AELP 2020 Vision Conference and Debate 2015 - The Future for Employment and Skills

Thursday, 19 February 2015
Congress Centre, Central London

Martin Dunford OBE Stewart Segal Sue Husband Professor Bill Lucas Tom Wilson Kirstie Donnelly
Daniel Hooper Chris Hayes Toni Pearce Jon Greig Nick Linford Peter Lauener
Dr Ann Limb OBE DL Martin Doel OBE

Martin Dunford OBE

Chief Executive - Skills Training UK and Chairman - AELP

Martin is the Chairman of AELP and Chief Executive of Skills Training UK. His company Skills Training UK is a Prime Contractor to the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP), the Education Funding Agency (EFA) delivering the Study Programme and the Youth Contract for 16 -17 year old NEETS and to the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) for Apprenticeships and Traineeships. Martin has been involved in the promotion and delivery of vocational education and skills and Apprenticeships for over twenty years.

Martin was a founding member of AELP and has been elected as its Chairman for each of the last ten years. In addition, Martin was a member of the End to End Review of Modern Apprenticeships, on the Advisory Panel to the Foster Review of Further Education and a Board member of both the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) and the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA).
He was also a long standing member of both the Further Education & Skills Ministerial Advisory Panel and the Apprenticeship Ambassador’s Network.

Martin was awarded an OBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours list for services to skills training.

Stewart Segal

Chief Executive, Association of Employment and Learning Providers

Stewart Segal was appointed to the role of AELP Chief Executive in July 2013. He has worked in the funded work based learning sector for over 20 years and in particular has supported AELP since its formation.

Previously, Stewart worked as an independent consultant within the training sector, working with a number of training providers and colleges specialising in business development and funding issues. Following a background in HR and general management in the private sector Stewart, joined Hertfordshire TEC in 1994 as Chief Executive. He also worked at the TEC for 4 years prior to joining Spring Skills as Chief Executive in 1998. Spring Skills was then the largest independent training provider in the sector involved in the delivery of a range of programmes in the service sectors such as retail, customer services, hospitality and business administration.

Stewart is also a Director of the Talent Foundation a not for profit network of organisation committed to the development of talent at work.

Nick Linford

Nick Linford is an expert in further education funding and performance systems and a company director of Lsect Ltd.

He runs a series of popular workshops, conferences and webinars about funding and data, which have been attended by more than 15,000 people in the last five years.

Nick is also author of the Complete Guide to Funding Apprenticeships (, two books about funding and data published by Pearson and the founding editor for Lsect’s weekly newspapers: FE Week ( and Schools Week (

Prior to setting-up Lsect in 2010 Nick established an education think tank at the publishers Pearson, and before that was for seven years Director of Planning and Performance at the Lewisham College, during which time they achieved an Ofsted grade one.

Peter Lauener

Chief Executive of Education Funding Agency and Skills Funding Agency

Peter is the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer for the Education Funding Agency and the Skills Funding Agency.

The EFA is an executive agency of the Department for Education and is responsible for the majority of the DfE’s funding of the education system - £54bn in 2013-14. The EFA fund all state-provided education to 8 million children ages 3 to 16 and 1.6 million young people aged 16 to 19 providing additional support to those with high needs.

SFA is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and is responsible for the funding of skills training for further education (FE) in England. SFA supports over 1,000 colleges, private training organisations, and employers with more than £4 billion of funding each year.

Peter was appointed Chief Executive and Accounting Officer when the Education Funding Agency (EFA) was formed in April 2012 and to the role of Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency in November 2014. Peter holds both roles concurrently and has separate accountability for each agency’s budget.

Starting his career as an economist in the Government Economic Service, Peter has also worked in organisations such as the Scottish Office (pre-devolution), the Manpower Services Commission, the Department for Education and Employment and the Government Office network. He was appointed Chief Executive of the Young People’s Learning Agency in September 2010.

Dr Ann Limb OBE DL

Chair of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership

Business leader and social entrepreneur, Dr Ann Limb OBE DL is Chair of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) one of 39 private - sector led economic development partnerships (LEPs) set up in 2015 by the Coalition Government to stimulate innovation, inward investment, economic growth and job creation. SEMLEP is the 7th largest LEP in England and comprises eleven local authorities across Aylesbury Vale, Bedfordshire, Cherwell, Northamptonshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes.

