Group photo of TeamUK in Gothenburg
Photo of Marion Plant

Marion Plant OBE, FCGI (Chair)

Marion Plant OBE is Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC and Chief Executive of the Midland Academies Trust which is responsible for four secondary schools. Marion also served a three-year term as a Non-executive Director at the Department for Education. In March 2018 Marion was awarded the ‘Business Woman of the Year Award’ by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.

Photo of Dawn Childs

Dame Dawn Childs (Deputy Chair)

Dawn Childs DBE is the Chief Executive Officer Operations at Pure Data Centres Group. She has held several previous roles across various industries, including the Change Director for National Grid, Group Engineering Director for Merlin Entertainments and the Head of Engineering at Gatwick Airport. Dawn joined Gatwick Airport in 2012 after serving for 23 years as an Engineering Officer in the Royal Air Force. Dawn is also President of the Women’s Engineering Society.

Photo of Mark Dawe

Mark Dawe

Mark is the Chief Executive of The Skills Network. He is on a range of government boards such as the ESFA Advisory Board and the FE Reform Advisory Group. Previously, Mark Dawe was the Chief Executive of OCR, the exam board, for 5 years. He has been a governor of primary and secondary schools and a further education college.

Mark Farrar Trustee

Mark Farrar

Mark Farrar has been CEO of the Association of Accounting Technicians, the Construction Industry Training Board and the government marine science agency, Cefas. He is on the board of the exam watchdog Ofqual and has held non-executive roles at the Skills Funding Agency and Women into Science and Engineering, as well as being chair of the board at Barking and Dagenham College.

Photo of Mike James

Mike James

Mike James is an engineer by background and now Chief Executive of Cardiff and Vale College Group. He has over 23 years of experience in the FE sector, including holding senior posts in both Bristol and a major London College prior to Cardiff.

Audrey Nelson

Audrey Nelson is a strategic communications specialist with extensive public affairs experience and an in-depth knowledge of business. Her political and parliamentary expertise was gained at leading business advocacy group the CBI as well as spells in key Whitehall departments, including Number 10.

Justin Rix

Justin is a partner at the professional services firm Grant Thornton UK LLP where he leads their People Advisory practice, which involves working with a broad range of organisations on all aspects of their people agenda and how they can attract, retain, engage, and develop their talent.

Professor Sean Wellington

Sean is Middlesex University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Provost with responsibility for leadership of education, research and knowledge exchange, and the development and implementation of academic strategies. Starting his career as an apprentice in the engineering industry, Sean has taught engineering and computing for over 30 years and held teaching, research and leadership positions at three universities.

Jennifer Coupland

As Chief executive of IFATE, Jennifer is responsible for advising Minsiters on standards in apprenticeships and technical education.  She has been a member of Council at the University of Roehampton for three years and was previously Director, Professional and Technical Education responsible for leading the Government’s reforms to technical education for young people and adults.

Jatinder Sharma CBE DL

Jatinder held a number of senior positions in both the private and public sector before being appointed Principal and Chief Executive of Walsall College.  He also represents further education on the Department for Education ((DfE) Principals’ Reference Group and was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands Lieutenancy in 2022.

Mel Higgins

Mel is Principal and Chief Executive of Northern Regional College in Northern Ireland.   A former student of the college, Mel was appointed to his current role in 2021, following six years as Chief Operating Officer at the College.  He commenced his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he trained as a chartered accountant.  He subsequently held various senior positions in industry and in the Northern Ireland Civil Service before being appointed Chief Executive of the urban regeneration company Ilex in 2012.  Mel is a Fellow of the Chartered Accountants in Ireland.

Jon Vincent

Jon was appointed Principal and Chief Executive of Glasgow Clyde College in 2017.  In addition to this role, he is also the national lead Principal in Scotland for mental health and well-being, and modern apprenticeships.  Prior to commencing his current role, Jon was Principal and Chief Executive of Tyne Metropolitan College in the northeast of England for seven years.  He is a board member of Energy Skills Partnership, council member of the General Teaching Council for Scotland and is a trustee of Giffnock North Athletics Club.  Jon is a Fellow of the Institute of Knowledge Exchange.

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