Institute of Employability Professionals Elections 2019
Deadline for voting closes at NOON on Friday 20th September
The Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) is first and foremost a membership organisation. Its Members and Fellows can participate in a number of ways but it's especially important to get involved in deciding who runs the IEP on a day to day basis, and sets its strategy. As you will probably know, that's the IEP Board. You can read more about the make-up of the current Board here. Every year a number of Directors complete their term of office and stand down and IEP Members have the chance to stand for election as a Board Member; and to vote in the election as well.
This year there are  vacancies on the board and we have ten  candidates for you to choose from. You can vote for up to five candidates in this election.
If you wish to become a Member of the IEP and acquire voting rights, please visit this page and register to join the Institute.
If you work for an IEP Corporate Affiliate Partner, use promo code Discount2 to receive a £17.00 discount on your Membership.
Existing individuals supported by IEPinfo can upgrade their subscription and become Individual Members and acquire voting rights via the “Pay my Membership” page.
Please read the Candidate’s Profiles and Election Statements below and click on 'VOTE NOW' to register your vote.
Candidate’s Profiles and Election Statements
Samantha Everard FIEP
Chief Executive, Samee
The Support And Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship (SAMEE) charity was launched in 2015 with a mission of enabling everyone of all abilities to proudly and independently provide an income for themselves and their families.
SAMEE is a Level 3 Disability Confident Leader and a grassroots charity with a growing track record of achievement for making a huge local social impact with small-scale targeted projects.
Our charitable purpose is to enable vulnerable people in the community to explore self-employment by creatively developing their ideas and potential with the ultimate aim of helping them achieve financial independence through successful self-employment and/or improved employability prospects.
I founded the charity, and act as the Chief Executive, as I believe that exposing people to the different routes into the workplace develops their knowledge, skills and ambitions, which ultimately helps them to remove the barriers to work that they face. The information, advice and guidance that we offer is always relevant to their context and delivered in a format which is accessible to their needs.
To ensure the highest quality of learning and development, we work with key partners in the education, employment and charity sectors, combining their expertise with that of young people and those disabled people wanting to explore self-employment in order to stimulate economic growth in the local area and social cohesion within the community. We promote a culture of collaboration between local support agencies, disabled entrepreneurs and young people, building on many examples of best practice.
To put this in context, I am the mum of a young lady with a learning disability and who is partially sighted. That, coupled with my painful endometriosis, which prevented me from working full-time, and a life-changing accident which my husband had in 2006, led me to discovering my passion - supporting people with disabilities to help them achieve their career and personal goals.
I would like to be an IEP Board Member as I am already acting as the IEP Southern representative and would like to be more involved with the development of the IEP’s vision.
I am proud to be the CEO and to lead the SAMEE charity as it is all about taking an idea, creating a strong vision to bring that idea to life and sharing it passionately with your team. By inspiring others to strive forward, you can achieve anything!
As a member of the Board, I can bring that experience as I have built SAMEE from an idea to a regional charity supporting employability and self-employment within disabled and disadvantaged communities. Working with local agencies and sharing best practice, I have built a respected charity and one that has a vision to support people in non-traditional ways. I live by our charity values of welcoming, honest and daring and I would like to join the Board so I can offer ideas on different approaches to support those people that need the most assistance.
I was awarded Shackleton Leader status last year due to my pioneering work of bringing self-employment into both mainstream and SEND schools. It is vital for young people to have different options and routes into work allowing them to be positive role models for others and I would like to continue championing support for young people entering the world of work.
I can also bring knowledge around disability to the Board as my charity was awarded Disability Confident Leader status. This is important to me as I meet disabled people every day with multiple barriers to work who are looking for opportunities to demonstrate their skills and talents.
I hope that I get elected to the Board to help develop the IEP for the future.
Leah Forsyth MIEP
I have worked in the Welfare to Work sector for the past 8 years – previously with Seetec and for the past 5 years with Kennedy Scott working up through the ranks from EC to Regional Manager / Disability Ambassador and Mental Health First Aid Instructor.
I manage 4 regions on the SES contract and also manage a tenancy housing contract. Working up through the ranks has allowed me to advise, support and train all job titles within the operational side of the business therefore given me a vast scope.
I feel that my experience and skill set allows me to bring insight to the Board, an additional voice for the disability sector as well as Q and C knowledge. My operational background allows me to share lessons learnt and ideas about improvements and suggestions. I will be able to also relate to the Members.
