Meet the team

Dreamers, developers, designers: we’re a talented bunch.

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Dan
Daniel Howard
Managing Director
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Liam Wheldon
Platform Architect
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Richard Graham
Head of Customer Engagement
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James Walker
Curriculum Development Manager
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Jack McDougall
National Business Development Manager
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Lee Birkin
Customer Engagement Adviser ​
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Callum Foley
Customer Engagement Adviser
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Jessica Vick
Customer Engagement Advisor
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Joanne Bateman
Customer Engagement Adviser
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Luke Cordon
Customer Engagement Adviser
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Dzintra Zilko
Customer Engagement Adviser
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Atif Aziz
Web & Graphic Designer
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Georgina Burton
Curriculum Development Officer​
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Neil Johnson
Multimedia Developer
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Dawn Warren
Business Development Consultant
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Leah Grimshaw
Business Development Consultant​
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Dylan Bradley
Junior Programmer
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Scott Parker
Programmer
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Simon Sproat
Lead Programmer
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Sam Herd
UI / UX Developer
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Tim Quincey
Programmer
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Sam Street
Lead Programmer
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Nathan Addison
Junior Programmer
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MD Zillur Rahaman
Software Tester
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Jamie Shaw
UI/UX Developer
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Richard Anderson
Programmer
“We are committed to drive innovation across all aspects of our business and remain the learning technology partner of choice.

Customer excellence is at the heart of our business model and ensuring we provide the best support and technical advice to everyone who is using the Skills Forward platform.

Our modern curriculum is designed to facilitate learner progress and achievement in a contextualised, relevant and structured way.”
Daniel Howard
Managing Director

Luke Cordon

Customer Engagement Adviser

My big professional achievement | I’m really proud to have completed my apprenticeship going on to full-time employment where I can help other people do the same.

Why I work in education | I believe that everyone should have the ability to learn new skills or improve on any existing ones.  As a wise man once said “there is never a bad time to learn something new”.

I’m currently reading/watching | Currently I am reading “Freakonomics “by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. It’s a really good read that raises some pretty interesting subjects that you’d never normally think about.

Fun fact | I can backflip, and I’m fluent in British Sign Language.

Dawn Warren

Business Development Consultant

My big professional achievement | For me, my biggest achievements are the positive impacts I’ve had on the lives of others. Whether this be in my earlier career as a personal trainer, during my days delivering qualifications, through to now, working with companies to enhance their learning delivery to further engage learners and ultimately change their lives through upskilling.

Why I work in education | I see education as the single biggest factor that can enhancing a person’s life. I’m a huge advocate of Socrates, we all know so little, education is a lifelong adventure we should all embrace!

I’m currently reading/watching | ‘The Art of Resilience’ by Ross Edgely- a remarkable man, who roots his theories with a mixture of sporting science and ancient philosophy. This book encompasses my passion for sport and love of achievement against the odds.

Fun fact | I’ve played rugby against the Russian national beach rugby team!

Liam Wheldon

Platform Architect

My big professional achievement | Being given the role of Platform Architect is a huge responsibility as I’m directing a team to create a technical vision for Skills Forward. We’ve made big improvements and changes so far but this is only the beginning of what is to come. Watch this space!

Why I work in education | I’m very passionate about the vocational and technical education route, and the opportunities this can create for people who aren’t suited to a traditional academic path.

I’m currently reading/watching | I’ve just finished watching ‘This Is Us’ and now I’m watching ‘Dead to Me’ and ‘Money Heist’.

Fun fact | This one time at band camp… Nope, sorry I don’t think I have any fun facts to share.

James Walker

Curriculum Development Manager

My big professional achievement | May not have happened yet! I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with Skills Forward, leading the team that shapes our curriculum, but I’m also proud of past experiences, including running a theatre company that toured throughout the UK. Who knows where and what I’ll be doing in 10 years’ time?

Why I work in education | As a former teacher of English and maths, I am a strong believer in lifelong learning. I believe education and training, whether it’s academic, vocational or softer skills, can truly motivate and empower people.

I’m currently reading/watching | I have five children so I have been reading bedtime stories for much of the past 10 years. I’m also a writer myself and have written three books and also comedy scripts for television and radio.

Fun fact | I’m a trained hypnotherapist and also practise yoga when I get the chance.

Richard Graham

Head of Customer Engagement

My big professional achievement | I absolutely love engaging with customers and I firmly believe that every organisation, no matter what their size, should be treat equally. It was important to me to remove the old tier system. Everyone now gets the same treatment and it’s something to be proud of as Head of Customer Engagement.

