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CSA Learning & Development Conference - speakers

Simon Ashworth

Chief Policy Officer (AELP)

Simon is currently Chief Policy Officer for the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP). Formed nearly 20 years ago, AELP is a national trade association, representing the interest of 950+ organisations delivering vocational learning, sustainable employment and employability support. Last academic year AELP members delivered 2 in every 3 of England's apprenticeships.

Simon represents AELP on the following external groups/panels: Institute for Apprenticeships Stakeholder Reference Panel, Education and Skills Funding Agency Provider Reference Group and Ofqual’s Vocational & Technical Qualifications Reference Group. Simon is also a member of the Greater London Authority’s Outcomes for Londoners Advisory Group and a member of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Skills Commission.

Danielle Bacon

Director of People and Business Services (Investors in People)

Danielle is Director of People and Business Services at Investors in People where she has worked for the last five years. She leads multi-disciplinary team across business services from People to Technology creating the conditions that release the potential of the Investors in People team to achieve great things for its community. Danielle was part of the team that led the transition of Investors in People out of UK Government into a Community Interest Company in 2017, a move that enhances the organisation’s ability to deliver for employees, businesses and communities.

Emma Blackburn

Apprenticeship and Talent Specialist (

Emma is the Apprenticeship and Talent Specialist at’s Transport division. She is responsible for creating, implementing and managing a high-impact and meaningful apprenticeship programmes to the individuals and the wider business. This year has been named as one of the top 100 employers offering apprenticeships and has also been shortlisted for the apprenticeship programme of the year by the Learning and Performance Institute.

She has a background in supporting Greater Manchester skills initiatives including, supporting small to medium companies establish and grow apprenticeship programmes within the area. She’s passionate about raising awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships and believes they are an ideal way to gain the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours in the workplace.


Brad Burton

Motivational speaker

As well as fronting the CSA's #heretohelp campaign, Brad is an English entrepreneur and motivational speaker who founded the international business networking group 4Networking. He is also the author of four business books. Brad comes with a wealth of life experience which he shares with energy and enthusiasm in his speeches. His books cover practical, proven, actionable steps to make life and business more focused and balanced and help readers work out next steps in positively dealing with change, challenges and distribution in life.

Samantha Cooke

Learning & Development Manager (BW Legal)

Having started her career over ten years ago as an Apprentice in Business Administration, Samantha has seen the great benefits Apprenticeships hold first hand. Since joining BW Legal in 2014, Samantha has progressed through the business to head-up the Learning and Development team.

She strives for lifelong learning and is highly experienced in getting the best out of colleagues. Samantha and her team create bespoke programmes to pave the way for individuals to improve their own knowledge, skills and behaviours within the workplace.

She is passionate about multi-format learning which engages each individual learner to their own learning style.


Deborah Cooper

People Director (Marston Holdings Ltd)

Deborah Cooper joined Marston Holdings from the National Crime Agency (formerly SOCA), where she worked in a range of both operational and training and development roles. She has previously worked for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs including overseeing the training of the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan. Deborah leads on the development and delivery of the people strategy for Marston. Her objective is to make the business a people centric organisation that invests in the skills and capabilities of its people as well as the communities and clients it serves. She leads a multi-disciplined function that includes HR, L&D, Apprenticeships, Recruitment, OD and Social Value.

Deborah has won numerous awards, notably Advocate of the Year at the 2019 Women in Credit Awards.


Denise Crossley

CEO (Lantern)

Denise is a highly respected collections industry specialist, with significant experience of handling customers experiencing vulnerability within Financial Services and the Alternative Lending sector. Denise was appointed as CEO of Lantern, a specialist niche Debt Purchaser, to industrialise the operation, lead the Executive management team and enhance regulatory compliance whilst successfully securing new investment and additional funding.

Prior to joining Lantern, Denise owned and managed a number of successful DCA’s in the sector, all of which were ultimately acquired by global BPO players.

Denise is a Fellow of the Institute of Credit Management, a Non-Executive Director of the Credit Services Association (CSA) and was awarded Business Leader of the Year at the inaugural Women In Credit Awards.


Kathy Heath

Director (Gen. Healthy Minds Ltd)

Kathy Heath has worked in Financial Services for 16 years, most recently in Sales & Business Development Director positions leading teams of up to 15 people. Having started her career on a fast track graduate programme at Barclaycard & managing large teams, Kathy fully understands the pressures that Gradutates & Apprentices face.

Kathy is passionate about people and driving a culture of positive mental health. Kathy’s goal is drive a prevent mental health issues in young people in order to unlock the potential within and to prevent mental health issues further down the line. Kathy has worked with a specialist panel of experts to create a holistic programme aimed at preventing mental health issues, promoting positive psychology, resilience, mindfulness and much more, in order to drive optimum performance & happiness.


Ian Higginbottom

Intermediaries Engagement Team (Education and Skills Funding Agency)

Ian is a new recruit to the Intermediaries Engagement Team, having joined in January 2020. Within the Department for Education he has previously worked on T Levels and the development of the post-16 qualifications review. He came to the Department following 10 years in UK Visas and Immigration, and prior to that spent 22 years working for Royal Mail. His first job was as an apprentice in the construction industry at the age of 16.


