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Our people2018-10-11T14:18:11+00:00

Our people

CEO

Grant joined Learning Links in 2010 and has been our CEO since February 2016. Grant is a highly experienced director with a vast experience from a variety of senior management roles from within the public and private sectors, including the travel industry, public relations, business development and business start-ups.

Grant has a strong entrepreneurial spirit and during his time at Learning Links has set up two Community Interest Companies (CICs) – Edu-Care Recycling UK and Optimum Training.  Grant is currently the Managing Director of both of these CICs which are important part of Learning Links’ overall strategy whereby all of their profits go back into Learning Links.

Senior Managers

Cheryl Harper joined Learning Links in February 2015 as Head of Operations. Cheryl brings substantial experience from a variety of sectors, both private and public – including 15 years in the retail sector. Cheryl has broad experience of dealing with business, contract management and managing teams through period of change. Alongside this, Cheryl has the responsibility for overall Operational management, ensuring effective strategies and delivery of contracts.
Emma is the Project Manager for Furnish and joined the team in July 2017. Emma’s background is in supporting vulnerable people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless back into independence. She has a passion for working alongside individuals who wish to progress, her learning and development skills are a valued asset in enabling people to grow in both confidence and self-belief. The Furnish project is all about upskilling people to increase their opportunities and get them back into employment. Emma has extensive experience in running her own business and supporting other companies to operate effectively and efficiently.

Pat is a Project Manager for Learning Links on the Isle of Wight. Her role includes Project Lead for the “Ageing Better” Over 50’s Employment Support Programme. She strives to provide an outstanding service and has a great team with a wealth of knowledge in employment support and Information, advice and guidance.

Pat has over 20 years’ experience in delivering a wide range of Employ-ability Programmes aimed at supporting people to return to the workplace through a variety of activities including confidence building, motivation and employ-ability skills.
This has included designing, piloting and delivering bespoke  courses on behalf of organisations such as DWP, SFA and ESF. Developing and maintaining close contacts with DWP, Employers and other Training Organisations.

She enjoy’s enabling people to achieve their potential and move closer to their goals.

Amanda is the Group Finance Manager and has been a member of the Learning Links team since 2006. She has progressed from Finance Assistant to Finance Manager and is part of the Senior Management team. Amanda brings a wealth of experience from a background in the private sector but she enjoys the job satisfaction of working for a charity. As well as managing the day to day finances of the organisation she was responsible for setting up the financial systems and procedures for the new Community Interest Companies Edu-Care Recycling UK and Optimum Training.

As administration manager Tracey is responsible for overseeing the central administrative function within Learning Links including human resources and marketing.  She also assists our CEO and Board of Trustees with their corporate and charitable governance responsibilities.

Tracey joined the Learning Links team in 2013 bringing a wealth of experience from a background in IT project management, public sector administration and the hospitality industry.

Emma Kennedy joined Learning Links in January 2017, she has a background in employability and has been involved in community based projects over the last 10 years “I enjoy helping people and giving back to those in need so I am excited to be joining Learning Links as I am passionate about and have a strong belief in their core values. I am also looking forward to being involved in the good work they do in the local community.”

Working closely with the Healthwatch Board, commissioners, providers of services and the voluntary sector Siobhain’s aim is to help local people have their say in shaping and developing how health and social care services are provided in Portsmouth.

Siobhain has 26 years’ experience of being a manager in the voluntary and not for profit sector, supporting people with long term conditions to influence service provision in their local area. Siobhain was the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forum Advisor for the South East in 2002 when the patient and public engagement and ‘duty to involve’ principle was launched by the NHS.  Since then Siobhain has continued to work in the patient engagement and self-management sector and is a keen believer in person-centred approaches to care.

Trustees

Our people 38

Linda Taylor works for Portsmouth City Council as Employments Initiatives Manager.  She has worked for the council for over 20 years and has set up and managed a range of initiatives to help people back to work since the mid 1990s.  Linda has worked strategically with public, private and voluntary sector to promote and influence new initiatives to help people into work and sustain work.