Why I work in education | Working I really care about the wellbeing of learners and staff, and I try to support them with everything they need from Skills Forward. I believe with what we do, we are helping to create and sustain the workforce of the future, as well as enabling research that will benefit society.

I’m currently reading/watching | I have two young kids so I’m currently watching and listening to a lot of You Tubers. When I finally get the remote, I love to watch comedies and a good crime drama.

Fun fact | I’m a season ticket holder for Nottingham Forest.I go to every single game with my son as it’s an important lesson to learn early in life that sometimes, the things you love can disappoint you!

Jack McDougall

National Business Development Manager

My big professional achievement | My biggest professional achievement isn’t really mine! I work with a lot of performance data and graphs, and every one of those numbers on that page is a person that has achieved their goals, gained a qualification, overcame adversity or progressed into a career that they never thought possible. To even think that I played a small part in that fills me with pride.

Why I work in education | My dad owned his own training company when he came out of the Navy and he instilled in me that education is the most powerful weapon to change the planet. I was fortunate to have been given opportunities in life that many young people simply never had and it has always inspired me to try and do more for others.

I’m currently reading/watching | I’m into audiobooks at the moment. ‘Heroes of Greek Mythology’ by Stephen Fry, ‘12 Rules for Life’ by Jordan Peterson and ‘SAS Great Escapes’ by Damian Lewis. If I watch anything on TV, it’s only ever my beloved Liverpool FC.

Fun fact | I have slept in Prince Harry’s bed. Although, not whilst he was in it. It was during my time at RMA Sandhurst – he was in the intake ahead of me and I took his bed! It’s the closest to royalty I will ever get.

Lee Birkin

Customer Engagement Adviser​

My big professional achievement | I’ve been with Skills Forward since 2006 and in that time I’ve been part of some big changes, including being the founding member of the Customer Engagement Team as it is now known.

Why I work in education | After nearly 15 years, I can’t imagine doing anything else now. I get so much satisfaction from providing support to our customers and hearing about their learners getting on well after using Skills Forward software.

I’m currently reading/watching | I’m an avid watcher of films so I’m always happy to recommend. Looking forward to the latest Bond and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ when they come out.

Fun fact | I once had a two minute conversation with Prince Charles.

Callum Foley

Customer Engagement Adviser

My big professional achievement | I won an award at NCFE’s last business event for outstanding contribution. It was voted for by colleagues across the NCFE group, so to get that kind of recognition was amazing as our team is relatively small within such a big organisation.

Why I work in education | At school, I really struggled to engage with traditional education and felt like it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until I found my apprenticeship that I realised there’s a type of education that fits everyone. I am a member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council UK, as I want to help people find their own ‘fit’ so they can thrive.

I’m currently reading/watching | I am currently reading a book called ‘The Social CEO’ as I am inspired by individuals within the organisation and aspire to be like them as I get older.

Fun fact | I have a mad trainer collection of over 200 pairs.

Jessica Vick

Customer Engagement Adviser

My big professional achievement | I independently travelled to Costa Rica at the age of 15 to help unprivileged children and their community. It was absolutely amazing and something I’ll never forget. It always reminds me how fortunate I am. I managed to fundraise over £2,000.

Why I work in education | I love helping people and I was drawn to Skills Forward as a non-profit and part of NCFE, which is an educational charity. I have found a role where I can feel part of something bigger.

I’m currently reading/watching | I am currently watching ‘Power’, I love the cliff hangers after every episode!

Fun fact | I’m really proud to have made it to the final of the Miss Mansfield and Sherwood Forest winning the award ‘Style Queen’.

Joanne Bateman

Customer Engagement Adviser

My big professional achievement | I’ve been part of a lot of customers’ journeys at Skills Forward but rolling out a huge programme of eLearning, support and training for Interserve Learning and Employment was a big challenge, but we’ve now got an excellent relationship. It’s great to be a part of the success Interserve and their learners have been able to realise.

Why I work in education | Previous to this job I worked in a primary school for 12 years. Children matter and education matters, and it’s great to be a part of that development and making a difference. Progression is a great thing to see in people, children or adults.

I’m currently reading/watching | I’m going to be a Granny for the first time soon, so I’m getting out all my old children’s books and reminding myself of all of the stories and the songs I read and sang to my children. I used to love putting on different voices when reading them a bedtime story and turning nursery rhymes into raps! It’s amazing what comes back to you!

Fun fact | I’m a First Aider and Mental Health First Aider and I also undertook a qualification in counselling. I love listening to people and it’s a great feeling to think that one conversation could really help someone.

Atif Aziz

Web & Graphics Designer

My big professional achievement | I was part of Skills Forward during our full re-branding and it was a great project to be a part of, and to support our new vision to take shape and really demonstrate what our goals are. This included creating the new Skills Forward website.

