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Meet the commissioners

In February 2012 Minister John Hayes announced the appointment of Frank McLoughlin CBE, principal of City and Islington College, as chair of the independent Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning. Frank was supported by vice chairs Fiona McMillan OBE, president of the Association of Colleges, formerly principal of Bridgwater College, and Graham Schuhmacher MBE, Head of Development Services, Rolls-Royce.

The 19 commissioners were:

Frank McLoughlin CBE, Chair, and Principal of City and Islington College

Frank McLoughlin was appointed as chair of the independent Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning by Minister John Hayes in February 2012. Frank joined the further education and skills sector as a part-time lecturer in 1980 and has been principal of City and Islington College since July 2002. City and Islington College was judged to be outstanding in every measure by Ofsted and has been twice awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. Frank is a leading figure in the sector and chair and a founding member of the 157 Group. He is a Board member of Action Aid UK and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Fiona McMillan OBE, Vice Chair and formerly President of the Association of Colleges and Principal, Bridgwater College.

Fiona McMillan was President of the Association of Colleges (2011/2012) and, from 1994 to her retirement in March 2012, Principal of Bridgwater College. Fiona's career in education began in secondary schools in London and Dorset, followed by 25 years in FE, as a teacher, manager and leader. Fiona is currently undertaking a number of consultancy projects including providing education and skills advice to EDF Energy's Nuclear New Build Generating Company (NNB GenCo).

Graham Schuhmacher MBE, Vice Chair and Head of Development Services, Rolls-Royce

Graham Schuhmacher is responsible for training and development for all 44,000 Rolls-Royce employees globally, and has also been a governor at Derby College. In the last 20 years he has been involved with skills development and education at local and national level, including apprenticeship framework development in the manufacturing sector. Graham is interested in supporting the UK supply chain to be fit for purpose by developing ‘home grown’ talent, and would like to see closer working between the worlds of FE and work.

Bill Alexander, Head of Training and Skills, National Skills Academy - Railway Engineering

Bill Alexander began his career as an apprentice with British Rail, progressing to technician and supervisor, and then to engineering trainer. Over the last 20 years he has held managerial posts in training and development in the railway industry, and developed and delivered the Network Rail advanced apprenticeship scheme, with 1300 apprentices to date. Bill is keen to promote informal training in the workplace, of supporting that to be as good as it can be, and of developing the training skills of workplace trainers.

Richard Atkins, Principal, Exeter College

Richard Atkins has spent more than 30 years working in the FE and skills sector as a lecturer, manager and principal. He has been principal of Exeter College since 2002, and was previously principal of Yeovil College for seven years. Richard combines the role of principal with being deputy chair of the Association of Colleges (AoC) and the national portfolio holder for Sport in Colleges. In March 2012 Exeter College underwent a pilot ‘no notice’ Ofsted inspection and was rated outstanding for teaching and learning.

Professor Mariane Cavalli, Principal, Warwickshire College

Mariane has been a college principal for 11 years, most recently at Warwickshire College. She is involved with several committees and organisations including the 157 Group of Colleges; AoC National Strategic Skills Group; AoC Skills Portfolio Groups for DWP-related work, which she chairs; and the Enterprise Group. She is a founder/Director of Gazelle Global Ltd which is committed to creating entrepreneurial colleges. Mariane is called upon to represent the sector at national conferences, discussions with ministers and MPs and select committees. Actively involved in partnerships in China, she advises on the development of vocational skills training, and holds professorships at two Chinese universities.

Rob Hammond, Managing Director, Direct Training Solutions Ltd

Rob Hammond has a background in both private training provision and colleges, and now works independently to develop trainers and assessment teams in the workplace, helping them to transfer their knowledge, skills and understanding to colleagues. For 10 years his business has been working with large multinationals and small and medium-sized companies to develop and implement innovative training solutions. With an aging workforce in many sectors, he is particularly interested in the effective transfer of skills and knowledge to younger colleagues.

Professor Matthew Harrison, Director of Education, The Royal Academy of Engineering

Matthew Harrison is currently director of education at the Royal Academy of Engineering and visiting professor in STEM education at the Institute of Education, University of London. A chartered engineer, academic, and experienced leader of 14-19 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, he has 16 years teaching experience in adult engineering education and maintains a significant teaching load. Matthew chairs the National Committee for 14-19 Engineering Education, and is secretary to the Technician Council and a founding member of Education for Engineering.

Sue Hill, Head of Teaching and Learning, West Herts College

Sue Hill has been a practitioner in FE for 15 years and has also worked in industry in the financial services sector. As head of teaching and learning at West Herts College Sue coordinates a team of senior practitioners who promote innovative teaching and assessment strategies to develop and share professional practice for 400 teachers across the college. Sue has been engaged in action research into supporting effective teaching and learning through the East of England Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training.