A 25-year career in Further Education, as a lecturer and then College Principal in Milton Keynes and Cambridge, confirmed Ann’s belief in the power of the UK’s technical and vocational education and training system to transform lives, businesses and communities.  As a senior civil servant from 2000-2005, Ann was responsible for the UK government’s flagship digital learning initiative, the University for Industry (Ufi Ltd), now the successfully privatised organisation learndirect, together with the national e-services programmes Direct Gov and UK online, the latter now a successful social enterprise, the Tinder Foundation that campaigns for digital inclusion. Moving to the private sector in the role of Senior Vice President with the international strategic management consultancy Citizen Service Transformation Ann worked from 2005-10 as a government adviser in the UK and overseas and was involved with the Departments for Education and Business Innovation & Skills in the setting up the TUC’s learning service unionlearn

Ann holds a number of public and private sector non-executive directorships and is Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Buckinghamshire, where she has lived since 1986. Ann is a well-known champion of Milton Keynes. She is Chair of Destination Milton Keynes – the city’s official tourism and visitor information service. In this capacity, Ann is Chair of the MK Major Events Board, with overall responsibility for delivery in the city of the Rugby World Cup 2015. As a Trustee of the Stables Theatre, Ann also chairs IF, the biennial Milton Keynes International Festival

Ann is chair of a major national educational charity - the Helena Kennedy Foundation,, which she founded in 1998 to promote social inclusion in further and higher education by awarding bursaries to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. She also served for three years as Chair of a large multi academy trust whose core mission is to break the link between poverty and underachievement. In September 2015, Ann will formally take up the post of Chair of The Scouts Association,  - the UK’s largest youth engagement and volunteering charity. Ann will be The Scouts Association’s first ever woman Chair.

In the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, Ann was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire - OBE - for her public service and services to education. See for more information.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE

UK Managing Director, City & Guilds

Kirstie joined City & Guilds December 2011 and is the UK Managing Director. Kirstie has worked at the forefront of the e-learning sector for over 20 years. Her previous role was with learndirect as Director of Products and Marketing, where she created the first large scale brand and online offer in the provision of adult learning. Kirstie has created award winning products across the adult and consumer learning market place and is passionate about the role of digital and social media in transforming how people live, learn and work.

In addition Kirstie spent 4 years with a Video Arts Group, originally established by John Cleese, where she took a VHS training business and transformed it into an online digital business, developing a range of award winning DVD and e-learning training products. Prior to this she was Director of Lifelong Learning & ICT for Manchester Training & Enterprise Council, and where she developed in 1997 the first of its kind Virtual Chamber of Commerce, just at the start of the Internet 'boom'. Kirstie also worked on the David Blunkett Task Force Group that established the Green paper: Learning Age. This paper set the policy agenda for a number of key Government Learning & Technology initiatives.

Kirstie has been an active member of Race Online 2012 campaign and was part of the Government’s ICT review, as well as the European Commission Review Team.

In June 2011 Kirstie was awarded an MBE in the Queens Honours for her services to e-learning in the FE/Adult sector. She is also a Fellow of Royal Society of Arts.

Chris Hayes

Strategy Director Labour Market, Department for Work and Pensions

Chris has held a number of policy posts in DWP reforming benefits and welfare to work programs. He has also led a number of national change programs delivering new support to people unable to work and led the implementation of an organisation design review of Jobcentre Plus.

Chris has worked on EU social policy, had an eighteen month secondment to the CBI and spent two years at the Cabinet Office in the Regulatory Reform Unit. From November 2005 to April 2008 Chris was the London Regional Director for Jobcentre Plus and from April 2008 to August 2010 was the Director of the Government Office for London.

He worked in the Department for Communities and Local Government during 2010 leading cross Whitehall work to devolve powers from central Departments to the Mayor of London and London Boroughs and returned to DWP in November 2010 to set up the Universal Credit Programme. In September 2011 Chris was appointed DWP’s Labour Market Strategy Director.

Chris is a member of the London Regional Council of the Prince’s Trust and a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.

Toni Pearce

National President, National Union of Students (NUS)

Toni Pearce is the National President of the National Union of Students (NUS) and, as such, represents over 600 students’ unions and seven million students. Toni is the first NUS President who has not been to university. She believes in shaping the future of education to help create a fairer society and is passionate about the power of students to drive change.

Having studied at Cornwall College before serving as President of Cornwall College Students' Union from 2009 to 2011, Toni was elected NUS Vice-President (Further Education) in 2011 and then President in 2013. During her time as President of NUS, Toni has secured a range of political wins for students. She has seen 24+ advanced learner loan fees scraped for apprentices; has seen proposals to cut the disabled students’ allowance dropped for 2014/15 and reassessed; and has secured a commitment from the government to introduce Sharia compliant student loans. Toni also secured significant concessions to the Lobbying Act, including through sitting as a Commissioner on the Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement. 