Why I work in education | Before gaining a formal degree in graphic design, I was self-taught and I was, and still am, obsessive about adding new skills to my portfolio. I’m constantly learning and every time I learn something new, it opens up a new opportunity.

I’m currently watching | ‘Narcos’, I highly recommend it!

Fun fact | Being an avid 3D visual designer in my spare time, I’ve worked on a number of music videos, short films, intros and much more over the years.

Georgina Burton

Curriculum Development Officer​

My big professional achievement | I’ve worked in education for over 15 years with a lot of disengaged learners, including young offenders and students who attend pupil referral units. Seeing the pieces of the puzzle begin to click into place for them as a teacher is the most rewarding feeling and it never gets old.

Why I work in education | I truly believe in the power of education and breaking down the barriers to learning. I love bringing what I have learned from working directly with young people to the eLearning sector, which can open so many more doors.

I’m currently reading/watching | I’m a proud geek and I love anything sci-fi or horror, so I am always watching anything to do with those genres and I’m a big fan of comics and their characters. I even do a bit of cosplay myself.

Fun fact | Another passion of mine is fitness – I’m a qualified powerlifting coach and competitive powerlifter.

Scott Parker

Programmer

My big professional achievement | I am big on sharing knowledge so I like to support junior programmers and support them as they develop. We’re a tight knit team so each little win is everyone’s achievement.

Why I work in education | I think the best way to learn is to get support from your peers and just get stuck in. I started as an intern in 2013 and I remember every piece of advice given to me, and I want to be that person for someone else.

I’m currently reading/watching | Reading: ‘Ahsoka’ (a Star Wars story), watching: ‘Modern Family’.

Fun fact | I have a meme obsession and I believe all situations can be made funnier with a self-made meme.

Leah Grimshaw

Business Development Consultant​

My big professional achievement | I would say that my biggest achievements are meeting and interviewing hundreds of young people for apprenticeship positions and helping them to make important choices for their future. I have had the privilege of seeing so many individuals blossom and achieve success within their roles.

Why I work in education | Due to the lack of career guidance I was offered as a teenager, I have a real passion for ensuring those making similar life decisions are aware of all of the options available to them and that they are choosing the right path for the right reasons. I also believe in an inclusive world where judgements are not made and everyone should have an equal chance to succeed. I’ve now worked in education for 20 years and I love it!

I’m currently reading/watching | I am currently reading ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover.

Fun fact | I attended performing arts school and appeared in the TV series Casualty and in an educational programme alongside the great Timmy Mallet ….. many moons ago!

Simon Sproat

Lead Programmer

My big professional achievement | Leading on the developing of our e-portfolio system, Skills Portfolio, was a standout time for me that I’m really proud of.

Why I work in education | I really enjoy the fast pace of the sector which allows us as a development team to move with the times and prevent standing still. We’re always keeping busy and exploring new ways to innovate.

I’m currently reading/watching | With two young children, Disney+ and all the classic films never seem to be off our TV at the moment, when I do get the time, I’m enjoying watching ‘Cosmos ‘- space and animation, what’s there not to like?

Fun fact | I’ve never seen a James Bond movie.

Sam Herd

UI / UX Developer

My big professional achievement | I was really proud two work on projects for The Walton Centre Foundation Trust and mobile concepts for Alder Hays Children’s Hospital.

Why I work in education | I’m really passionate about developing and innovating meaningful products, so working for an eLearning software company like Skills Forward means that I get to create things for people who are working on improving their own future.

I’m currently reading/watching | ‘Modern man in search of a soul’ – Carl Jung.

Fun fact | I am one of the founders of a tech start-up called, LAB6a.

Tim Quincey

Programmer

My big professional achievement | Going from no formal training, not doing well at school and being unsure what to do when leaving education, to working in development, enjoying what I do and constantly learning.

Why I work in education | The sector is all about learning, progression, innovation and the next big thing. I am always looking to improve and keep up to date with latest tech.

I’m currently reading/watching | Watching football is my favourite, tv show wise; ‘Ozark’, ‘Shooter’ and ‘Last Dance’ – a Michael Jordan documentary.

Fun fact | I have passed 6 belt gradings in kickboxing and I’m now a purple belt. I earned a distinction in two of them and when attending my orange belt, I got the highest marks of the grading class.

Sam Street

Lead Programmer

My big professional achievement | I have spent a lot of time honing my technical skills over my career, but the biggest achievement for me personally was being able to help shape the talent we have at Skills Forward and influencing change at a technical level.

Why I work in education | I’ve worked in loads of different sectors but working in education you feel like you have a purpose. As we are part of the NCFE group, we get daily reminders that the code and the developments we make actually make a difference to real people.

