Our Board of Trustees:

David Ruddy

Chair of the Board of Trustees

David worked in the motor and luxury boat industry for over 35 years, starting as an apprentice mechanical engineer and then holding various other roles culminating in several senior executive positions with multinational companies.

He worked in the Further Education sector for 15 years and was the former Executive Director for Growth and Strategic Partnerships at West Suffolk College where his prime role was to work with a variety of stakeholders, partners and employers to plan, develop and provide the strategic overview for various upskilling and retraining programmes throughout the communities, in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire which the College serves.

David now works as an independent Business Consultant, Board advisor, Chairman and Non -Executive Director working with organisations to identify strategic opportunities which allow the institutions and their partners to deliver their operational and strategic objectives.

David is Vice Chairman and founder member and Trustee of the Meridian Trust, a successful multi academy trust (formerly CMAT).

Alison Davies

Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, Vice-Chair of Quality and Standards Committee

Alison Davies is an experienced senior academic manager with more than 25 years’ experience within the further education sector, specialising in curriculum and quality. Her career in education started in 1985 teaching in a small independent training provider. Following a break in her teaching career, she moved into the further education sector in 1998 as a fractional lecturer progressing to a senior management position over the next 19 years. In 2007, Alison joined Chelmsford College where she worked for more than 16 years undertaking a number of senior management roles, including responsibility for Quality and Learning, Curriculum and Learner Experience & Progression and Designated Safeguarding Lead. In 2024 Alison joined Colchester Institute as Deputy Principal..

Alison also works alongside the Safeguarding Alliance, providing consultancy on quality assurance and qualifications and is a practising Ofsted inspector.

Dr Anne Thompson

Chair of Access to HE Committee

Anne Thompson is a long-term member of the Gateway Qualifications Board and its predecessor organisations. She previously represented the further education sector whilst working at Waltham Forest College, London, where she was Vice-Principal Curriculum until 2004.

Her academic discipline is Sociology and she worked for several years as a researcher before doing the PGCE for FE and entering the sector. After starting teaching, she gained an MA in the Sociology of Education from Goldsmiths and then a doctorate from the Institute of Education, London.

She was involved in the creation and delivery of Access to HE courses from the mid-1980s and was the first Coordinator of the North and East London Access Federation which became one of the first AVAs recognised under the scheme introduced by the CNAA and subsequently operated by the QAA.

Whilst working in the FE sector and subsequently she has conducted research and consultancy, specialising in Access to HE and HE in FE, on projects and publications commissioned by educational bodies including BIS, QAA, HEFCE and AoC and, most recently, the GLA reporting on Level 4 and 5 provision in London.

Until 2021 she was co-convenor of the national Learning and Skills Research Network (LSRN).

Paul Whitehead

Chair of Finance and General Purposes Committee

As Vice-Principal of Harlow College Paul has a wide remit covering many corporate service areas including Finance, MIS and Student Services. Having undertaken a degree in Management with Business Studies at Middlesex University Paul started his career in the recruitment sector. Paul then joined Harlow College in 2005 supporting learners to find Apprenticeship opportunities across the mid and west Essex partnership. This expanded quickly into leading on projects, partnership management and then most predominantly data management as MIS manager. Paul then moved into a Director role in the college in 2015 and took up the role of Vice-Principal in 2018.

Gail May

Vice-Chair of Access to HE Committee.

Gail has worked in education since 1993 in roles spanning secondary, tertiary and higher education and an FE and schools planning and funding role at the London East Learning and Skills Council.

Gail joined the University of East London in 2006 as Head of Education and Community Partnerships with a remit to widen participation including leading the development and delivery of the University’s access agreements. Promoted to the Director of Civic Engagement and more recently to the Director of the Office for Postgraduates, Research and Engagement Gail has had the opportunity to lead on UEL’s public and community engagement strategy and now heads a team supporting the University’s research and impact strategy.

Gail has served on several school and college governing bodies. She was Chair of Governors at Newham Sixth Form College (NewVIc) between 2015 and 2020 and has a range of experience in school and academy governance, serving currently as the UEL appointed trustee at a University Schools Trust East London.