Sarah Jackman

Counsel (Dentons)

Sarah specialises in employment law and is counsel in Dentons’ Glasgow office.

She joined Dentons in 2019, bringing extensive experience in leading an in-house employment law team in a UK bank. In her previous role, Sarah supported strategic initiatives following the financial crisis and, as a senior leader in the Legal and Governance team, led employees through cultural change and digitalisation.

Sarah led the employment advice on significant change projects, such as the implementation of SMCR, as well as advising on a demerger, IPO and acquisition of another bank. She was a trusted advisor to senior HR stakeholders and supported them in rolling out changes to contracts and disciplinary and reference processes in order to comply with SMCR.


Stephen Johnson-Ramsey

Group Talent & Leadership Partner (Aioi Nissay Dowa Europe)

Stephen is currently the Group Talent and Leadership Partner for Aioi Nissay Dowa Europe. He works as part of the groups award-winning Organisational Development team to create talent development programmes across multiple disciplines. One of his main responsibilities is the sourcing and management of their apprenticeship proposition from Level 2 to Level 6 learners. He also works alongside multiple colleges and Awarding Bodies to create engaging qualifications which meet the demands of today’s learners.

Catherine Lunn

Skills Funding Manager (West Yorkshire Combined Authority/Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

Catherine Lunn has worked for the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) since March 2013 initially as the Apprenticeship Hub Manager leading a £4.6m partnership programme to engage SMEs who have never offered Apprenticeships before and to create new Apprenticeship opportunities for 16-24 year olds across the City Region. Now the Skills Funding Manager responsible for the leadership and management of skills funding policy and projects within the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) including and relating to Apprenticeships, the Adult Education Budget and broader adult skills funding.

Catherine was initially seconded to the LEP from Wakefield Metropolitan District Council where she held numerous roles and managed various teams and projects in supporting young people and the unemployed prepare for and secure employment.


Mo Mayat

(Education and Skills Funding Agency)

Mo has been with the Civil Service since 2002, working in various different teams and areas of work. Mo joined the National Apprenticeship Service in 2009, and had been working within the Apprenticeship Arena on and off since then.

Primarily working with employers, training providers, schools and more recently with intermediary organisations. Promoting Technical Education: Apprenticeships, T Levels and Traineeships nationally. With a personal passion for supporting all things Apprenticeships in his hometown.


Michael Nicholls

Relationship Director (The London Institute of Banking & Finance)

Michael is enjoying his second term at LIBF – having originally joined in 2002 after spending 23 years in retail and private banking. In the intervening period, Michael was a mortgage broker for ten years before returning to The London Institute of Banking & Finance in 2012. Other roles at the organisation have included being a qualification moderator, web-tutor and college lecturer delivering the LIBF level 4 financial advice qualification to financial advisers.


Beth Orford

Head of People (Efficient Frontiers International)

Beth is a strategic and commercial talent acquisition, personal and organisational development professional, holding Chartered MCIPD status, and now working through an MBA. Beth is passionate about helping organisations to attract, develop and retain talent at all levels, while delivering incredible colleague experiences. Beth has experience of operating in a board environment as a trustee for a £13 million multi academy trust and has a deep knowledge of the education sector and apprenticeships. Beth's career has been spent in a variety of financial services firms and she also holds the CII Diploma in Financial Planning with specialisms in supervision and sales management.

Steve Penney

Head of Learning & Development (Marston Holdings Ltd)

Steve has worked in the field of Learning and Development for over twenty years both in the UK and in Japan. During that time, he has managed and led training functions in a wide range of sectors including health and social care, recruitment, IT, management consultancy and private adult education. Steve joined Marston Holdings in 2014 at a time of great legislative change in the enforcement sector, and was instrumental in transforming company-wide learning to a culture of person-centred development, with a recent focus on mental health, personal resilience and wellbeing initiatives.

John Sunderland-Wright

Owner (Ultima Performance Ltd)

John is owner of Ultima Performance, a dedicated team of passionate people with a wealth of experience in helping people be the best they can be.

Ultima Performance use a range of proven tools, techniques and technologies that are aimed at helping people improve their performance. With our help many adults, children, organisations and athletes have benefitted by, enhancing their well-being, improving their energy levels, building resiliency and so achieving significantly higher levels of performance and belief.


Daniel Windsor

Business Software Manager (Bright HR)

HR professional with experience across a number of sectors such as care, retail and construction. With a focus on people management and business operations, Dan provides support for hundreds of businesses, offering professional HR, employment and wellbeing services through the Bright HR platform.

Event homepage

Credit Services Association,
2 Esh Plaza, Sir Bobby Robson Way,
Great Park, Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE13 9BA Map

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T: 0191 217 0775


Credit Services Association Limited 
Registered in England and Wales No. 00089614

CSA (Services) Ltd
Registered in England and Wales No. 05055685

Registered address:
2 Esh Plaza, Sir Bobby Robson Way, Great Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE13 9BA