Professional Background

A highly experienced professional with an excellent track record in learning and skills, social economy and sustainability, with the following key skill sets:

Research: rigorous, experienced and qualified in social research and evaluation (formative and summative), with particular expertise in qualitative methods. Effective across the range of research processes: research design; desk research; fieldwork design, delivery & management; analysis and reporting.

Consultancy: partnership development, relationship management and consultation; strategy and solution development; project management; contract management.

Communication: comfortable and engaging with people at all levels; assured public speaker, facilitator and trainer; author of clear and persuasive documents; fluent Spanish speaker; open to other cultures and new ideas.

Business development: commercially aware and entrepreneurial, with experience of owning and running a business, and sustained success in commercial work winning and bid writing.

Professional Experience

March 2016 – present: Independent Researcher, Consultant and Evaluator, specialised in learning & skills, social economy and sustainability. A range of research, consultancy and evaluation projects for clients such as EKC Group, KFE, Canterbury Christ Church University, Morley College London, Kent and Medway Medical School, Locate in Kent, SQW Consulting, Rising Sun (Domestic Violence Charity), Corn Exchange Newbury, Dreamland Heritage Trust Margate, the Tech Partnership, Abbey Physic Garden Faversham, Fort Amherst Heritage Trust Chatham, World Skills UK / Dept of International Trade and Dover Business Forum.

August 2017 – July 2020: Project Associate, EDGE Hub, Canterbury Christ Church University, consultancy support for the development and implementation of the SELEP and HEFCE-funded Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise (EDGE) Hub. Activities included funder liaison and project monitoring compliance, internal project planning and management, evaluation, membership of project Steering Group, Strategic Advisory Board and Project Operational Group, and other tasks as required.

July 2017 – November 2020: Skills Specialist, Locate in Kent, working with inward investors and growing businesses to enable access to support on recruitment and skills issues from universities, FE colleges, training providers, schools, recruitment companies and other organisations. Also involved in strategic local skills bodies and key partnerships.

Dec 2010 – February 2016: Director, Emergent Research and Consulting Ltd: Co-founder and co-owner, responsible for winning, leading and delivering as part of team a wide range of social research and evaluation projects, including:

Evaluations of the BIS-funded Digital Business Certificate pilot, Capital Colleges’ Skills for Climate Change initiative, Federation of Master Builders’ Retrofit and Business Skills training project, Project Dirt (NESTA-funded green social network), and the Wealden and Rother LEADER Rural Development Programme.

Research and scoping of London Enterprise Panel’s support for collaboration and cooperation among London construction SMEs to access public procurement opportunities, Big Lottery’s support for community-led responses to climate change, Canterbury Christ Church University’s review of FE teacher education programmes, Green Infrastructure planning by Greening the Gateway Kent and Medway (as part of a pan-European Interreg initiative).

Community Impact Assessments for East Kent College, Bromley College and Bolton College, assessing their economic, social and ecological footprints and how impact can be improved.

Skills demand assessments of Engineering and Technology Higher Level Skills (Canterbury Christ Church University), labour market intelligence studies in Kent and Medway, for the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, for East Kent College and of High-tech Clusters in South Oxfordshire.

Jan 2007 – Dec 2010: Director, Step Ahead Research Ltd: Responsible for winning, leading and delivering as part of team a wide range of social research and evaluation projects, including evaluations (inc HEFEC-funded South East Coastal Communities Programme), major employer skills surveys (Thames Valley, Oxfordshire, Bucks and Slough); developing area work and skills plans (North Kent, Ashford, East Kent and Dover), and scoping studies (such as that for Big Lottery on Climate Change).

Apr 2004 – Dec 2006: Senior Consultant, Individual Learning Company Ltd: Led and delivered a range of research and consultancy projects, including area-based work and skills plans, European bid writing, project appraisal and strategy development (eg: Natural East Kent Business Plan). Developed regeneration project appraisal and monitoring manual commended by South East England Development Agency.

Mar 2000 – Apr 2004: Sector and Business Development Manager, Ufi – learndirect Ltd: Responsible for working with partners to develop and implement national partnership-based learning hubs in industry sectors and with trade unions (total annual value c£1m), including the NHS, TUC, Social Care / UNISON, the Landbased Sector, Virgin Trains and Retail. Included a period seconded into the Department of Health as a member of the NHSU Transition Team.

Oct 1996 – Mar 2000: Senior Project Executive – Learning Development, Kent Training and Enterprise Council: Responsible for development and contract management of a portfolio of innovative learning and socially oriented projects (annual budget c£1m) using a variety of external funding streams (inc then DfEE, European Social Fund, Regional Development Agency and Government Office) and including community and e-learning, community learning loans and learning accounts, Kent Guidance Consortium, out-of-school childcare services and returner initiatives.

Apr 1995 – Oct 1996: Trainer, Canterbury Language Training Ltd: Design and delivery as part of a team of senior executive English language training intensive courses to corporate and public sector clients from Europe and the rest of the world.

Apr 1992 – Mar 1995: Consultor-Formador (Consultant Trainer), Lanser English Training SA, Bilbao, Spain: Design and delivery of in-company English language training programmes for executives and technical specialists in large companies in a variety of sectors in the Basque Country.

Jan 1988 – Mar 1992: Teacher of English as a Foreign Language (EFL), Inlingua Idiomas, Bilbao, Spain: General and business English teaching to mainly adults and some children / young people. Followed completion of the Inlingua TEFL Method Certificate in Dec 1987.

Education, Professional Qualifications and Publications

Member of the Social Research Association and Market Research Society (MMRS).

Jan – March 2018, New Economics Foundation (NEF Consulting) courses: Creating a Theory of Change , Data Analysis for Social Impact and Measuring & Improving Wellbeing.

Author of, Catalan Solidarity: Frustration into Transformation, in the magazine Stir to Action, January 2017.

Award in Education and Training (City and Guilds), City Lit, London, June 2016.

Perspectives on Sustainable Development, postgraduate taught module (30 credits), University of Exeter (by distance learning), completion March 2011.

Co-author of, Supporting Sustainable Community-University Partnerships – A Question of Geography? Pratt, J, Matthews S, Nairne, B, Hoult, E & Ashenden S (Gateways: The International Journal of Community Engagement, 2010).

Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research Practice (Merit), 2007.

Foundations of Senior Management (B800), Open University, 1999.

Author of chapter, Case Study – Kent, Region of Learning, in Making Lifelong Learning Work, Learning Cities for a Learning Century, Norman Longworth, Kogan Page, 1999.

MA (Distinction) European Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management, Keele University (by distance learning), 1996. Dissertation on the impact of the European Works Council Directive on the HR practice of Hilton International published in European Working Lives Ed Jefferys S, Mispelblom F and Thornqvist C, Edward Elgar, 2001.

Aptitiud en Lengua y Literatura Espanola (highest level Spanish Language and Literature award for non-native speakers), Official School of Languages, Bilbao, Spain, 1991.

BaSocSci (Hons) International Studies with Spanish, Birmingham University, 1987.