions apprenticeships as a vehicle to improve social mobility, diversity, and inclusion.

Alexia Williams

Deployed Lifecycle Engineer, Rolls-Royce Plc

Deployed Lifecycle Engineer at Rolls-Royce Plc

Through-life Engineering Services Specialist Masters Degree Apprenticeship – Cranfield University

IfATE Apprentice Panel Chair UCAS Apprenticeship Stakeholder Group Apprentice Representative

IMechE Bath and Bristol Young Members Panel

9 x National and Regional Apprenticeship Award Winner

Simon Lewis

Head of Operations, NOCN

Simon brings over 25 years of experience in lifelong learning to the table, with a focus on supporting both SMEs and large employers in identifying and addressing their training needs.

His expertise spans across regulated and non-regulated development offerings for individuals and crafting business strategies to upskill team members effectively.

Throughout his career, Simon has collaborated with leading companies across various industries including retail, hospitality, care, early years, funeral care, and construction.

As a National Operations Manager for a multi-award-winning training provider, Simon has been deeply involved in apprenticeships standalone qualifications, and even dipped his toes into employability programs. He has also navigated various funding streams and actively contributed to executing government schemes aimed at workforce development.

Simon’s current role as Head of Operations for NOCN adds another dimension to his already extensive experience. With his combined expertise in training provision and now overseeing operations, Simon possesses a holistic view of the entire learning and development ecosystem.

Simon’s true passion lies in transforming traditional practices into future-fit solutions. He is dedicated to understanding and adapting what was once considered “perfect” to meet the evolving demands of tomorrow’s workforce.

Emily Rock

CEO , Association of Apprentices

Emily is the CEO of the Association of Apprentices, a membership organisation created to connect apprentices across the UK for social and professional development. She leads the organisation as its further widens its apprentice community and delivers value for its apprentices and partners.

Emily is also a director of the St Martin’s Group, a membership organisation established to support policymakers as they create a world-class Apprenticeship and Skills system.

Emily has over 25 years’ experience as a Talent Specialist and for the last 14 years has worked in the apprenticeships sector, first as an employer and then training provider.

Santina Bunting

Apprentice, ARUP

Santina stands out as a trailblazer; she was the only one out of 150 students to embark on an apprenticeship journey after GCSEs. She completed her Level 3 Civil Engineering Apprenticeship at Arup in two years, earning a Distinction*Distinction* in her BTEC.

Now a qualified Technician with the Institute of Civil Engineers, Santina is in her first year of a Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship at Warwick University while working part-time. She was recently awarded Construction Excellence G4C Apprentice of the Year.

Passionate about empowering apprentices, Santina serves on the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s apprentice panel, engaging with governmental bodies like the Department of Education and advocating for apprenticeship programs.

She’s spoken at esteemed venues such as the House of Lords and the Annual Apprenticeship Conference, also contributing to the UCAS Apprenticeship Advisory group and the government recent skills for life campaign. In her free time she represents Great Britain U20s in their handball team.

Kirsty Adams

Director Talent, L&D, ED&I, Compass Group UK&I

A globally experienced HR leader with a 25-year track record of transforming and leading organisations in strategic HR across Telco, IT and Professional Services industries.

A deep knowledge of organisational culture, learning & development, and employee experience. Functional expertise in talent acquisition, leadership development, reward, M&A, in addition to generalist experience. Proud history of advocating for women in business with strong record in driving global ED&I agendas.

Commercially driven with an analytical and open leadership style, underpinned with an Executive Master’s in Human Resource Leadership and trained as an Executive Coach.

 

Haris Javed

Lloyds Banking Group

I’m Haris Javed, a passionate individual on a journey of continuous growth and discovery. My career has been a dynamic blend of technical expertise and leadership development, shaped by diverse experiences and unwavering determination.

For the past three years, I’ve delved into the realms of Software Engineering and DevOps, honing my skills and embracing new challenges along the way. My thirst for knowledge led me to embark on a Degree Apprenticeship, a pivotal step in further expanding my technical prowess.

One of the highlights of my journey was being honoured as the Degree Apprentice of the Year 2023 by Lloyds Banking Group, a recognition that fuelled my drive to excel further.

Beyond my professional pursuits, I’m deeply committed to educational outreach, engaging with schools and colleges to champion apprenticeships and challenge cultural norms surrounding success and education.

Nichola Hay MBE

Director of Apprenticeship Strategy and Policy, BPP Education Group

BPP are the UK’s leading professional education training provider. Nichola works to ensure BPP delivers on its commitment to provide the highest quality professional apprenticeship training for UK businesses looking to upskill their existing workforce and attract new talent.

With over 25 years of experience in the further education sector, Nichola leads and develops BPPs apprenticeship strategy and client proposition, supporting the business to meet its growth plans, while positioning BPP as a market leader in the further education sector.

She also works closely with key external and political stakeholders responsible for skills, to influence and improve education and skills policy in the UK. Nichola was recognised for her services to apprenticeships and skills in the Queen’s 2021 New Year Honour List.

