ASET is governed as a charity by a Board of Trustees, and our Trustees contribute to the running of our organisation by being members of our Executive Committee. Our constitution allows our Executive Committee to have up to fifteen members who may be Trustees or co-opted individuals, and the Committee is also open to our President and the Development Manager in an ‘ex-officio’ capacity. There are currently three Officer Roles within the committee.
The Executive Committee meets five or six times a year either online, in London or in the North to conduct official business of the organisation, but also to plan for member activities, projects and new developments. If you are interested in how we are run please see our page on Governance. Our current Executive Committee is made up of twelve Trustees, plus two co-opts :
ASET Executive Committee :
Ms Sarah Flynn – University of Hertfordshire – (Chair)
Sarah is Associate Director of Learning and Teaching (Workplace Learning and Degree Apprenticeships) in the Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre at the University of Hertfordshire. She joined the University of Hertfordshire in 2003, and has worked in a number of roles; development of foundation degrees, employer engagement, supporting access courses in science and developing learning and teaching in the engineering faculty. She is currently responsible for learning, teaching and the development of the Degree Apprenticeship programme across the university. She continues to undertake research in equality, professional identity and early career development. Sarah has been an active member of the ASET Committee since 2002, and was elected as Chair in September 2013. She takes an active role co-delivering Staff Development Workshops and is also co-lead of the Communications Working Group.
James has recently moved into the role of School Administration Manager for the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science. He was previously the Placement Development and Employability Manager working across academic disciplines in supporting both students and staff in placement learning and the sharing of best practice. His active involvement with ASET from 2008, led to being co-opted onto the ASET Executive in September 2013, and he became a Trustee a year later. In September 2015, James was elected to his current role as Vice Chair. In addition to working closely with the Officers and the staff team on ASET strategy, James takes joint responsibility for the Membership Working Group and has a particular interest in the development of the Regional Hubs.
Rebecca has been involved in ASET since 2006, and was elected Treasurer in 2011. As Treasurer she works closely with the Development Manager to effectively manage costs and expenditure as well as researching and effectively investing ASET resources to ensure funds are available to support activities which benefit the membership. She delivers ASET staff development workshops on placement management and working with SMEs and takes an active role in the Membership Working Group. She is now Assistant Head of Student Placement at the University of Leeds, where she is responsible for the development and delivery of opportunities for students; facilitating and leading a wide range of projects and activities and creating an environment in which students are inspired to make the most of their time at Leeds. Her focus is to ensure that Leeds builds ambitiously and creatively upon the range of domestic opportunities already in place – including placements, internships, volunteering, research and leadership to maximise the numbers of students able to benefit.
Brian is currently Employability Manager at Ulster University having previously worked for the Educational Guidance Service for Adults and the Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust. Key areas of responsibility within work experience include leading the development of guiding principles for the implementation of Compulsory work based learning at Ulster University. Recently Brian has also taken on responsibility of redeveloping the Ulster University skills award (Ulster EDGE Award) and manages the digital presence and online systems that support work experience, placement and career development. A Fellow of the Higher Education Academy Brian also co-ordinates a core module ‘Career Entrepreneurship’ within the Ulster University Business School. Brian has co-led the Staff Development Working Group since 2016.
Ms Susannah Day – University of Exeter
As Global Employability Consultant for the University of Exeter, Susannah provides support and advice to the student body in finding work overseas; including short term internships, credit bearing work placements or graduate jobs. She oversees Erasmus+ traineeships and manages the majority of other international placement experiences for the University whilst working collaboratively with Colleges and the Study Abroad team to increase the variety and volume of opportunities. Increasingly she is working with national bodies and stakeholders within the University to identify barriers to mobility for under represented groups and implements initiatives to increase participation from this cohort.
Susannah was co-opted as an ASET Trustee in early 2015; and elected onto the board at the AGM later that year. Since joining she has reviewed and advised on relevant literature and co facilitated and written new workshops, specifically on Developing Overseas Placements and Supporting International Students with Placements, and is now co-leading the Staff Development Working Group.