Gary Hughes, Director of Curriculum and Developments (Adults), Hull College

As Director of Curriculum and Developments (Adults) at Hull College, Gary Hughes leads all adult learning developments across the Hull College Group, which includes Hull, Harrogate and Goole Colleges and over 11,000 adult learners. He has been involved in work on the embedding of maths and English in vocational learning and the successful delivery of maths and English in the workplace. He has also previously worked for the Learning and Skills Council and in the Careers Service.

Colonel Carolyn Johnstone, Ministry of Defence

Colonel Carolyn Johnstone has been in the army for 25 years, and is an education and training specialist. Carolyn has previously been involved in setting up training centres and vocational qualifications from scratch in Iraq, and she now works in training and education policy for all the services and the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and on the development of the MoD’s education strategy. The MoD delivers 13,000 apprenticeships each year in the technical, e-skills and administration sectors.

Roshni Joshi, Student, South Downs College and NUS representative

Roshni Joshi is a student at South Downs College, and is on the National Union of Students (NUS) Further Education Zone Committee. She has taken part in NUS campaigns to raise the profile of vocational and non-traditional routes through further education, and launched the Student Governor Support Programme toolkit at the LSIS Annual Governance Conference in March 2012.

Martina Milburn CBE, Chief Executive, The Prince's Trust

Martina Milburn is chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, and was previously chief executive of the BBC Children in Need Appeal and of the Association of Spinal Injury Research, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (ASPIRE). She began her career as a journalist, established the press and communications function for the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD) and worked on a freelance basis for a range of charities. She joined The Prince’s Trust in 2004, and is also joint chair of the Youth Action Group, a cross-departmental youth voluntary sector advisory group.

Shauni O'Neill, National Apprentice of the Year 2011, Transport for London

Shauni O’Neill works for Transport for London and is currently a train operator, having been an operational apprentice for two years. Her apprenticeship gave her the opportunity to experience many areas of the business, working as a customer service assistant, station supervisor, signal operator and train operator. Shauni was named National Apprentice of the Year 2011, and having now finished her apprenticeship, she has been promoted through several grades at TfL. Shauni is also an ambassador for Transport for London and the National Apprenticeship Service.

Jacqui Ramus, Practice Development Manager, St Monica Trust

Jacqui Ramus has over 25 years experience of working directly in social care, and training and development. She is a Director of Care Learning, a member of the Care Learning Employer’s Consortium, and vice chair of the Skills for Care (south west) regional committee. Jacqui has formerly been Chair of the Association of Care Training and Assessment Networks. Jacqui manages a team of trainers and assessors at St Monica Trust, a charity employing approximately 1000 people and providing care, support and accommodation to older people with a range of needs in Bristol and north Somerset.

Mike Smith, Curriculum Development Manager, Eagit Training

Mike Smith has worked in both vocational teaching and management for a number of years and is currently curriculum development manager at Eagit Training, an educational charity with 300 mentor employers and 300 intermediate and advanced apprentices. He is an electrical engineer and is currently working towards a doctorate in education, researching the development of teachers entering the profession from a vocational background. Mike is also East of England Regional Adviser for the Institute for Learning.

Alastair Taylor, Quality Advisor, Landex

Alastair Taylor is quality advisor to Landex (Land-based college aspiring to excellence). He has over 30 years experience in the FE and skills sector and until recently was vice principal and director of quality improvement at Hartpury College. In 2011 he was appointed as independent chair of the Land-based Engineering Training and Education Committee, a key function of which is to progress a skills strategy for land-based engineering. Alastair has also undertaken inspections for Ofsted and the Adult Learning Inspectorate, and is an Incorporated Engineer and Chartered Environmentalist.

Tom Wilson, Director, unionlearn

Tom Wilson began teaching for the Workers’ Educational Association while still a student, and is now director of unionlearn. Unionlearn is an arm of the TUC providing support and training for all, helping 225,000 learners in 2011 into learning through their union. Tom is responsible for the strategic leadership and management of unionlearn, and represents unionlearn at senior levels with trade unions, government and other organisations. Tom has written on unions, education and industrial relations for newspapers, magazines, campaigning organisations and academic publications.

Dereth Wood, Director of Operations, learndirect

Dereth Wood is Director of Operations at learndirect and has been responsible for services including skills for individuals and employers, and Life in the UK citizenship testing across England and Wales for the last eight years. She began her career as a secondary school teacher in Kenya and in London, before moving into adult skills and community economic development in the voluntary sector. Dereth later became involved in planning and policy in the FE sector as Head of Education at a Training and Enterprise Council (TEC) and within a Connexions company implementing programmes to support lifelong learning.