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Skills team profiles

Adam Powell

Director of Skills

Adam Powell has joined the WE LEP as Director of Skills, following eight years at Bath Spa University, where he managed a £5 million employability enhancement project and oversaw a year-on-year improvement in graduate destinations, with most recently 95% of graduates in jobs or further study within six months of graduating.

Adam will be responsible for leading the LEP Skills team in the delivery of their vision to develop a well-educated and well-motivated workforce that meets business needs now and in the future.

Pearl Mills

Business Engagement Manager and Skills Adviser: Low Carbon

Pearl has worked for over 10 years providing business support to SME's within the South West delivering the Business Link, Skills and Environmental Support Contracts. Her role is to engage businesses, identify the skills needs of the low carbon sector and provide solutions through a range of support and services offered by the LEP and partners to help businesses develop a skilled workforce and grow.

Pearl is responsible for maintaining close relationships with the LEP Low Carbon Sector Group and partner organisations that represent the views of members and ensuring that the Low Carbon Sector Skills Group actively works together to have a positive impact on businesses and the economic growth of the sector within the area.

Henry Lawes

Education Partnership Manager

Henry has worked for over six years in bid writing and fundraising for both the Further Education sector and the Voluntary Sector in Bristol, working in partnership with a variety of organisations to develop joint project proposals. Henry has a background in partnership working including the delivery of the Station project in the centre of Bristol (involving the private, public and voluntary sectors) and media and communication work at Comic Relief.  He has even been an Airship Crewman for the Virgin Airship and Balloon Company.

Henry will be working with the five Further Education Colleges in the West of England to develop and deliver a provider response to the LEP Skills Plan and working with the West of England Vice Principals Joint Planning Group and also co-ordinating FE engagement in delivering the LEP targets.

Marina Traversari

Projects Manager

Marina has worked for over 10 years in Bristol within the creative industries, as Producer and Project Manager for Calling The Shots, Love Productions, Knowle West Media Centre and Icon Films.  Clients included: BBC, Department of Schools and Families, Parliament, Mediabox, Firstlight, BCC, South Gloucester Youth Services, University of Bristol, University of the West of England, National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet, Channel 4 & UK Film Council.

Marina is currently responsible for developing  comms and reporting, monitoring and managing the delivery of targets whilst ensuring compliance within the projects risk and performance management arrangements.  She is the project manager for the Skills Show Experience and  contracts and budget  manager for the skills team.

Nicky Williams

Skills Adviser: Creative

Nicky has over 15 years' experience working in the creative industries; as a freelance camera lighting operator, director, creative facilitator and recently as Education and Digital Media Producer leading on the devising and delivery of the creative education programme at Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol.

As Skills Adviser for Creative, Nicky will engage with both businesses and education providers across the creative & cultural sector, identifying skill requirements and facilitating the growth of the creative industries in the West of England.  Nicky will also develop the 'Creative Skills Hub' working closely alongside Creative Skillset and other partners to offer a range of services to both employers and potential employees.

Becca Thurston

Skills Adviser: Engineering, Professional Services & Inward Investment

Having spent over 10 years working within work based learning provision Becca has experience of Apprenticeships, NVQs in the workplace and supporting people into employment. She has worked within a variety of sectors including engineering, construction and professional services.

As the Skills Adviser for Advanced Engineering, Professional Services and Inward Investment Becca will work closely with businesses in the West of England to ensure they are getting the best from the local educational establishments. Increasing the communication between education and industry to help facilitate a variety of activities to meet the ever demanding employment and business needs and expand the range of opportunities available to young people.

Sarah Babajee

Skills Adviser: Skills Support for the Workforce

Sarah has recently joined the LEP skills team after 3 years raising her young family. She has spent nearly all her career working with SMEs, most recently for Business Link on the Train to Gain scheme, as a Business adviser, and as a Skills adviser working predominantly with smaller SMEs and start-up businesses.

She has also project managed two major ESF projects for Business West, spanning the whole of the West of England area. This brought her into contact with a wide variety of employers, learners and training providers, which has given her an excellent network to build on.

Sarah will be working on the Skills Support for the Workforce contract, building the capacity of training providers to deliver appropriate training to employers in the West of England. She will be working closely with employers, helping them to identify their current and future needs, and encouraging learners to develop their skills through NVQ and apprenticeship training programmes.

Out of work, when not running around after her active children, Sarah enjoys gardening and sewing and has started practicing Pilates. She is an active member on the committee of her local WI and has just handed over after 18 months as President.

Gill Carter

Schools Co-ordinator

Gill worked as Bristol's 14-19 Partnership Manager over the past 3 year's co-ordinating their offsite qualifications, finance and transport as well as working on individual projects with groups of schools – Gifted & Talented, Careers, audits. Gill also works for the Local Authority on Raising the Participation Age and previously on School Improvement. She is a qualified Ofsted Inspector.

