Terms of Reference
Board of Governors
Jean Stevens-Duprez MBE, FCIOB
Independent Board Member & Chair
Jean is Chair of The Skills Centre’s Governance Board and brings with her, vast experience across many sectors, working cultures and industries.
Jean has a proven track record in delivering transformation programmes across a range of business operation strategies, as well as experience in setting up employer and industry-led trade boot camps for the construction industry.
This includes TfL’s Mayors Construction Academy (MCA) hub, which includes the Tunnelling & Underground Construction Academy, and the Construction Skills Programme; helping TfL establish a pipeline of talent to support the delivery of both their Property Development and Major Projects departments. And also the Thames Skills Academy; a group training organisation on behalf of Thames Tideway and the Port of London Authority that is dedicated to raising the standards of skills required both ashore and afloat on the tidal Thames, whilst the new super sewer is under construction.
Jean is an Executive of the Construction Client Leadership Group (CCLG) and is a representative on the City of London’s Social Value Consultation Panel. Jean held position of Chair of the Business Development Board at the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) London up to June 2021.
As a Director of Women into Construction Jean is passionate about her work in raising awareness with females both in recruitment and more importantly retention, within the Construction Industry and championing raising Mental Health awareness.
As a London Ambassador representing construction for the National Apprenticeship Service, Jean promotes apprenticeships across the built environment. Delivering impactful workforce solutions by helping businesses capitalise on opportunities around the skills landscape, with a current focus on emerging green skills needs, providing opportunities to shape the skills required and access the fully trained workforces needed to deliver on quality.
In 2015 Jean received an MBE for Services to Skills and Training.
Jon Howlin, CEO, leads The Skills Centre team in delivering on its mission to transform lives, creating social value by delivering local opportunities to local people.
With over 15 years’ experience in strategy, operations and business development within the education and construction skills sectors, Jon brings a passion for training that provides learners with the best opportunities in their fields.
Under his leadership The Skills Centre has developed a range of training courses and syllabuses that meet employer needs, working with partner organisations, local authorities, and policy makers across the UK to help fill a growing skills gap in the construction industry.
Jon is a member of The Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce, which is working to understand the future green skills needs for construction in London, and to develop a plan for meeting that need over the next 3 years.
Independent Board Member
Trudy Burrows founded Ashley Business Consultants in 2016. She is one of the UK’s leading experts in apprenticeship delivery, having gained considerable experience in senior posts at several UK Colleges, including Deputy CEO at Birmingham Metropolitan College and Executive Director at The Manchester College.
Trudy ran the largest and most successful Apprenticeship programme in the UK. This work has been recognised with several Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Grade 1 inspection results and the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for partnerships between education and industry.
During her time at The Manchester College, Trudy Managed the growth in apprenticeship numbers from 1,200 to 5,000, and she transformed their Grade 4 performing apprenticeship training provision to Grade 1 and Grade 2.
Whilst at Birmingham Metropolitan College, Trudy was instrumental in securing, setting up, and managing the Caterpillar Apprenticeship Academy; the largest single-site apprenticeship location in the UK. The Academy delivered over 1,200 apprentices and was awarded a Grade 1 status by OFSTED.
Due to the success of the Caterpillar Model, Trudy has secured further commercial partnerships and the model has been replicated by other levy-paying brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, and Unipart, as well as other large construction and manufacturing organisations.
Trudy has been engaged by the UK Government as an advisor on the implementation of the Apprenticeship Levy, and on skills and talent retention in the UK.
Alun Chapple MAAT
Alun has over 39 years’ experience in financial and commercial disciplines. He has worked in small partnerships, medium-sized businesses and in large, international public limited companies.
Prior to setting up his own consultancy in 2019, Alun was the Group Financial Director for a small but diverse group of companies. Previously he spent a year working with a charity and prior to that he held senior management roles in both a finance and commercial capacity.
Since setting up his own business Alun has specialised in working in challenging environments; he recently undertook a project for a UK region of a US company to reorganise its finance department.
Alun also worked on the transition of The Skills Centre’s finance department after the change of ownership, and he has remained working with the company in an independent advisory capacity to the board.