Gail is a qualified secondary school teacher and has a coaching qualification. Her role at Hammersmith and West London College (as was) included leading on quality assurance for a large programme of franchised provision.

Dr Anthea Hockly

Vice-Chair of the Governance Committee

Anthea worked in education and workforce development within the NHS for over 20 years retiring as Associate Director for Workforce Development and Learning at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), in 2022. She had a varied career background in science, IT, and secondary education prior to this.

Whilst working as a science teacher she took an MA in Education, and then, following her move to the NHS, achieved a professional doctorate in Workforce Planning. This expertise enabled her to build on the staff development that was already in place at EPUT and build internal development pathways that can take staff through from entry level to registered professional status. Under her leadership she ensured that EPUT fully embraced the opportunities offered by the Apprenticeship Schemes. She worked with local colleges and universities to ensure EPUT staff could access the courses that met their career aspirations within the NHS, whether in clinical or non-clinical professions. In line with personal interests, Anthea worked on developing pre-employment pathways and engaged with initiatives such as Kickstart to offer employment trials to young people who are currently unemployed.

Outside of work, some of her activities have demonstrated her commitment to education and opportunities for all. She has been a School Governor at a local primary school and is an active Mentor for young people engaged with the Prince’s Trust.

Dr Margaret Joojo-Richards

Vice-Chair of Finance and General Purposes Committee

Margaret is the Head of Adult and Community Education Service in the London Borough of Hounslow Council. She has worked in education for adults for 35 years, starting with teaching English as a Foreign Language, largely English for Business or Special Purposes, in the UK, Japan, Germany and Sweden. Inspired by working with so many speakers of other languages, she indulged her love of linguistic theory by studying for her masters and doctorate in Linguistics at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, specialising in phonology.

Staying in London, she joined the staff of International House for a couple of years, before making the switch to teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages with the WEA London Region. After joining the management team in 2005, she upskilled in maths education and enjoyed teaching and leading Functional Skills maths and English in London workplaces and communities. In 2015, Margaret joined the Adult and Community Education service of Hounslow Council as the Skills for Work and Life department manager, responsible for provision in ESOL, basic skills and vocational areas. She became the Head of Service in March 2020.

Dr Leon Annett



Leon has led transformative initiatives that have significantly enhanced student experiences. As Dean of Higher Education, he devised strategies that bolstered the college’s offerings and quality metrics, achieving remarkable improvements in student satisfaction and enrolment.

Originally a Sports graduate and working in the Health & Fitness Sector in London, Leon moved to South Wales and transitioned into further education where he has been operating for over 15 years. He has developed a comprehensive network that is distinguished by his dynamic approach to developing strategic partnerships, innovating curricula, and fostering inclusive academic environments. A Principal Fellow of Advance HE, his professional development is both deep and ongoing, underscored by a variety of external examiner and moderator roles for a range of awarding organisations. He also holds a Doctor of Professional Practice and an MA in Education Leadership & Management.

Leon has experience across the secondary, further, and higher education sectors. He is a strategic and boundary-spanning leader who is passionate about building futures and changing lives through the power of education. Leon specialises in the student experience, building partnerships, curriculum development widening access into higher education.

An active contributor to the broader educational community, Leon has held memberships on several key committees including HEFCW and QAA. His impact extends into community service, where he has championed vocational education and student engagement through various governance and advisory roles.

Claire Gill


Further and adult education are the golden thread through Claire’s life and work. As a strategic leader and adviser, focussed on education and skills Claire has worked with FE colleges, unions, sector and awarding body representative organisations, and a range of agencies across government. She has led marketing and communications teams, run large-scale research and change programmes, and been responsible for strategic partnerships.

Claire began as a lecturer and then manager in an FE College. It was here that Claire’s interest in the use of technology in learning and teaching began; this was an area on which she then worked nationally, for both Becta and Jisc.

Claire progressed to being Director of Communications and Engagement Director in a range of organisations (including the Education and Training Foundation) with a focus on the development of the FE teaching and leadership workforce.