Previously Gill worked in schools for 30 years finishing her teaching career as a Deputy Head of a Secondary school in Cornwall.

Gill leads and coordinates all schools activity for the LEP and has a particular focus on the Chartermark and employability in schools.  Gill also leads on schools activity and the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

Lizzy Lyons

Enterprise Zone / Area Employment & Skills Co-ordinator

Lizzy has recently joined the team as Enterprise Zone / Area Employment & Skills Co-ordinator after working most recently with a local training provider bringing industry relevant training to Bristol's hospitality businesses.

With over 7 years experience working with the West of England's tourism and hospitality businesses, Lizzy started her career working for Destination Bristol before deciding to concentrate on skills development working as West of England co-ordinator for the Tourism Skills Network South West.

As Enterprise Zone / Area Employment & Skills Co-ordinator, Lizzy will work closely with the West of England's local authorities and key stakeholders to co-ordinate employment and skills activity surrounding the developments within the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone and identified Enterprise Areas.

Gail Swift

Skills Co-ordinator

Gail has recently returned to the UK after 9 years living in France. She has had a wide ranging career background in both the public and private sectors and has worked in many diverse roles – ranging from industrial photography, IT support, bar work, PA - through to company director.

She is a keen horse rider, down-trodden groom for her daughter, and fierce supporter of her son's football team.

Gail's primary focus at the LEP is providing administrative support for the World Skills Show series of events being held over the course of this year and ensuring compliancy in line with the funding agencies' reporting requirements.

Rose Jackson

Skills Administrator: Creative

Rose has over 10 years experience working in the creative sector, both as an arts administrator and as a performer. Having trained as a dancer at Bath Spa University, she went on to create and co-direct 'The Bureau of Random Acts', a touring physical theatre company. She currently teaches contemporary dance throughout Bristol and works as a choreographer for various circus performers in the city. Through 2011/12 Rose was project consultant on 'Bristol Live Open Platform' and 'You and Your Work' at Arnolfini.

Rose is currently administrating the Creative Employment Programme, an Arts Council funded project helping to create and fund paid internships within the Creative industry in and around Bristol.

Celia De Pedro

Education Administrator

Celia has moved to the UK from Madrid, Spain, graduating from the Autonomic University of Madrid (Spain) and the University of Bari (Italy) in Business Management with a MBA in Events Management and Institutional Relationships from the International School of Protocol in Madrid (Spain).

Celia started her career as a Financial Assistant working for Volkswagen Finance, based in Madrid, where she developed excellent data investigation skills, reviewing company financial systems and analysing the risk of customers operations, taking creative approaches to problem-solving solutions. Advancing from this role, Celia worked as a Protocol and Events Management Assistant for; Atenea Group, Security and National Defence conferences and Resad, theatre and exhibition events. In 2012 Celia took the step to settle in Cardiff, where she has been developing in the role of Social Media Marketing Assistant for Viking Hospitality, the official hospitality provider for the Welsh Rugby Club.

Celia moved to Bristol in October 2014 and we welcome her to the team as Education Administrator. Celia’s primary focus will be on providing administrative support to the education team. This involves the Employability Chartermark, Pathways to Professions events and also ensuring smoothness in the running of meetings, handling communication with co-workers and representatives from schools, colleges, universities and businesses across the West of England.

Amanda Orton

Marketing and Administration Assistant

Amanda has recently moved to the UK from Perth, Australia. Graduating from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing degree, she started her career as Marketing Assistant working for one of Australia's largest hospitality acquisition and management groups. Progressing from this role, Amanda worked as Marketing Coordinator for a German based dental supply company, an interesting contrast to her previously heavily media focused role. In 2013, Amanda took advantage of her recent move to the UK and spent time travelling in Europe, ticking some more cities off her travel bucket list.

Now settled into her new home in Bristol, Amanda is putting down roots and we welcome her to the team as Marketing and Administration Assistant. Amanda will be assisting with social and digital marketing, press and media in addition to marketing strategy and brand development for the Skills Junction, Apprenticeship Hub and Creative Skills Hub projects.

Emon Rostam-Shirazy

Business Engagement Apprentice

Emon has recently joined our LEP skills team after completing his Double Business, Travel and Tourism A-Levels and working within a family run business. He has previously worked for Renault City Motors as Sales Executive but decided to have a change in his career path to broaden his range of skills and build a solid foundation within a more corporate environment. Emon has experience working for a varied range of businesses and is looking forward to developing his career with the LEP Skills team.

Emon is a very active person and is interested in a wide range of sports. He has a special interest in football, however, and also plays for his local team Frampton Athletics.

Emon’s primary focus is to provide administrative support to the LEP Skills team and he also has the responsibility of logging and following up with businesses that are interested in taking on an apprentice.

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