Jeff Greenidge MIEP
Board Director and Chair of Wales Strategy Group, Learning & Work Institute
Jeff Greenidge is an experienced senior education leader, with a reputation for independent and strategic thinking. Jeff has taught at all levels of education from Primary, Secondary, Adult Education and Post Graduate teaching at Swansea University. He then worked for the Welsh and UK Government on the design and implementation of the National Curriculum before spending 3 years developing European vocational training programmes. Then followed 17 years at Learndirect where he was first Director in Wales, then Northern Ireland and ultimately responsible for the delivery of education and training to circa 70,000 adults per annum across the UK. Since leaving Learndirect in 2015, Jeff has supported education and community organisations to assure their impact. The impact approach moves people and organisations quickly to insight and helps them stay focused on their breakthrough thinking so that real sustainable change takes place. In his spare time he walks and cycles in the mountains of South Wales. Jeff brings over 25 years of experience of senior level strategic leadership and management in large complex education organisations within the public, commercial and not for profit sectors in UK and wider Europe.
The three elements I feel I bring to the table are:
- A proven track record of successful leadership, achievement and profile within major organisations;
- Significant experience in education and training and in particular digital technology/social investment/vocational learning;
- Track record of engaging successfully with others, building productive working relationships with a variety of stakeholders in Government and in the education world;
- A demonstrable passion for capacity and capability building within the sector;
- Experience and understanding of the strategic role of a Board and its accountabilities; and
- Personal integrity and a personal style that demonstrates authority, commitment and consistency.
The connections and network within the education, training and employability sectors as well as with Government and Stakeholders in England and Wales might be used as resources to benefit the Board and the organisation in promoting visibility and awareness of the work of the IEP.
This opportunity arrives at a time of significant change in the sector and I am applying as I am excited by the mission and I feel there is an opportunity to add value to IEP.
After a varied career in Education and Training, I now work as a consultant supporting education and learning providers on their business development; focusing on increasing impact and as a consequence their value to commissioners and employers. My passion while employed; and now as an owner and Board Director has always been to support colleagues to improve business performance through clear expectations, accountabilities, goals and longer term growth targets. This is done through instilling challenge whilst maintaining a positive organisational culture; keeping teams motivated and high-performing. Satisfaction is gained in seeing business and people develop and that goes back to my roots as a Teacher.
Tim Jeffrey MIEP
Integration Coordinator, The Growth Company
My name is Tim Jeffery and I’m the Integration Co-ordinator for The Growth Company, working in the Sheffield City Region. GC are a non-for-profit economic development agency who support people to find work, stay in work and progress in work. In Sheffield City Region, we deliver the Skills Support for the Unemployed and Skills Support for the Workforce contracts. My role as Integration Co-ordinator is to build strong relationships with key stakeholders including local authorities, further education institutions, third sector organisations, chambers of commerce, Job Centre Plus & the Local Enterprise Partnership.
I’ve worked in the employability sector for the last five and a half years, all of which has been at The Growth Company. I started on the frontline as an Employment Advisor on the Work Programme before moving into an Employer Engagement role. On the Work Programme, I was personally responsible for supporting over 400 work programme customers back into employment. More recently, I worked on a secondment role as the Membership Manager of the Sheffield City Region Training & Employability Provider Network where I helped grow the size and profile of the network to help give a voice to the sector within the region.
It would be a huge privilege to be elected to the Board of the IEP. In certain areas of the Sheffield City Region (where I work), the ONS estimates that over 50% of current jobs are at risk of automation in the coming years/decades. Technology is drastically changing the way that people find work and the types of jobs that people will do. Often, this can result is people needing a more diverse range of skills in order to find employment, with job security becoming more precarious in general. Because of this, the need for an effective and professional employability sector, based on high standards, will significantly grow in order to help the economy and individuals respond to these changes. I want to be on the IEP Board to help shape this agenda.
I believe that I can offer an important voice to the Board and I still work in a role that involves frontline delivery, supporting long-term unemployed Learners who often have complex, multiple barriers preventing them from finding employment. I work alongside ground level Employability Professionals daily and understand the specific challenges, frustrations and motivations of supporting people back into employment. I’d be grateful if you would consider voting for me.
John Powell MIEP
Programme Manager, Opportunity Sheffield
I am currently a Programme manager for Opportunity Sheffield, (Sheffield Council’s Employment and Skills service). I am responsible for commissioning employment support activity based mainly upon need and whatever the current government agenda is. I also trying to commission projects to fill any gaps that other provision leaves behind.