Linda left school at 16 working as a PA in the Ministry of Defence, local government and the community sector for 18 years.  Linda is passionate about lifelong learning. She trained as an adult education teacher and attended courses that led to a range of qualifications including an assessor award, literacy tutor, counselling and management skills, over a period of 15 years.  Linda graduated from the University of Portsmouth, Partnership Degree Programme gaining an MSc in Combined Studies in 2010.

 

Bob Wardley has been involved in his family’s business Wardray Premise Ltd. for over 50 years, now on a part time basis as Chairman.

Having traveled the world through business and pleasure he believes that the experience in meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds has helped in understanding the challenges that others have to face. He served for 15 years as a member of the IMB at HMP Latchmere House, a dedicated re-settlement prison in Surrey. A re-offend rate of approximately 15% was achieved against a national average of 50% by finding full time employment for inmates before their release. This includes two now successfully working in his family business for over 10 years.

Arriving in Portsmouth in 2006, Bob joined The Portsmouth Partnership and worked as a Business Mentor for Pompey Stars until its early closure in 2011.

Appointed a Trustee of Learning Links in 2012, he also became a director of Edu-Care Recycling – a separate CIC in 2014 aiming to oversee the commercial aspects of the organisation. Having had a stable family life, good education and the opportunity to develop a successful business career, he believes that this experience can be put to good use in supporting others less fortunate to improve their own lifestyle and that of their families.

Brian’s background is in marketing, as a communications manager, account director and copywriter in the UK and Middle East. For the past six years he has been a freelance writer, working with agencies and clients to create web content, editorial and marketing material.

Brian is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, graduating in 2015, and is interested in combining business with social value. In 2016 he co-founded The Eth Word, an ethical business initiative using video and blogs to capture, share and generate conversation about responsible leadership and ethics.

John has lived and worked in Portsmouth for the past 16 years. Having gained an Honours Degree in Manufacturing Engineering and Management from Bath University, John started working in the Telecommunications industry in 1997. John is currently working as a project manager for a major US Telecommunications Corporation. John joined the board of Portsmouth Arts and Community Education (PACE) in 2006 and following the merger of Learning Links and PACE in 2007 is the sole PACE Board member who is a Trustee of Learning Links. John joined PACE to help support the then management team and board to provide Community Arts projects and Arts/New media based Education within Portsmouth.

Apart from Work and Learning Links John spends his time with his Partner and family as well as enjoying photography, digital media and website development alongside local arts/music events.

Kieron is currently employed as a Principal Lecturer in Social Work and Social Care in the School of Health Sciences and Social Work at the University of Portsmouth. He has worked at the University since 1992, and from 2004 – 2013 he was Head/Professional Lead for Social Work. Prior to Joining the University he worked as a community legal worker in a third sector Community Law Centre in Cardiff and prior to that as an unqualified social worker in West Glamorgan. He therefore has extensive experience of the Higher Education, statutory and voluntary sectors.

He currently supervises students at Masters and Doctoral level and provides teaching at undergraduate, post-graduate and Doctoral levels. He has carried out a number of small scale research projects with Portsmouth and Hampshire Councils, Skills for Care and others.

Kieron joined the board of Learning Links as he believes it is important that the University maintains and develops links with the local community and is aware that our programmes have previously had a relationship with Learning Links, specifically through student placements. Kieron has extensive management experience through involvement in the School Senior Management Team and membership of management committees of local organisations.

Kirsten Woodgate has recently joined us as a Trustee. Kirsten is a solicitor working at Woodgate & Co in Southsea.

Kirsten is Portsmouth born and bred and attended St Lukes C of E School (now Charter Academy). Kirsten left school at the age of 15 and started her career in law as an Office Junior. She went on to qualify as a Legal Executive in 1999 and as a solicitor in 2004, opening her own firm in 2008.

Kirsten has recently expanded the firm opening a branch office in Rowlands Castle.

Kirsten is a member of Pompey Joggers and enjoys running, swimming and Pilates in her spare time.

We empower people to reach their potential.

Through learning and personal development, by helping them get back to work, by building stronger families and by creating employment.
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