We always put our clients first – listening, building relationships and adding extra value whenever we can.
SDN has a collaborative style of working, with clients and within our team that emphasizes effectiveness, informality, and trust. Our goal is “on time, high quality, every time”.
Our flexible, virtual way of team-working lets us respond rapidly to clients, as an assignment starts and as it is delivered.
We love to experiment and innovate with technology, supporting our clients, in the cloud, with new analysis tools, with new ways of communicating, with new equipment, and with new software and apps.
We are crisp. The language we use will always be simple and clear.
Colin is the founder and Managing Director of SDN. From 1991-2006 he held a progression of senior strategy, planning, research and evaluation roles in the LSC and TEC. Colin specialises in strategy, change, leadership and management, programme management, research and technology. Colin’s work (and that of SDN) has led to close working relationships with government departments, agencies, sector and employer bodies, and providers.
Gerry is an experienced research and development director in the learning and skills sector. He held a number of senior positions and directorships at the TEC and LSC, overseeing research, development, planning and strategy. Gerry specialises in helping organisations realise the benefits of effective collaboration through the use of technology.
Tim is an experienced research and programme manager in the FE and skills sector. From 2010-15, Tim worked for AELP leading their research and managing large-scale programmes to support training providers. With a firm knowledge of government policy, his research has been used to inform policy decisions at the highest level. Tim heads up SDN’s research and leads on communications with sector organisations, stakeholders and the press.
Head of Research & Communications
Zoe has worked in the FE and skills sector for over 17 years holding a number of senior positions within ITP’s, most recently as Head of Contracts, Compliance and ATA. Zoe specialises in funding and compliance, with a proven track record of embedding performance management and quality systems. Zoe has successfully developed and managed Apprenticeships, Traineeships and Learning Loans programmes and led on strategic and operational requirements to prepare for the Apprenticeship reforms.
Head of Operations
Rachel has spent many years in a sales environment ranging from sales administration to managing sales and marketing functions. She has successfully integrated and managed CRM systems and sales pipeline processes for multi-million pound organisations. Here at SDN, Rachel oversees our sales process and helps drive our marketing activities.
Sales & Marketing Executive
Louisa is experienced in change and continuous improvement – here at SDN she helps to drive out internal operations and deliver projects / programmes. Louisa worked for Kent Police - she has two Chief Constable Certificates of Merit for contributions to change programmes and worked on coordinating activities to meet challenging Comprehensive Spending Review targets. Louisa specialises in project and programme management, workshop facilitation, lean tools and process redesign.
Office & Systems Manager
Chris is a specialist in national 11-18 education policy, quality improvement, leadership development, problem solving and organisational policy development. Chris has a strong track record in the implementation of projects, especially in challenging and politically sensitive environments. Chris has worked closely with sector bodies, employer partnerships and providers, particularly around assessment, innovative approaches to delivery and inspection support.
Louise holds a Masters in Educational Leadership and specialises in leadership and management, lean improvement, employer relationships and quality assurance. Louise worked at director level for Sunderland College and has extensive experience as a consultant for SDN, KPMG, LSIS, AoC, AELP and FISSS, focusing on both FE and HE. Louise is also the co-owner of Mesma Software.
Anna has been working in the FE and skills sector for 20 years in TEC’s, Chambers of Commerce, LSC and the Skills Funding Agency. Anna has a proven track record for developing and implementing skills funding policies including co-investment approaches, Adult Education Budget and Advanced Learner Loans. Now freelance, Anna works closely with providers, employers and government on a range of projects including organisational development, Apprenticeship reform and Loans.
Wendy has been working in the FE sector for almost 30 years. She started her career in a college and has extensive curriculum development experience for a wide range of provision. Wendy has worked on a number of high profile regional and national support projects - from Apprenticeships and higher-level skills, to Traineeships and supporting the unemployed – ensuing provision meets the needs of learners and employers.