This activity is usual delivered by community organisations, who, while traditionally may be adept at engaging with members of the community, they tend to be not as strong at supporting them into employment. As part of the Opportunity Sheffield programme we also devise and procure capacity building workshops for our providers to ensure they are equipped with the best tools to enable them to support their service users to the best of their ability. I have over 20 years of experience in the Welfare to Work arena. Starting out as an Advisor supporting ex-offenders and young people at risk of offending, to working as a Lone Parent Advisor and then on to supporting people with disabilities into employment. Moving into project management I now have a more strategic role that has to factor in political influence when commissioning activity. Opportunity Sheffield has evolved over a number of years to deliver a wide range of employment support activity, including our own training provision, apprenticeship and traineeship, Employer engagement and work experience project for year 10,11 and 13 students.
I grew up in, what was at the time, one of the poorest boroughs of London in a time of high unemployment and I know how the expectations and skill sets of Employment Advisors and Employment Engagement Officers have changed over the years, I have had to change with them as the role has become much more than just career guidance, it is now includes being a Counsellor/ Life Coach.
I can offer the Board someone who has a lot of frontline Advisor and Management experience. I am also a measured, thoughtful person who will examine different approaches to a problem in order to find the most appropriate solution. I have working knowledge of the public and private sector employment services.
I will use all the knowledge, experience and contacts I have gained over the years to promote the IEP and our shared vision of professionalising the Welfare to Work workforce. I also am determined to ensure that all entrants to the Welfare to Work industry know where and how to access the tools and support they need to become the best they can be at their roles.
I will also support the Board in looking at how we can support Welfare to Work organisations to promote and encourage their employees to take advantage of the IEP tools and Knowledge Bank.
I have set up a successful network for Welfare to Work in Sheffield, (see link,) which can be linked in with the IEP networking events and share IEP information https://teacakeclub.org/
I think that the IEP can help me achieve my goals and in turn I can help the IEP move closer towards its vision of ensuring Employability Professionals become the best they can be.
Gareth Fallows FIEP
Chief Executive, Acorn Training
Gareth Fallows is the owner and Chief Executive of Acorn Training; a Skills, Welfare to Work and Justice provider with an established history spanning 11 years delivering programmes, such as; The Work Programme, Community Work Placement and a wide range of ESF programmes across multiple geographies and in Prisons.
Gareth is a qualified teacher and examiner and holds a Masters Degree in Local Economic Regeneration and second Masters Degree in Education Research.
I started my career as a Tutor and developed within the sector to leadership and management positions within organisations such as The Shaw Trust and Newcastle College Group, and later, establishing my own Welfare to Work provider in 2008.
I pride myself in continuing to have a hands-on approach to the management of the customer journey and ensuring staff and customer inclusivity in the strategic direction of my business.
In 2019, Acorn Training became a Registered End Point Assessment organisation, which I was instrumental in developing and supporting the rigour of assessment processes for the award of a range apprenticeship programmes, using my ten years’ experience as principal examiner for Pearson for Functional Skills mathematics and as an OfSTED inspector.
I have extensive experience in human resource management, strategic planning, finance and the operational management of employability provision. I feel that these unique skills place me in a strong position to provide the IEP with the strong leadership and management required to represent the sector and its Members in the future.
Matt Kingswood MIEP
Vocational Training Specialist, The Digital College
Matt has been leading The Digital College, an online vocational training specialist, for over two years. During that time The Digital College has helped provide thousands of online interventions as a partner in the delivery of programmes such as Work and Health, Fair Start and SES.
Matt has been a passionate promoter of online education, with a special focus on making vocation learning available to those with barriers that impede traditional learning. As a result, The Digital College has a mission to provide online learning that can reach people with low confidence in their learning capabilities, limited access the internet and computers, and other barriers such as English language ability.
The Digital College recognises the importance of the role of Employment Professionals in persuading their clients to continue their educational journey. For this reason, Matt values the support and guidance that the IEP and its network can provide when evaluating the use of new technologies and methods to assist with adult education. In return, The Digital College has been please to support the IEP as a Corporate Affiliate Partner since 2018. Matt has been an integral part of the relationship with the IEP and is a regular attendee and contributor to the IEP Corporate Affiliate Partner Group.
Matt has a background in developing and leading organisations; delivering businesses with operational excellence (including ISO 27001) and customer-centric services (current holder of a Google 5 star rating).
