Marina Gaze

Marina specialises in supporting senior leaders to rapidly improve the quality of their provision by helping them define their priorities and focus their resources to have the greatest impact. She is particularly interested in working with organisations who quickly need to improve their leadership and management and the quality of their teaching and learning, and who aspire to be good or outstanding. All the colleges and learning providers Marina has worked with have either improved their inspection grades or maintained their good grades.

Marina has significant experience of implementing restructuring and culture changes, impactful quality, CPD and performance management systems to rapidly improve learners’ experiences. She is currently involved in developing quality strategies and action plans for college mergers through area based review, ensuring smooth transition and rapid development of shared vision, high standards and clear reporting systems for governors.

Rav Garcha

Rav has over seventeen years executive leadership experience involved in devising and implementing strategy. With a unique style of leadership and inspirational ‘out of the box’ approach to solving problems. Providing creative solutions to business problems, delivering transformational projects involving systems, process improvements, financial sustainability, merger, complex modelling and cultural change.

Rav first qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant with National Grid Plc before moving into the FE Sector. Having worked in practice, private sector and with numerous SMEs, Rav has a broad breadth of experience and knowledge that will be suited to any situation.

What motivates Rav is the enjoyment he has in watching you succeed – his passion is your success.

Jacqui Gerrard

Jacqui is an experienced HR executive and general manager with extensive experience in the private and public sector. She has specialised in designing and managing the delivery of the people aspects of transformations, including mergers. She also has substantial experience of developing governance systems and processes for new and transformed organisations.

Jacqui specialises in supporting the Board to make and implement key decisions, such as changing the Senior Post Holder (SPH) structure, recruiting new SPHs including the CEO, building a high performing Board and creating governance structures and processes. These activities may be needed because of a merger or partnership, or may arise in the normal life of the corporation and college.

Liz Needham Chartered MCIPD, ACC, MIC, MA HRM

Career History

Liz is an experienced organisational development professional who has worked in people and organisational development for 10+ years.  She has delivered leadership development, performance improvement, skills assessment and development, restructures and organisational change programmes in global and complex settings.  Previously, Liz was a Programme Manager for international aid programmes and led dispersed business teams to deliver in challenging contexts.  She has led winning proposals and is skilled in stakeholder management and influencing.

Most of her work has been in the public and not for profit sectors but she has also worked with micro businesses and in manufacturing.  She has worked with leaders at every level.

Key Skills and Expertise

Liz focusses on performance coaching, consultancy and facilitation.  She loves partnering with individuals, teams and organisations who are committed to making changes that improve their performance.  This might be to deliver a challenging goal, a change or to address a problem.  Her areas of specialism include

  • Organisational diagnosis, development and design
  • Design and leadership of effective change programmes
  • Performance models and toolkits (performance management, leadership, change, competencies)
  • Leadership during change
  • Leadership coaching and capability building
  • Design and facilitation of workshops / business events
  • Career management and development
  • Managing stress and building resilience
  • Redundancy and exit programme management
  • Culture change

Liz’s qualifications include: an MA in Strategic HRM; being an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation; Chartered Membership of the CIPD; and a level 7 Certificate in Professional Consulting from the Institute of Consulting.

Christine Edwards

Christine Edwards, QTLS

Christine has accrued significant experience across the private and public sector before entering post 16 education in 2003. Through her role as a Development Manager within the quality function of a large national independent training provider Christine has been involved with Functional Skills since the pilot stages in 2007. She has supported the transition from Key Skills to Functional Skills within a range of Apprenticeship and 14+ provision and has been actively involved with the various phases of development and consultation completed to achieve the new Functional Skills specifications.  As an Associate Trainer with the Functional Skills Support Programme, from 2008, Christine delivered a full range of transitional CPD to providers across all sectors. Instrumental in championing the early adoption of Functional Skills across all provision offered, by the ITP, Christine ensured a successful and full transition from Key Skills by September 2012. This was followed by a wider transition, through the ITPs integration with a National Provider. Christine has supported staff training; vocational programme integration for maths and English; and increased quality assurance ensuring the retention of high quality provision and above average first time pass rates.

Christine has also been an active member of the Education and Training Leadership group and is supporting the preparation for release to the FE sector of the Level 3, Learning Mentor; Level 4, Assessor Coach; and Level 5, Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeships.

Peter Butcher

Peter has a wealth of experience as a governance professional in the education sector.  This experience is complemented by his earlier success as a deputy chief executive in local government with responsibility for governance drawing on a background in democratic and legal services.  He is currently an active member of the SFCA’s Governance Policy Committee.

Transparency, communication and sound governance along with effective governor training and development come top of Peter’s priorities.  He is always thinking about what needs to happen today to ensure a Corporation is more effective tomorrow.  Identifying those positive, realistic and sustainable improvements is a major part of Peter’s approach with clients when updating board operations.  He can also draw on first-hand experience of merging corporations and successful integration post-merger.

Peter’s reputation is built on being professional, courteous and approachable.  He is known for giving sensible, impartial and sound advice.   Peter has the flexibility and experience to apply his skills, experience and knowledge in a variety of contexts and has a proven record of accomplishment from the front line to strategic direction and all points between.  Enthusiastic, Peter wants to make a positive difference wherever he is or whatever he does.

Val Dickinson, Marketing Consultant

Val is an experienced Marketing and PR professional who has extensive knowledge and experience in Marketing and Communications, Digital Marketing, Social Media Training, and Public Relations.

With over 20 years extensive experience of the Education sector, B2B & B2C markets. Val also specialises in working with niche groups and is passionate about supporting SMEs.

Val has an affinity of working with Women Entrepreneurs in the over 50s age bracket who are in the process of starting their own business. She has held 3 Director roles and is also on the board of Women’s support network in Greater Manchester. Val is also a mentor for Manchester, Business Growth Company, and a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Chartered Management Institute.

Vanessa Rhodes BA Hons, FCIPD

Vanessa is a very experienced HR professional with a compassionate, pragmatic approach to people management.

Vanessa has worked in FMCG and in the public sector and she has spent the last 15 years working in Further Education. As a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, her expertise lies in providing tangible and effective transformational solutions to people, process and performance matters. She works with a calm, clear and organised perspective, gained from the many encounters and experiences she has dealt with throughout her career. Vanessa played a pivotal role in two FE college mergers, taking significant staffing decisions and mobilising leaders to make tough choices, to enable the process of change from the inside out.

Vanessa’s energy and her eye for detail mean that you can trust her to produce excellent and timely results. She was recently described by a senior leader who she supported through a period of extensive change as a ‘gateway to sanity’.

Neil Wallbank

Neil is a qualified accountant and is our lead director in respect of further education advisory projects. He has over 20 years experience of working in the public and not-for-profit sectors, the last sixteen of which have been primarily in the education and associated sectors. Until recently Neil was a Director at within a top five professional services firm with responsibility for advisory services to the education sector.

Neil specialises in assisting organisations with financial recovery, strategic options reviews, feasibility studies, establishing financial systems and controls and preparation for grant funding audits. He has previously worked in the USA with a large professional services firm advising major universities on risk management and financial controls and procedures.

Neil has also held the position of Director of Finance at a Further Education college in the North of England.

Ruth James

Ruth is a highly capable and experienced senior education professional offering consultancy services in further education. A former Ofsted HMI and college senior manager she can offer advice and support around key aspects of educational performance including self-assessment, leadership and management, quality improvement, teaching and learning, and student achievement.