Charlotte Bosworth

Managing Director of Innovate Awarding

Charlotte is Managing Director of Innovate Awarding. Charlotte’s career within Education commenced in 1996 with RSA Examinations Board and she has vast experience in curriculum, assessment and qualification design.

Charlotte has spent much of her career working in partnership with thought leaders in education to influence curriculum delivery and development, and to ensure best practice is assimilated into the development of qualifications, assessments and delivery. Much of Charlotte’s work has included building relationships and interpreting the needs of employers as well supporting other Awarding Organisations/EPAOs.

In addition Charlotte is Chair of The Federation of Awarding Bodies and a Board Member of AELP. She is also a Deputy Chair for an FE College.

Sharon Blyfield OBE

Head of Early Careers and Apprenticeships GB

Sharon has been in the business for more than 30 years in a variety of functions and roles. She joined the HR team nearly 20 years ago, covering all elements of Supply Chain and now heads up the Early Careers agenda for Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) in 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, 2021 saw Sharon win the Forward Ladies Corporate Leader and the London Regional National Apprenticeship
Champion awards and recognition in the Queen’s 2022 New Years’ honours list with an OBE for services to Apprenticeships and Skills. Outside of CCEP she is an active board member for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) and Vice-Chair of Youth Employment UK’s board.

Derek Redmond

Keynote Speaker

One of Britain’s most famous athletes, Derek Redmond is a British, European , Commonwealth and World Champion athlete. Having broken the British 400m record on two occasions, Derek was one of the country’s best athletes during the 1980s and 1990s. A key member of the relay squad that won gold at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, he competed at the highest level for over a decade.

He first rose to prominence in 1985 when he broke the 400m British record achieving a time of 44.82 seconds 12 months later he was selected in the 4x400m relay team for the European Championships in Stuttgart.

Great Britain won gold in what was a sure sign of things to come. A year later they won a silver medal at the World Championships in Rome. By the time the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo arrived Derek had established himself as one of Britain’s best athletes. Alongside Kriss Akabusi, John Regis and Roger Black he then stunned the sporting world as Britain triumphed over the favourites USA to win gold. Their run remains the second fastest 4x400m run in history.

Having now proved himself as a relay athlete, Derek went about trying to do the same as an individual runner. At the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, representing his country he became part of one of the most inspirational scenes in Olympic history.

In the 400m semi-final Derek went into the race amongst the favourites but as he passed the 250m mark he tore his hamstring. Determined to finish the race he hobbled to the finish line with the help of his father as a 65,000-strong crowd cheered him on. This incident has since been voted one of the Olympics’ most inspirational moments by US network NBC and even referenced by Barack Obama in a presidential speech.

This event has now been viewed online over 500 millions times and counting!

This injury signalled an end to his athletics career, but, committed to not letting his injury keep him down, he has since played basketball for England and played professional rugby 7s, and just missed out on more international duties with the England Rugby 7s team.

Derek has also been National Champion in two other sports, motorcycle endurance racing and kickboxing and at the tender age of 53 Derek became a semi pro boxer and is undefeated to date.

Derek’s story is truly inspiring and he is now an award winning motivational/inspirational speaker, a business performance coach and a best selling author sharing his remarkable story with audiences around the world. He has worked with a wide range of high profile brands delivering his inspiring stories from the track in corporate and educational environments.

Former 400m British Record Holder.

Former 4X400m relay Commonwealth Champion.

Former 4X400m relay European Champion.

Former 4X400m relay World Champion.

2 X Olympian.

Former Professional Basketball player.

Former Professional Rugby player.

Represented England in two sports (Athletics and Basketball)

Former National Kickboxing champion.

Former motorcycle National endurance champion.

Current semi pro boxer.

Jagdeep Soor

Executive Director

Jagdeep has gained over 25 years’ experience in the employment support and skills sectors, working on the majority of mainstream back to work programmes, both in in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland   A strategist with extensive senior operational experience.

Currently he is the Executive Director at Pathway Group, leading the Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance, The Apprenticeship Diversity & Social Mobility Forum The aim of these two initiatives is to promote social mobility, diversity, inclusion and equity in apprenticeships and employability and skills.

Jagdeep also leads the Multicultural Apprentice Network and the Apprenticeship Branding Conference – Amplify.  A Fellow of the Institute of Employability Professionals, Jagdeep has a passion for equality, diversity, inclusion and equity, to support those that are most at risk of missing out on opportunity.

Safaraz Ali

Founder

Committed to continual development along with growth for himself and his team which is reflected in all aspects of his ethos to business. Safaraz sees a key part of his role is to nurture and empower a high performing team that is committed to making a meaningful difference in all that they do.

Safaraz has been instrumental in Pathway Group delivering an extensive range of programmes over a period of 20 years, starting as an ESOL provider as well as delivering Train to Gain, Adult Community Learning, Youth Contract, Troubled families, Innovation Fund Innovation Fund, various ESF activity such as Skills Support for Workforce, Skills Support for Unemployed, Skills Support for Redundancy, Skills Support for Work Programme and also English and Maths Qualifications to name a few.

