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 with a responsibility for Quality and Learning, moving to Director of Curriculum in 2016 and more recently becoming Director of Learner Experience and Progression and Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Alison also works alongside the Safeguarding Alliance, providing consultancy on quality assurance and qualifications and is the College’s representative on the Ann Johnson’s Educational Foundation.

Lynsi Hayward-Smith CBE

Chair of Quality and Standards Committee, Chair of Governance Committee

Lynsi Hayward-Smith has a long career in Education working in the  Primary, Secondary, Further and Adult Education and Voluntary sectors. As a senior manager in Local Authorities from 2002 to 2018 leading Adult Learning services in Essex and Cambridgeshire.

She has extensive experience of leading structural change within local authorities and developing governing bodies in a Local Authority and charitable context. She has worked with council members and committees to develop governance solutions within the political structure of a local authority. She led her authority through the Area Based Review and took a lead role in the development of the skills and employment for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

She is a qualified and experienced Executive Coach and Mentor and has worked with executives to mentor and support them through change.

Her academic credentials include a Masters degree in Education from Trinity Hall, Cambridge and a postgraduate qualification in Executive Coaching and Mentoring.

Trustee and governance experience has included being a founder member of the Education and Training Foundation, a Gateway trustee and Chair of Governors for the Hertfordshire Adult Education Service. She gave support to a range of organisations as an AOC National Leader of Governance.

Currently, she runs a consultancy offering coaching and mentoring and research, specialising in the Further and Adult Education sector. Recent work includes an investigation for the GLA into level 4 and 5 provision in London.

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.

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.