Mr Mike Davies – University of Wales, Trinity Saint David
Based at UWTSD’s Swansea Business Campus, Mike is Senior Lecturer in the School of Tourism & Hospitality. As well as teaching business and management modules to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, his responsibilities include being lead for the School’s work placement programme, a mandatory course component of eight separate programmes. This requires discharging the University’s Placement Programme Co-ordinator duties including student preparation for placements in advance through counselling/support/advice, risk assessments of proposed placements, employer engagement both UK and worldwide, recruitment and retention and dispute resolution where required. It involves maintaining a comprehensive record of individual student placement activity, setting milestones, monitoring progress and taking corrective action as required. This also involves managing the Placement Tutor system, ensuring continuity between colleagues working with programme participants. Mike is a member of the Research Working Group.
Ms Becky Jones – University of Hertfordshire
Becky is a Development Facilitator and an experienced leader of Employer Engagement Teams, as Assistant Director of Careers, in both a post-92 and a Russell Group Institution. She is currently working in People Development – training staff instead of students for the first time, pulling on skills she acquired in the corporate sector at Ford Motor Company and easyJet, in Marketing and Communications – to drive Service Excellence in her institution. A passionate life-long advocate of placements, Becky is driven to develop and nurture a culture of employment, engaging with employers, embedding them into the curriculum, to the benefit of student education and experience. At the University of York, she originally managed the Careers Consultants team, working with the 28 academic Departments and initiating the sector-leading York Award restructure. She then developed and led a new team, focusing on employer engagement and placements. Throughout her HE career to-date, Becky’s focus has been to drive up graduate employment and – key to that success – placements, whether vacation, full year, internships or work experience modules embedded in the curriculum, successfully engaging both large corporate and SMEs. Becky has co-led the Membership Working Group since 2015, and also regularly co-presents staff development workshops.
Ms Vianna Renaud – Bournemouth University
Vianna is a Placement Development Advisor within the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University. Supporting third year students during their placement year in industry, both in the UK and internationally, she serves as an independent coach for students and employers to ensure a quality placement experience. Vianna is involved with coaching and mentoring initiatives on campus such as Placement PALs and the BU Staff Coaching Programme, and is currently undertaking the Doctorate of Education in Creative and Media Practice at the BU Centre of Excellence of Media Practice, focusing on peer coaching within the HE context. Previously she has worked at Queen’s University Belfast and ACCENT International Consortium for Academic Programmes Abroad in London.
Vianna was initially co-opted onto the Executive Committee in 2015, became a Trustee in 2016, and is now co-leading the Communications Working Group.
Emily is the Employability Manager for the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Leeds. In this role she is responsible for the strategic development and management of the Employability service across both faculties. The remit includes, management of organisational links, developing new strategic partnerships with a wide range of industry partners, delivering a clear set of offerings and benefits to key partner companies. Emily has oversight for all co-curricular employability activities including industrial placements, summer internships and timetabled employability modules, and is also involved in shaping institutional employability activity working on projects, which currently includes transitioning to Graduate Prospects and the new NEXUS development at the institution.
Having previously gained experience in the private sector, other Russell Group, 1994 Group and University Alliance Mission Groups, she has developed a sound understanding of differing approaches to placement education. Emily is currently co-leading the Research Working Group, taking a lead on the delivery of the ASET bursary programme.
Professor Colin Turner – Ulster University
Colin is Head of the School of Engineering and Professor for Engineering Education at Ulster University. His main interests are in the developments of technology to assist Teaching and Learning, for which he has twice been awarded the University of Ulster’s Distinguished Learning Support Fellowship. Colin has a particular interest in technologies that impact upon Employability both within the University environment and outside and has led several successful consultancy projects. He has also had a key involvement in Ulster’s strategic response and implementation of the Key Information Set (KIS) and the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR), as well as in curriculum management systems to ensure all appropriate information is captured. Colin takes a key role on the ASET Executive as Conference co-lead, and also assists with the Staff Development programme, and takes a key role in the development of the website. He continues to bring his understanding of academic management within Universities and how it relates to Employability to bear, as well as his knowledge as a practitioner and developer of IT systems to support teaching and learning, and his experience as a researcher and Principal Fellow of the PFHEA.
Ms Francesca Walker-Martin – University of Central Lancashire
Francesca is a Senior Lecturer in the Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise at UCLan, teaching a range of students from undergraduate to post-graduate. She has a specific commitment to providing them with the best possible employability experience, including research informed teaching. She has recently moved into a new role as Course Leader for the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, further developing her passion for work-based learning as she works with students already in employment who are seeking to develop their professional skills.
As a member of the Institute of Directors, the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy Francesca has a wide network of colleagues who provide support and guidance to her students. It is an understatement to say that Francesca is passionate about work-based learning, it has been a key driver in her working life. She knows students who engage with the offer will transform, often beyond their wildest dreams.
Francesca has been involved with ASET over the last 6 years and, having personally benefitted from the help, support and guidance available, was keen to join the board of trustees to support the development of Research and Publications. Francesca was awarded the ASET Research Bursary in 2014, and is now co-leading the Research Working Group, where she is taking a lead on the development of the ASET Research Network.
ASET is also very pleased to have a President, whose role it is to advise the Trustees of the Charity but who remains an independent voice, to ensure the needs of the membership are being met. Our current President is Dr Geoffrey Copland, CBE.
Dr Geoffrey Copland – (President)
Geoffrey was the Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of Westminster from 1996-2007. He held the positions of Chair of the England and Northern Ireland Council and Vice-President of Universities UK 2003-7, Chair of Universities and Colleges Employers Association 2002-6, Chair of Coalition of Modern Universities 1997-2003, Vice Chair of London Higher 2003-7 and Foundation President of World City Universities 2007-8. Now retired, he is Chairman of Thomas Wall Trust, Vice President of Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities, Chair of the HEFCE Sustainable Development in Higher Education Steering Group, and President of ASET. Geoffrey also holds several other trustee and board positions including International Student House, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Helena Kennedy Foundation, Quintin Hogg Trust, and Learning from Experience Trust. Geoffrey is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Arts, Honorary Fellow of Goldsmiths College and Trinity College, London and Honorary Doctor of the University of Westminster.
Joining us as co-opted members of the Executive Committee from September 2017:
Mr Mohson Khan – City, University of London
Mohson is the Professional Liaison Unit (PLU) Manager, in the School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering at City, University of London. He oversees strategy and activities in relation to employability initiatives, both taught content and work-based learning schemes. Mohson’s focus is to embed employability skills development into the curriculum, increase the proportion of students gaining professional experience, and bringing industry into the institution, both for the purpose of educating students and collaborating with academics on research. He has previously been a Work-based Learning Advisor in the Department of Computer Science, has taught in the same department, and has led the unique Professional Pathway Scheme as well as overseeing business development.
Ms Vicki O’Brien – University of Central Lancashire
Vicki works at the University of Central Lancashire with both undergraduate and postgraduate level Business placements, and engages with businesses, both local and national to provide opportunities for her students. She is also an active researcher in the field of placements with two current projects; one looking at the empirical data on the effects placements have on degree classification and graduate roles, and another about motivation and engagement of students seeking placement.
ASET Staff Team
The ASET Executive Committee is supported by a small staff team managed from the ASET Offices in Sheffield.
Ms Debbie Siva-Jothy, Development Manager
Debbie runs the ASET office and manages the organisation’s operations. She started working for ASET in 2009 having previously worked in retail head office management and in recruitment.
Ms Nicola Bullivant-Parrish, Learning and Development Advisor
Nicola was previously Placement Manager in the Business School at Aston University, and has been a long-time supporter and champion of ASET. As Learning and Development Advisor, Nicola is co-writing and developing staff development workshop material with the ASET trustees and takes a lead on delivery.
Ms Janet Aspinall, ASET Administrator
Janet works alongside Debbie in the office assisting with all aspects of administration, and with a key focus on Membership.