Following a career in the public sector, Breda has been engaged in FE and skills since 2001. She has worked with several sector skills councils, and public sector bodies promoting workforce development through standards and qualifications. Breda has worked extensively with providers engaged in delivery of Apprenticeships and has supported the development and implementation of Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards.
Karen has more than 20 years of knowledge, skills and management experience in FE. She has developed and managed apprenticeships from all relevant angles; as an employer, training provider, consultant, policy and senior manager for the Skills Funding Agency. Karen works with employers, training providers and colleges and is passionate about driving quality, progression and business growth. She meets challenges and demands head on and works with a positive and pragmatic approach to make things happen.
Mandy has a strong track record of managing national and strategically important projects in vocational education and skills, including the successful Higher Apprenticeship programme on behalf of the National Apprenticeship Service. Having worked extensively with government departments, providers in HE/FE, awarding organisations, professional bodies and employers, Mandy has developed effective business and commercial partnerships. Mandy specialises in research, contract management and policy development.
Carole has been working in the FE sector for over 20 years. She has a strong track record in quality standards and supporting organisations to improve. As part of this, she has extensive experience of Ofsted inspections and has managed a number of large-scale projects. Carole is also the co-owner of Mesma (self-assessment and improvement software).
Mike has worked in post-16 education and training since 1982, including 17 years with successful providers. He was LSDA’s Regional Director South East, working on programmes and projects across the sector: locally, regionally and nationally. Free-lance since 2006, Mike works with many providers, networks, and sector bodies on a wide spectrum of different topics and tasks.
Lorna has worked in the learning and skills sector for over 30 years, in a variety of settings including the TES, LSC, LSIS and in an FE College. She has a strong track record of delivering consultancy support to training providers both regionally and nationally, including the Traineeship Staff Support Programme consultancy in 2014/15. Lorna is an effective project manager and was part of the SDN team that delivered the Apprenticeship Staff Support Programme in 2015 and guided providers on the introduction of the new standards.
Sue has worked in the education and skills sector for over 30 years. Sue is a qualified coach and mentor, with substantial experience in quality improvement. She has worked with organisations going through organisational change and transition. In 2013, she established a Quality, Improvement & Innovation network in the West Midlands for AoC and later went on to deliver national consultancy support through the Traineeship and Apprenticeship Staff Support Programmes.
Barry has a long-track record in the technical, vocational and apprenticeships sector. He specialises in end-point assessment (and assessment more broadly), qualifications, quality and evaluation. Barry has supported many of the trailblazer employer groups to develop standards / assessment plans and has helped set up one of the first Apprentice Assessment Organisations to start conducting end-point assessment.
Karen provides Executive Assistant support to the business from her own Page PA business. She is highly experienced in supporting dispersed teams at local, regional and national levels. Karen specialises in administrative systems/processes and quality assurance.
Tony specialises in funding, employer engagement and the apprenticeship levy. Tony held a number of senior roles in the Skills Funding Agency for 15 years, including Area Director and later becoming the Deputy Director for the Large Companies Unit. Prior to this, Tony spent 25 years in the hospitality and catering industry, including 17 years with Whitbread PLC in operational, HR and strategic roles.
Rebecca Rhodes was a senior member of the team at the Education and Skills Funding Agency for several years, overseeing the development and publication of funding policy. As well as apprenticeship systems, Rebecca specialises in apprenticeship delivery, particularly at Higher and Degree level. She has supported many HEIs, employers and providers to start and grow delivery. Rebecca is also an Associate with UVAC.
Kay has been in FE and skills for 26 years. She worked for the ESFA supporting national employers with apprenticeships and leading on public-sector targets in health. She has a significant understanding of the apprenticeship reforms, technical funding and quality. Kay works closely with several NHS Trusts across England, and also specialises in the care, financial and retail sectors. Since becoming freelance, Kay has supported many employer-providers to start and grow their apprenticeships delivery.