Outside work, Matt is also active in his local community. He helps to organise a bi-annual local community flower show, and is coach/manager to a girls-only youth football team. In the past, he founded a group to support start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Firstly, I believe that there is a great opportunity to develop both the IEP’s Membership base by listening to Employment Professionals from a diverse geography while in turn promoting the benefits of the IEP to them. Through my work, I regularly travel across England, Scotland and Wales to engage in face-to-face conversations (an increasingly rare thing!) with Employment Professionals and their partner organisations. These trips would offer an excellent platform for two-way communication with fellow Professionals.
Secondly, I hope that my background and experience in the provision of adult education services, and other related areas of employment and recruitment services, could help the IEP organisation connect with a broader pool of professionals and partner organisations. Sharing best practice amongst a more diverse pool of ideas would, I believe, benefit everyone.
Finally, I would be pleased to work as part of the IEP Board to help develop operational areas such as customer services for Members and digital communications. I have over fifteen years experience running customer service operations: much of it servicing the needs of large numbers of professionals spread across the country. In terms of digital communications I have spent the last ten years leveraging various online platforms to recruit new customers to services and use digital media to keep them informed and engaged.
I sincerely hope that you will take the time to consider my application to become part of the IEP’s efforts to service and develop our community of Employment Professionals.
Martin O’Kane MIEP
Employment Service Specialist Lead, RNIB
I work for RNIB, one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities, offering help and support to thousands of blind and partially sighted people throughout the UK. Having started my journey with RNIB over 16 years ago, I first worked as a school’s Career Advisor, providing guidance to students with sight loss and their teachers on suitable career paths. I moved into management of the Northern Ireland branch of the charity’s Employment Service where I was responsible for the creation and development of a range of employability programmes aimed at helping people with sight loss to gain and stay in employment. This was followed by a Senior Manager role within the organisation which has led to my current position as Specialist Lead for all UK wide Employment Service activity that the organisation delivers on. My role involves providing strategic direction and leadership for all our Employability work with specific focus on improving our external relationship with both Employment Professionals and Employers.
I am also a qualified secondary school teacher and prior to my role with RNIB, I worked in a range of schools teaching French and Business Administration to students aged 12-18.
Outside of work, I chair the Education Committee of one of the largest Further Education Colleges in Northern Ireland, the North West Regional College. I provide governance on all issues relating to the College’s education curriculum to ensure that it is in line with the needs of the students and serves the economic needs of the external work environment.
I’m married to Marie-Claire and have three children.
My extensive experience in both the Education and Voluntary sector has instilled in me a passion to help people to reach their full potential, no matter who they are and what challenges they may face. I believe that a key element in making this possible is having the right professional support at the right time when making important decisions.
Having led on the successful implementation of an Employment Strategy within the challenging area of disability and employment, I can use my experience and expertise to develop IEP’s strategy to empower individuals and improve employability in the sector.
I am skilled in the creation and development of partnerships - whether this is with other employment professionals to improve the standard of service that they give to customers or with employers in giving them clear messages around how they can recruit and retain people and where to go for support in doing this.
I believe in the importance of setting high standards for employment professionals and show this daily in my leadership of a team of Specialist Employment Advisors. Employment professionals who excel at what they do should be recognised and celebrated for their achievements. My own team of professionals were recently shortlisted for ‘Team of the Year’ at the Employment Related Services Awards. This recognition also serves to encourage others in the sector to raise their standards. I have high expectations as a leader and believe that motivating people to be the best they can be can achieve great outcomes.
I have previous experience of participation in Boards related to Employability both as a Committee Member and Chairperson. I enjoy being part of a team and as a new Member to IEP, I think that I can bring an enthusiasm to the work that is being done by the Board and relish the opportunity of doing this if elected!
Scott Parkin FIEP
Independent Consultant (Chief Executive IEP)
Scott is Founder Director of Bridge Consultants, Chief Executive (CEO) of the Institute of Employability Professionals and Director of Partnerships at the good employability company. Passionate about the development of people he has spent over 25 years in the Employability, Skills and Apprenticeships, Social Care, Housing and Health-related services within a number of organisations.