Jon Greig

Deputy Operations Director, Shaw Trust

Jon Greig has been working for Shaw Trust for three years, having joined the charity in 2011. He is responsible for all internal delivery of Work Programme, Work Choice and Learning & Skills services nationally, covering over 200 delivery sites.

Daniel Hooper

Policy Adviser - Education, Skills and Business Support, Federation of Small Businesses

After completing a Masters in Public Administration Dan has worked at both national and local government levels advising policymakers on education and skills policy formulation. He is currently the Education, Skills and Business Support Policy Adviser for the Federation of Small Businesses.

His current focus is on ensuring that businesses have access to the right skills, through high quality apprenticeships, effective careers guidance and strong links between learners and employers. Prior to the FSB Dan worked as an adviser in Parliament where he worked with the government on gaining political support for higher education funding changes, the changing focus on apprenticeships and the academisation of schools.

Dan has also worked for the City of London Corporation where, as the education policy adviser, he managed the project to develop the City’s first combined education strategy in its 600 year history.

Sue Husband

Executive Director of the National Apprenticeship Service

Sue Husband is the Executive Director for the National Apprenticeship Service at the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), an executive agency of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The SFA are responsible for £4.1 billion of funding each year, supporting skills training through contracts with employers, over 1,000 colleges and private training organisations in England.

Sue is responsible for the Apprenticeships Division, ensuring the delivery of high-quality apprenticeships for employers and individuals through the Agency’s two customer-facing services: the National Apprenticeship Service and the National Careers Service.

This includes the promotion of apprenticeships; the provision of a responsive, high-quality service to employers; working with partners to improve the design and delivery of high-quality apprenticeships; promoting and supporting traineeships as part of the apprenticeship family; and the promotion of the WorldSkills UK skills competitions to employers and young people.  

Tom Wilson

Director - Unionlearn, TUC
Tom was appointed Director of Unionlearn - the education, learning and skills organisation of the TUC - in July 2009. Prior to that, Tom had been Head of the Organisation and Services Department at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) from July 2003.

Tom was previously head of NATFHE's Universities Department for five years, having before that been Head of Research and then Assistant General Secretary at the Association of University Teachers from 1988. His other experience includes two years in employment research, with Incomes Data Services (a publishing house specialising in employment publications), and then five years with the GMB (the UK's fourth largest trade union). Tom was also the National Trade Union Liaison Officer for the Labour Party (1986-1988).

Tom has an MA in Industrial Relations from Warwick University (1978-79) and a Diploma in Social Administration from York University. His first degree was in Philosophy from St Andrews University. In 1996 Tom gained a postgraduate Certificate in Employment Law from Middlesex University.

A Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development, the professional institute for management involved in personnel and staff development.

Professor Bill Lucas

Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning
Bill Lucas is Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester where he is Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning. With Professor Guy Claxton he is the creator of the Expansive Education Network, With AELP, 157 Group and City & Guilds he has played a significant role in creating the Alliance for Research into Vocational Education. Bill is in demand across the world as an entertaining and thought-provoking speaker and facilitator. Bill has written more than 40 books and numerous research reports including:

Remaking Apprenticeship: powerful learning for work and life (with Ellen Spencer) Thinking like and engineer: implications for the education system (with Guy Claxton and Janet Hanson) Expansive Education: teaching learners for the real world (with Guy Claxton and Ellen Spencer) How to teach vocational education: a theory of vocational pedagogy (with Guy Claxton and Ellen Spencer) A History of The English Language in 100 Places (with Christopher Mulvey).

Martin Doel OBE

Chief Executive, Association of Colleges

Martin Doel took up his appointment as Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC) in 2008. AoC's role is to represent and support the interests of Further Education, Sixth Form and Specialist Colleges and to provide them with a range of support services.

Prior to joining AoC Martin served in the Royal Air Force in a range of operational support roles, culminating in his appointments as the Director of Training and Education for all 3 Armed Services, working in the Ministry of Defence; the MOD is the largest employer of apprentices in the UK. He has published articles on military assistance in humanitarian aid operations, strategic planning enterprise education and apprenticeships.

He was appointed OBE in 1998 for his work in support of operations in the Balkans and for his contribution to Anglo-German relations. He holds a Master’s Degree with Distinction from King's College, London and a First Class Honours Degree in Education from King Alfred's College Winchester. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of arts and Royal Aeronautical Society. He is also a member of several advisory Boards and Secretary-Treasurer for the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics.