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 the following Trustees:
ASET Executive Committee :
Francesca Walker-Martin, CHAIR – University of Central Lancashire
Francesca is Reader in Work Based Learning 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 was elected as a Trustee in September 2015, became Vice Chair in September 2018, and was elected as Chair at the 2019 AGM.
Emily Timson, VICE-CHAIR – University of Leeds
Emily is currently the Assistant Head of Student Placement, working in a central capacity at the University of Leeds supporting the: Volunteering Team, Work Placement Team, International Employer Engagement, and the Students into School programme. She has wide ranging experience from Recruitment to HR as well as leading faculty based Employability team prior to this role, which has given her a great grasp of the differences between working in a central and a devolved capacity, and the challenges faced in both.
Emily is CIPD qualified and recently completed a master’s degree exploring the disconnect between employers and Higher Education in the context of supply of, and demand for, graduate labour. Emily has been an ASET Trustee since 2013 and has taken a lead with the Research Working Group and ASET Bursary projects in recent years. She was elected as Vice Chair at the 2019 AGM.
Vianna Renaud – TREASURER – 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 became a Trustee in 2016, and was elected as Treasurer at the 2020 AGM.
Laura Bielby – Durham University
Laura works at Durham University as the Placement Manager for Social Sciences supporting students prior and on a placement year. Prior to this, Laura worked in a business development role with a particular focus on third sector and preparing students for working and volunteering in the local communities. Laura leads the Communications Working Group.
Deborah Callister – Edinburgh Napier University
Deborah is Student Futures Placement Lead at Edinburgh Napier University and overseas the delivery, design and management of placements across the Business School, School of Applied Sciences, School of Computing, School of Arts and Creative Industries and the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Edinburgh Napier University. Deborah was elected as a Trustee at the 2020 AGM, having served as a Co-opted Trustee from the end of 2019. She is a member of the Membership Working Group and helps with the Scotland & Ireland Regional Hub .
Andy Dodge – Cardiff University
Andy is the Employability and Placements Manager for the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, where he has championed the concept of placement and WBL across the University. He has embedded both short and long-term placement/WBL initiatives within the academic curriculum and supported the development of extra-curricular activities. He has advised on good practice and provided training to colleagues at Cardiff. Prior to joining Cardiff, Andy worked for National Training Federation Wales (NTFW) – a pan-Wales membership organisation representing over 100 WBL providers, where he researched members’ views for responses to Welsh Government consultations and has presented evidence on behalf of NTFW to the Enterprise and Business Committee’s Inquiry. Andy was elected at the 2020 AGM after serving a year as a Co-opted Trustee.
Kimberley Harris – The University of Warwick
Kimberley is the Internships Development Manager for the University of Warwick’s central Student Careers & Skills team, with responsibility for central services around work experience. Kimberley leads on the delivery of internship programmes, work-experience-related employer liaison, work experience bursaries and technology-enhanced placement learning tools, and provides internal consultancy on good practice around placements, internships and work experience. She is chair of the University’s Placements Practice Group and part of the Degree Apprenticeships Operations Group. Kimberley is a member of the Staff Development Working Group and the Membership Working Group.
Dr. Helen Hooper – Northumbria University
Helen is Director of Equality Diversity and Inclusion at Northumbria University.
Seamus McConomy – Ulster University
Seamus is Work Experience & Placements Manager in the Employability Business Services Unit at Ulster University, which has developed one of the largest Work-Based and Placement Learning (WBPL) programmes in UK. At Ulster employability is embedded within the core University business of learning. Seamus supports the Employability and Careers Department and provides training and professional consultation to academic and senior management across Ulster University which is a complex multi-site organisation. Seamus has been providing leadership to the Regional Hub for Scotland & Ireland. After serving a year as a Co-opted Trustee, Seamus was elected as a Trustee at the 2020 AGM.
Vicki O’Brien – University of Central Lancashire
Vicki is a Lecturer in Employability and placement lead at the Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise at the University of Central Lancashire. Vicki works with a diverse range of students and employers alike. In 2017, the school expanded its placement offer to Postgraduate students and Vicki oversaw the implementation of a placement module for MBA students. Alongside her role, Vicki enjoys research and has just completed a research project into the barriers and motivations to sandwich degree placements with the Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise. Vicki was co-opted to the executive in September 2017 and seeks election at this year’s AGM. Vicki leads the Membership Working Group and is also a member of the Communications Working Group.
Steve Osborne – Cardiff Metropolitan University
Steve is a Principal Lecturer in Employability at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Lou Taylor-Murison – Keele University
Lou is the Development Manager (Engaged & Experiential Learning) at Keele University. She leads the Apprenticeship Team at Keele and is developing placement learning to increase availability and engagement. Lou is a Senior Fellow of the HEA and has worked on a varied portfolio of Higher Education projects encompassing blended and e-learning, Curriculum Innovation, Student Finance and Widening Participation. Lou is a member of both the Staff Development Working Group and the Research Working Group.
Dr. Julie Udell – University of Portsmouth
Julie has been the Placement and Employability Lead for the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth since 2009. She has a wealth of experience having led the development of their innovative approach to experiential learning and each year supports over 100 students to secure placements. She has introduced course initiatives upheld as a model of good practice, showcased at Faculty conferences and adopted by other departments within the university. Julie is an academic delivering placement and employability provision and brings this particular perspective and experience to ASET, where she is involved with the Research Working Group. Julie was elected at the 2020 AGM after a period as a Co-opted Trustee.
We have two vacancies on our board currently and will be seeking applications for Co-opted Trustees in the coming weeks.
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.
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, Chief Operations Officer
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, Membership and Events Co-ordinator
Janet works alongside Debbie in the office assisting with all aspects of administration, and with a key focus on Membership and Events.