Meet the Smart Training Team

Stuart Prior
stuartManaging Director

Stuart joined Smart Training and Recruitment Ltd as their MD in September 2015; he brings to the role extensive work based learning and development experience gained over 17 years working in the education sector. During this time he has worked for, or consulted with, many national training providers and FE colleges including ESG, Paragon education and skills, VT training, Touchstone and HCTC. Prior to his time in the education sector, Stuart qualified and worked as a chef before moving into Operations, logistics, manufacturing & distribution management. Outside of work he enjoys cooking, dog walks and spending time with the family.

Outside of work he enjoys cooking, dog walks and spending time with the family.

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Rich Ashton
EmployeeData and Compliance Director

I joined Smart Training & Recruitment in November 2015 with over 13 years previous experience in the Work Based Learning sector. I overlook the day to day data requirements of the business whilst ensuring we are compliant to the rules and regulations set by our governing bodies. At Smart Training & Recruitment we are proud to provide a high level of service to all our learners and employers and part of my duty is to make sure this is sustained regardless of any forthcoming changes and reforms that we face as part of the sector we operate.

In my spare time I enjoy travelling and have a huge interest in music. I try and catch as many live bands as possible when not analysing spreadsheets.

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Sarah Johnson
EmployeeHR Manager

Sarah has worked for SMART for 9 years, undertaking a range of roles from Data Administrator, National Apprenticeship Vacancy Manager to HR Manager.

Best described as an “ear to all” and someone who champions trust, honesty and respect, Sarah works very closely with all departments across the Company. Recruiting the right people with unique skill sets or knowledge bases to enhance learner and employer experiences Sarah believes that positive employee engagement is an intrinsic attitude that denotes her own and SMART employee’s enthusiasm for his or her job.

Sarah values the commitment SMART employees have towards the Company they work for, Managers do a great job of maintaining a family feel working relationship and the teams are friendly and supportive. Bringing transparency and understanding to all that she does, she continues to spread her genuine concern for those all around her to challenge the age old HR stereotype of ‘Evil HR Lady’. Often found at the weekend enjoying a good coffee with family or friends.

Gillian Barber
EmployeeRegional Manager North

Gillian has worked for Smart Training and Recruitment for 2 years as a Regional Manager, covering the Northern region. Her areas of occupational competence are Business Admin, Customer Service, Team Leading, Management, IAG, Retail, Warehousing, Contact Centre and assessor and verifier awards. Gillian has also delivered the PTLLS (now Award in Education and Training) award in previous roles.

Prior to joining Smart, Gillian has worked within the Work Based Learning sector for 20 years, having started her career in retail with B&Q, where she first became involved with WBL. Gillian has worked for a number of training providers and spent 5 years at Salford City College. She also spent 5 years working in the prison service, involved in staff training and vocational instruction with prisoners. Whilst with the prison service, Gillian also delivered NVQs in Custodial Care for Prison Officers.

The North team have a wealth of experience which covers all aspects of the business and commerce, hospitality, active leisure and Management and team leading sectors. The region covers Greater Manchester, Lancashire, some of Yorkshire, Liverpool, the Wirrall and the North East. She would like to grow the numbers especially in the Sport & Fitness sector. Away from work it’s safe to say Gillian has a ‘thing’ for frogs and her home, car and garden are full of frog related items.

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Graham Berridge
EmployeeRegional Manager South West

Graham has worked at SMART Training for over 7 years now. Starting as an Assessor for Professional Cookery, Management and Hospitality, Graham progressed onto being an IQA and has been the Regional Manager for the South West since last June.

Prior to working for SMART, Graham worked in Hospitality, managing busy and successful Hotels and Restaurants in Devon and Wiltshire before taking on his own pub/restaurant where he was also the Head Chef. This experience has enabled him to assess hospitality, management and business qualifications.

The South West is a team of 9 Assessors and IQA’s as well as 2 BDC’s who service Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire and parts of Devon. The team is fast growing thanks to its’ hardworking BDC’s and TA’s, who have a diverse range of experience, covering every aspect of the business and commerce, hospitality and Management and team leading sectors.

Apart from continuing to support and guide the team in achieving excellent assessment and teaching & learning standards for their learners, Graham’s ambition for the South West is to continue to expand it, allowing Assessors to achieve their own IQA Qualifications and progress within SMART as he has. Any spare time Graham has he likes to spend with his daughter, playing board and computer games as well as watching movies and reading novels, when not cooking and gardening that is!

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Ashleigh Harris
EmployeeRegional Manager Solent

Ashleigh has worked for Smart Training, on the Isle of Wight, since November 2009. She joined as an unqualified TA and progressed from qualified TA to IQA; becoming RM in October 2013. The area she supports is the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southsea. Her areas of occupational competence are Professional Cookery, Hospitality Front of House, Team Leading, Management, and assessor and verifier awards.