Alun continues to work with several SMEs in various capacities outside of his work for The Skills Centre
Alun is a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians and holds a diploma in Advanced Management Accounting from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
After many years working in a range of sectors including retail, restaurants, bus operating companies, and a call centre, and in a variety of roles such as in sales, driving, customer services, administration, driver training, health and safety, and compliance, Lisa finally found her calling following contact with Women in Construction, and joined Laing in 2021.
Lisa is currently undertaking her steel-fixing apprenticeship, which she started with The Skills Centre in 2022.
Dan J Langford OBE, FCIM, FRSA
Independent Board Member
Dan is a freelance consultant working with a range of organisations, providing support with marketing leadership, strategic communications and partnership development.
Until 2020, Dan was the Group Marketing & Communications Director of Acorn, one of the UK’s leading recruitment firms, a position he had held for 16 years. Before he joined Acorn, Dan was the Director of Marketing & Communications at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Over the years, Dan has held various non-executive board positions in both the private and public sectors, including with organisations such as CBI Wales, Cardiff Chamber of Commerce, the Commonwealth Games Council for Wales, Coleg Glan Hafren (now ‘Cardiff & Vale College’), and two Ministerial Appointments; one for nine years, where he sat on the strategy board for Business Wales, the Welsh Government’s flagship business support service, and for four years he was on the Strategic Development Board of the Cardiff Capital Region, one of only six directors drawn from the private sector.
Dan is a Co-founder of the Wales France Business Forum and Associate Director of The Wales Malta Initiative, and he is the Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Wales in the World.
Dan is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. He is an award-winning marketer, and in 2019 was made an OBE for Services to Business.
Ray began working for The Skills Centre in 2019 after 10 working ‘on the tools’ as a carpenter.
Ray’s starting role was as a NVQ Assessor, which allowed him to transition into the world of construction training, while still making regular visits to construction sites to work closely with his learners.
From there Ray moved into Pre-Employment Programmes, where over a 2-week programme, learners gained health and safety knowledge, formwork carpentry skills, and CSCS cards, with potential job outcomes at the end of the programme. In 2020 he began teaching formwork apprenticeships at The Skills Centre’s Elephant and Castle, and Build East centres.
Ray now works in the Quality Team, helping to support the apprenticeship and NVQ delivery teams in maintaining their good quality working practices, through compliance with Ofsted and other funding providers. This involves assisting with improvement plans, supporting tutors, and quality-checking paperwork and portfolios.
Independent Board Member
Paolo is Head of Inclusive Growth, Skills & Social Value at the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC).
Having worked at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in its various guises since 2007, at the LLDC Paolo heads up the team that ensures the Park’s pipeline of construction work creates social, economic and educational benefits for all.
Paolo has led on a number of high-profile initiatives at the Park over the years, including driving the payment of the London Living Wage to all workers, ensuring the LLDC uses its buying power to drive the highest standards of social value and EDI delivery through procurement and, working in partnership with Transport for London and The Skills Centre, recently launched Build East, a purpose-built construction training centre that is working with partners across the sub-region to develop and deliver a programme of employer-led green skills and trade-based training provision.
Phil Romain CEng, MIET, MCIPD
Independent Board Member
Phil has extensive experience in education and skills. As a senior HMI with Ofsted he was responsible for all inspections of post-16 education and training in the south east of England.
An Ofsted inspector with over 17 years ‘experience, leading and reporting on the quality of education, training and apprenticeships in colleges, independent training organisations, national employers, small businesses, and HM Prisons. Prior to taking responsibility for the South East Region, he led Ofsted’s policy and practice on apprenticeships, traineeships, and employability skills, working closely with ministers and government officials.
Phil is a chartered engineer and a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. He is a qualified trainer, assessor, and verifier, and has taught engineering and business skills to apprentices, graduates, and managers. Prior to joining Ofsted he held senior positions in international manufacturing, a sector skills council, an awarding body and a national training organisation.
Since leaving Ofsted, Phil specialises in helping leaders and managers to establish high quality programmes through executive coaching, bespoke support, high quality inspection services, and support to meet the demands of the Education Inspection Framework.
Phil is a governor at University College Birmingham where he chairs the Standards Committee, and a board member for a small number of independent learning providers.