Most recently Claire was Director of Strategic Engagement for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) for Ofqual, the qualification’s regulator, leading engagement with a broad range of employers, sector stakeholders and the regulated awarding organisations. This included on the regulatory and awarding arrangements for VTQs over the period when assessments were impacted by the Covid pandemic, on the introduction of regulation of end-point assessments of Apprenticeships, and on the introduction of regulations for a range of reformed qualifications including Digital Functional Skills.

Claire now works independently, across education, using the full breadth of her knowledge and experience to support new managers, schools, colleges, and awarding organisations.

Mark Hilton


Mark is the Director for Policy Delivery and Membership at BusinessLDN, the leading business membership group which campaigns to make London the best city in the world to do business, working with and for the UK. Mark leads the People Team, which drives the organisation’s work on skills, immigration, employment, inclusion and diversity and education, including running the London Local Skills Improvement Plan, the largest in the country.

He also leads the organisation’s member retention and engagement strategy.

He works to ensure London business has access to the talent it needs, by working with members and stakeholders to lead high profile and integrated policy and campaigning activity, including the successful London Skills Commission as well as the #Full Strength coalition which influenced post-Brexit immigration policy in the UK. He has built an extensive network across business, education, policy and government.

He works closely with the Greater London Authority including his role on the Skills for Londoners Jobs and Skills Business Partnership. He is also a member of the London Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network run by the Department for Education, the Home Office’s Employer Advisory Group and the London Higher Board.

Prior to BusinessLDN, he was a retail property consultant for eight years, developing asset management strategies for blue chip property companies, and spent four years in local government providing policy advice and training programmes to councillors as well as leading on community engagement.

Mark joined BusinessLDN from the Association of Colleges where he ran the London region.

Sammy Shummo


Sammy Shummo is a seasoned professional with nearly two decades of experience in further and higher education, business development, and apprenticeship management. Currently serving as the Group Director of Apprenticeships at London South Bank University (LSBU), Sammy provides strategic leadership for the development, delivery, and impact of LSBU Group’s apprenticeship strategy. Under his leadership, LSBU has experienced significant expansion, increasing both the number of apprenticeship offerings and business partnerships.

Throughout his career, Sammy has demonstrated a strong track record of success in driving apprenticeship growth, forging key partnerships with employers, and achieving business development targets. His proactive approach, coupled with his exceptional interpersonal skills, has enabled him to initiate and cultivate relationships with stakeholders at all levels, contributing to the expansion and enhancement of vocational education opportunities.

Sammy holds a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the University of West London and certifications in strategic management and leadership. He is deeply committed to professional development and is actively involved in various industry organisations, including the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC), where he serves as a board member.

In addition to his professional endeavours, Sammy is dedicated to giving back to his community. He serves as a co-chair of the Apprenticeship Sub Group for the Lambeth Skills and Employment Board, where he contributes to the development of local apprenticeship strategies and initiatives aimed at fostering economic growth and social mobility.

With a passion for promoting excellence and inclusivity in vocational education, Sammy is dedicated to driving positive change within the sector, empowering learners, employers, and communities to thrive in the modern workforce.

Anne Wright


Anne has held senior leadership positions in the finance, hospitality and logistics sector before moving to employability and skills in 2003, working for large and multi-national corporate companies during this time.

Joining Workpays in 2014 was a significant change to her career where she worked alongside her business partner to grow Workpays from a micro employer to become a significant and respected independent employability and skills provider, now working to improve the lives of around 4,500 people each year.

Anne’s passion has always been in training and development throughout her extensive career. She is now bringing all of her experience and skills together to continue the growth and development of Workpays, ensuring that it is a catalyst for the changes required as we transition to net zero. A significant part of Anne’s strategy is to ensure that green skills are a priority for continuous development and delivery inclusion for customers, employees and employers, to support the creation of a sustainable world.

Anne has worked closely with the Department for Education and other local government bodies on a number of projects and represented the voice of other training providers as a network director.