Prior to joining Smart, Ashleigh worked in the Hospitality Sector for 17 years, having started her career in as a chef in the Private Safari Industry in South Africa and Botswana. Ashleigh also spent 2 years working as chef in London at Harvey Nichols 5th Floor Restaurant, before returning to Africa to take on the role as Group Training Chef for a Private Safari Company that had exclusive properties across Southern and Eastern Africa. Just before she relocated to the UK, Ashleigh spent 6 years running her own Training Consultancy in Botswana that specialised in bespoke training of all hospitality roles in the private safari sector. This is where she developed her love of teaching.

The Solent team have a wealth of experience which covers all aspects of the business and commerce, hospitality, Management and team leading sectors. Away from work Ashleigh loves spending time with her 2 year old daughter, her partner and 2 cats; as well as baking occasion cakes for friends and family

Moya Hannon
EmployeeOperations Director

Moya joined Smart Training and Recruitment Ltd in February 2004 after working for 10 years in various Hospitality and Catering roles. She first trained to be an Assessor and Internal Verifier, along the way she gained numerous qualifications such as BII Personal licence, Certificate in Education (PCGE) and advanced Food Safety. She ran a centre for Smart based in Bournemouth and later managed the Southern Region. Moya then re-trained and spent some time in the role of HR Director gaining her Level 5 CIPD qualifications. Moya returned to Operations in 2014 as Operations Director, managing the national training team which is the role she continues to enjoy today and has recently completed her Level 7 ILM Leadership & Management qualification.

Outside of work Moya likes to keep fit by attending the gym and taking part in a number of very healthy activities.

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Joe Rollings
EmployeeBusiness Development Director

Joe started working with Smart Training and Recruitment in 2012 as a Training Advisor specialising in Hospitality and Management. He progressed to the role of IQA and then Quality Assurance Manager before taking on the current role of National Sales Manager in January 2015. He has a team of 10 Sales consultants and oversees the day to day running of this function to ensure a steady growth in business year on year. Before joining the Smart Team, Joe tutored cookery in two Birmingham schools key stage one and two and held various managerial positions within the hospitality and catering sector working for Mitchells and Butlers, Whitbread and the De Vere Group.

In his spare time, he is passionate about motorsport and spending time with his two daughters Jessica and Lily.

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Antje Mandelkow
EmployeeTraining Manager

Antje has been working for Smart Training & Recruitment for the past 8 years, having held a range of positions. She came as a freshly qualified Hospitality Training Advisor to Smart Training & Recruitment in 2008. She originally joined Moya Hannon and the Bournemouth team but due to her Somerset location, was able to build a caseload of learners nearer her home. In 2009 Antje qualified as an IQA and was able to develop her own region and team, the South West, where she acted successfully as the Regional Manager, looking after a team of Training Advisors, Internal Quality Assurers and Business Development Consultants.

In 2014 she was given the opportunity to develop her skills further as the new Training Manager overlooking the company’s training needs and activities to ensure a greater training staff and learner experience. She has also developed and delivered bespoke training courses to commercial businesses. To keep up-to-date, Antje has undertaken a range of CPD activities, including completing her Certificate in Education (PCGE) and L5 CIPD Human Resources. Outside of work she loves lifting weight in her local Crossfit gym and enjoys active days out and about with her 9 year old son.

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Dawn Richards
EmployeeRegional Manager Midlands

Dawn is the Regional manager for the Midlands team consisting of 15 Training Advisors across Shrewsbury, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Birmingham, West Midlands, Black Country, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire, London, Surrey, Sussex, Essex and surrounding Home Counties.

She has worked for Smart for 7.5 years and started as a qualified TA out of the Knowle office and then progressed from there. Prior to Smart she was a National sales manager for a low vision company and spent 10 years within the Hospitality trade. Her hopes and wishes for the Midlands centre is for all the team to be the best at all times in everything they undertake. In her spare time she enjoys going to classic car shows (Especially Jaguar’s) and Cross stitch.

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Jane Perez-Ugarte
EmployeeRegional Manager South East

Jane joined Smart Training and Recruitment in May 2015 . She brings to the role over 15 years experience as an operations manager, assessor and quality assurer. Being involved in the development of worked based learning she has participated in and helped develop special projects within the education and skills sector. Originating in the hospitality industry, where she managed a range of 4 star hotels, she has an in depth knowledge of work based learning and the delivery of Apprenticeships in Hospitality, Customer Service and Business Services qualifications, with an additional 10 years` experience of vocational, skills for life and functional skills delivery. Jane has worked for 3 other training providers including consultancy for Ofsted.

The South East Team deliver the full complement of Smart’s Apprenticeships across 5 counties and London, including hospitality, commerce and Business Improvement Techniques. The team has 14 assessors/ IQAs who have recently come together; Jane hopes that over the coming months to grow the team further. In her spare time Jane is the Welfare and Safeguarding Officer for her local cricket club. She also likes to follow the sun and makes full use of annual leave going on short holidays at every opportunity