Scott has a strong understanding of organisational cultures. He has delivered a variety of employability programmes and lead transformation projects centred around Social Care. He has developed disability focused initiatives within a leading Housing Association and gained considerable experience in Primary and Urgent Care as part of the NHS. He also established a new Reablement and Rehabilitation Service. Over the past few years Scott has been very active in establishing and developing the Institute of Employability Professionals, where he was awarded their very first Fellowship (by application) in 2012, successfully transforming the Institute from one that is grant funded to a commercial business and developing its Member base to over 8,000. He has also seen a significant growth in Corporate Affiliate and Strategic Partners and has overseen the development of the new Employability Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard (Level 4), the new IEP Certificate (Level 3) and the launch of the IEP in Australia.
Last year Scott was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts and recently has been appointed to the Board of the newly established ethical consultancy business ‘the good employability company ‘ where he is Director of Partnerships. Scott become CEO of the IEP last year after 3 years as Executive Chairman and is responsible for further qualification, framework and standards development in other areas of the UK plus the launch of IEP services in new international markets. Scott brings a wealth of experience in operational leadership and a well-developed strategic vision.
There is still much to do at the IEP but progress over the last couple of years has been very positive. I originally engaged with the IEP as I am keen to support all those working with in the sector to develop their professional skills so that they can always deliver excellent services to customers. This mission I still believe in.
I am a strategic thinker but am able to translate strategy into something that resonates well with Members and potential Members alike and get “buy in” at a very early stage. I take my responsibilities seriously as a Fellow and have been supportive as a mentor and coach and this I want to continue. I am adept at building strategic relationships and am keen to bring even more partners on board to help promote the IEP’s vision.
Over the past year, as CEO, I have supported the Executive Team and the Board, through many exciting ventures, at all times making sure that we deliver value for money for our Members. I am an astute negotiator and able to operate alongside government and partner agencies, promoting the IEP and supporting necessary policy and strategic changes , growing opportunities for the IEP and our sector as a whole.
I am also an operational leader. I have built strong governance relationships with other members of the IEP Board and supportive relationships with the Executive Team. I thrive on innovation and want to continue creating an environment where Members can influence the development of services that they need.
I wish to continue to progress the Strategic Plan working with other Board members. As CEO I am in a unique position to understand and action all elements of the Institute’s business meaning that the IEP remains well-lead, responsive and agile.
Pat Russell MIEP
Pat is an employability professional with extensive career experience in the British civil service, notably in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and as Head of the Office for Disability Issues. She has policy and programme design expertise in welfare to work commissioned provision, was responsible for the DWP Commissioning Strategy in 2006 and was Deputy Director for both the Social Justice and Young People and Employment Divisions.
She was part of the Institute for Government’s ‘innovative programme ‘Connecting Policy with Practice’ working with a range of central government senior officials and senior leaders from the local public and charity sectors.
Pat has also had experience in the private sector as Director for Work and Health at Advanced Personnel Management (APM), a company delivering innovation in employment activation services in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
More recently, as an independent consultant, she has worked with Local Authorities and in the charity sector supporting organisations to develop strategic life skills support and new provision.
In her spare time, Pat volunteers as Chair of the Board of Trustees for Staffordshire County Scout Council – an independent charity within the Scout Association. Working alongside the County Commissioner, she is responsible for the governance of the charity which provides challenging and adventurous experiences for around 8,000 young people aged between 6 and 18 supported by a volunteer team of nearly 2,000 adults. In line with the 2023 Vision set by the Scout Association, scouting in Staffordshire exists to actively engage and support young people in their personal development, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society by developing their self-confidence and social skills alongside practical and life skills. The annual turnover of the charity is in excess of £200,000.
Pat has been a director of the IEP since October 2016 and Chair since December 2018.
During the past three years, I have been an active Board member supporting the organisation through some challenging times.
I have taken the lead in developing and delivering on behalf of the IEP a Partnership Programme offer that has been successfully piloted in one Local Authority area. The programme was then showcased at the Employment and Skills Convention 2019. During the past year, as Chair, I have led a review of the IEP Strategy. With a refreshed Board, we have evolved the IEP Vision and Mission Statement and implemented an action plan to take forward three key strategic aims – Growth, Membership Support and Governance.
I am personally leading the Governance strand and have put in place steps to improve our financial management and reporting arrangements and to ensure that we meet all legislative requirements as an employer as well as preparing for constitutional changes to be proposed at the AGM 2019.
I have worked closely with the CEO to change our staffing and support arrangements. We have restructured to enable us to employ a Membership Services Coordinator, to contract direct financial support, to reduce on-costs and have moved our registered premises in order to provide a more efficient and cost-effective service.