Kasim Choudhry

Executive Director

I am a self-starter Event Management professional with experience in Business Law and Finance. I work on projects from start to finish and am able to deal with all aspects of event management, be it running an event following a brief or creating a concept from scratch.

I am a strong believer in work hard and play harder, and I thrive off success. I get satisfaction and gratification from my work which acts as a catalyst to boost my productivity and helps me get the best results.

I enjoy meeting people of all walks of life as I believe we all learn from each other. I embrace lifelong learning and have always been inquisitive. Currently I am developing my writing and graphic design skills which has been addictive and enjoyable. I am happy to share my knowledge and experience with others to help them as part of their journey.

I am very pleased to have been appointed as Non-Executive Director, Events Director for Pathway Group. I manage our Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards, Festival of Apprenticeships and all things events and community related. I am also the Entrepreneurship ambassador for the group as well.

Jenny Pelling

Director of Apprenticeship Development & Diversity, Kaplan

Jenny’s career in apprenticeship education has involved her leading the development of apprenticeship programmes in financial services, accountancy & tax and law. Her career started with teaching English and then she worked in Brussels and London, as a solicitor. But she couldn’t resist the pull of education so joined a law school in 2004 and Kaplan in 2019.

 

She has a particular interest in enhancing learners’ performance through providing personal development and career progression opportunities. Jenny is part of Kaplan’s EDI Steering Group and responsible for client collaboration with EDI, she is the strategic lead at Kaplan for apprenticeship careers and a qualified Mental Health First Aider. She is also responsible for Kaplan’s involvement in the World Skills competition for accounting and tax.

Jenny leads Kaplan’s “Brighter Futures” initiative which focuses on social mobility of apprenticeships and providing opportunity for all, helping to broaden access to the professions. She is honoured to act on behalf of Kaplan as a patron of the Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance and an advisory panel member of the Association of Apprentices.

Her other passions involve being a governor of Kaplan Pathways which offers students from around the world, from diverse backgrounds, the chance to change their lives with an international education; school education in the UK from being a school governor for eight years; the impact achieved through volunteering in schools for RISE a charitable initiative by ICAEW and acting as a mentor for the charity Career Ready.

She relishes Kaplan’s involvement in the Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance and being a judge of these awards. Seeing the dedication, achievements and growing confidence of the shortlisted apprentices gives her the greatest sense of purpose.

Derrin Kent

MD & Founder of The Development Manager (TDM)

Derrin has over 16 years of experience as the Managing Director of TDM, leading a team of professionals who deliver ‘Learning for Tech’: Government-funded work-based learning solutions for workforce development and ‘Tech for Learning’: Talent Experience Software Systems and Workforce Planning Consultancy.

Derrin and TDM’s overarching mission is to help career seekers, apprentices, employees and employers to do well for themselves by doing good for their organisations and others in their professional roles.

Joseph Lennox

Senior Strategy Advisor, HMRC

I started my career at 18 when I discovered apprenticeships while researching online. I opted for an apprenticeship over university and studied to be a policy officer in HMRC. My apprenticeship has allowed me to get involved in some very interesting work and has been a gateway into a world where I can make a real difference.  

I am fortunate to be recognised both organisationally and nationally as HMRC named me Apprentice Ambassador of The Year and the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards named me the Accounting and Finance Apprentice of the Year and overall Apprentice of The Year.
I understand the value of apprenticeships both for the employer and the apprentice and I am involved in a range of projects to promote apprenticeships and use my story to inspire young people to explore alternative routes to a career.

I am a huge advocate for breaking down barriers, challenging the norm, and overcoming adversity to achieve goals through apprenticeships. I am on a mission to see more young people in leadership roles, taking their careers into their own hands and reaching their full potential!

Melissa Richardson MBE

Senior Emerging Talent Manager, British Airways

Melissa Richardson (née Kose), Senior Emerging Talent Manager in the Strategic Resourcing team at British Airways has been awarded an MBE in The King’s New Years Honours List for 2024 for Services to Early Careers in Aviation. This prestigious award recognises her outstanding efforts in supercharging British Airways’ award-winning emerging talent programmes, which provide work experience and employment opportunities for young people across the UK.

As part of British Airways’ ongoing commitment to recruiting future talent and providing equal opportunities to people from all backgrounds, Mel played a significant role in launching the airlines partnership with The Prince’s Trust earlier this year to deliver its flagship “Get into Aviation with British Airways” programme. The initiative supports young people from across London who are looking to secure a career in the industry through work experience opportunities or on one of British Airways apprenticeship programmes.

Joseph Lennox

Partnership Director of Apprenticeships, UCAS

Pete has been immersed in work based learning since 2009 and has deep experience of apprenticeship delivery and the UK apprenticeship sector.

At UCAS, Pete works with valued partner organisations to raise awareness of the power of apprenticeships amongst career choosers, employers and training providers. 

On this mission, he is always interested in hearing about organisations, products and services that UCAS can work with to make the connections that ensure apprenticeships are accessible for as many people as possible.