I’m currently reading/watching | ‘Life on Mars’, ‘Lost in Space’ & ‘Line of Duty’.

Fun fact | I’m an avid rugby player and gym frequenter.

Nathan Addison

Junior Programmer

My big professional achievement | Finishing university with an MSc in Cybersecurity and a BSc in Computer Systems Engineering, and now having a career in that field after all that hard work is really rewarding.

Why I work in education | My job at Skills Forward has given me the opportunity to put everything I learned into practice which is really satisfying.

I’m currently reading/watching | ‘The Expanse’ – I’m a big fan of sci-fi so I’m loving this show.

Fun fact | I’m a big gamer and clo

MD Zillur Rahaman

Software Tester

My big professional achievement | Delivered defect free products across the Skills Forward portfolio of software.

Why I work in education | I’ve worked in a variety of sectors and all of them have been improved by harnessing the power of technology. It’s great to be able to bring that experience to Skills Forward. Education has always been an integral part of my life. Being part of Skills Forward, allowed me to work with education every day.

I’m currently watching | ‘Killing Eve’.

Fun fact | I have two Master’s degrees in Environmental Science and I have never used them but if global warming does not stop, I will go for the third one.

Jamie Shaw

UI/UX Developer

My Big professional achievement | My favourite achievement was reverse engineering Fenty Beauty’s foundation shade picker from their flagship US website and integrating it into Boots.co.uk.

Why I work in education | It’s a subject that is very close to home, with multiple family members in educational positions, including my wife who is a secondary school teacher and SENCO.

I’m currently reading/watching | I’m actually playing ‘The Last of Us, Part II’. It’s been too long since the first instalment.

Fun Fact | I’ve gotten myself too deep into home automation and can control practically everything from my phone; the lighting, heating, security alarm, locks… you name it, I can probably control it or monitor it in some fashion.

Richard Anderson

Programmer

My big professional achievement | Changing my profession in my mid-forties and re-training to become a Developer.

Why I work in education | I have a passion for education and a love of lifelong learning.

I’m currently reading/watching| I am a keen writer and subsequently, an avid reader. I’m currently reading the James Bond books but I’ll also shamelessly plug my own self-published children’s books ‘The Wonderful Adventure of Uncle Wizard’ and ‘Uncle Wizard and the Golden Orb’.

Fun fact | I’m working on perfecting my pastry making. My most accomplished pastry is the chocolate tea-cake from the Great British Bake Off – it’s harder than it looks.

Neil Johnson

Multimedia Developer

My big professional achievement | We’re always aiming for continual improvement, and it feels like the latest Skills Forward launch is better than the last.

Why I work in education | It’s been great to find a role that encompasses my passions for video production and web and media development. I can do this amongst a great team of likeminded people which makes for total job satisfaction.

I’m currently reading/watching | I’m reading a lot of Adobe classroom at the moment and also a few photography books by Lindsay Adler and Henry Carroll. I’m watching ‘Dark’ on Netflix – highly recommended!

Fun fact | Outside of work I’m really into photography; especially studio, location and drone shoots.

Dzintra Zilko

Customer Engagement Adviser

My big professional achievement | As part of a very progressive company, we are always encouraged to develop our skills. I am currently undertaking a qualification in Leadership and Management which will allow me to become a more efficient team member and Customer Engagement Advisor.

Why I work in education  As cliché as it might sound, it’s a very rewarding sector to work in. To be a part of two organisations that are education and charity orientated is really motivating. I’m proud of what we can do to support small and large organisations and individual learners. Making a difference is truly humbling.

I’m currently reading/watching | ‘Chameleon in a Candy Store’ by Anonymous, it’s the sequel to ‘Oxygen Thief’.

Fun fact  | I own a green iguana called Ted!

Skills Forward Logo

Daniel Howard

Managing Director

My big professional achievement | I’ve been around for some big changes in education and managing the Functional Skills reform and navigating a national roll out of the Apprenticeship Levy for a number of providers has to be near the top of the list. I’m very goal-driven and became a Managing Director by the age of 30.

Why I work in education | I really believe that inclusivity is key and everyone should have access to education. It has supported my own development and career, and it’s why I’m proud to be a judge for the BAME Apprenticeship Awards, and Fellow of the IEP and I get to see raw talent in action.

I’m currently reading/watching | I’m working towards a Level 7 in Strategic Leadership with the Chartered Management Institute so I feel like I read a lot of books on leadership. My current recommendation is to maximise your teams’ human fulfilment and potential by exploring their individual personalities and what makes them tick.

Fun fact | I’ve gone back to where it all began and I’m the chair of governors of my former primary school.