Board of Trustees
Chair of the Board
Liza-Jo is a Professional Educator, Coach and NLP Practitioner. Having entered the world of education as an adult, learning to read and write at 28, then going on to gain a science degree.
Liza-Jo had 25 years in the Education Sector, as a teacher progressing into senior leadership roles, always continuing to teach health and social care, economics, politics, childcare and education across all age ranges and levels of learning in schools, colleges, and university.
Now a self-employed educator, coach and NLP practitioner, Liza-Jo works with public and private organisations to support diversity and inclusion within the workplace.
Liza-Jo has a passion for equality and diversity and is an advocate, for those with learning differences and disabilities. “It is important to me that all people are treated the same ‘as individuals’ and are afforded the same life chances, benefits, and progression opportunities to reach their true potential. I am committed to ensuring that as the board set the strategic direction of the newly merged AIM organisation that Inclusion is at the top of the agenda".
Everton Burke OBE
Everton has worked in the Further Education (FE) sector for a number of decades and is a former vice principal of an FE college. He has many years’ experience of leadership and senior management and has have served on a variety of boards over the years and continues to do so. He is currently the Chair of Corporation at Burton and South Derbyshire College.
Everton is a strong believer in lifelong learning and in supporting the post-16 agenda of recognising the learning and achievement of those who seek to empower themselves through education and training. “This all started for me when I first heard the phrase “Access to HE provision” when I was a lecturer in an FE college. Access to HE resonated with me because I would have loved to have had the provision at the time when I, and others like me, wanted to gain higher level qualifications to assist me in my career progression, but did not have any traditional A level qualifications.”
“As we move forwards as the newly merged AIM organisation, I will continue to bring my passion for helping learners in their learning environment, our staff in their workplaces and our trustees in the board room to ensure that we continue to grow stronger and become the awarding organisation of choice nationally”.
Born and educated in Blackpool, Lancashire, Leslie moved to Leicester to study an art and design degree before working in a range of employment sectors and raising a family. With a change in career beckoning, in the late 1990s Leslie began to study for a degree in social and political history with the Open University, achieving First Class honours. Further studies resulted in qualifications in human geography, social science and a post-compulsory PGCE.
During the latter stages of her degree studies, Leslie began working part time at Leicester College as a teacher of Advanced level and Access to HE geography, sociology and history, and later, at Wreake Valley Community College as an Access to HE course leader, progressing to Programme Area Manager at Leicester College in 2005.
Leslie has been responsible for co-ordinating Leicester College’s Access to HE provision for a number of years, working closely with AIM to continuously develop and improve both the offer, and student experience. She served on the Access to HE Committee for AIM for many years, latterly as deputy-chair, and as that group disbanded, joined the Board of Trustees in 2016 with a position within the Access to HE sub-committee.
Committed to the ethos of widening participation and lifelong learning, Leslie works closely with a number of regional HEIs to champion the Access to HE Diploma qualification and to support learner progression.
An MBA qualified business graduate with over 20 years’ experience in a variety of sales/marketing and business development roles at Group Account Director level working for major clients including Sainsburys, National Grid and Dixons Carphone.
Currently employed as a director in a consultancy where she specialises in racial justice, Stephanie also performs additional roles as Chair of Governors at a primary school and Chair of the School Appeals Panel for the local council. She is also a trustee for the London Diocesan Board for Schools which supports the learning of over 160 church schools and over 60,000 pupils and sits on the Operations and Finance committee.
Dr Charlotte Barratt
Charlotte has been with the University of Leicester for over twelve years, working with mature and Access to HE students for about six of those years. She is now a Student and Education Equality Diversity and Inclusion Project Manager, supporting all students from the beginning of their course to the end. Her team projects look at awarding gaps, curriculum content, and quality marks.
She is Chair of the Mature Learners Working Group for NEON. Charlotte completed her PhD on museum visiting with super-diverse communities and was also a trustee for the City of Leicester Museums Trust for ten years. Charlotte has a general belief that anyone can achieve what they want as long as they are getting the support they need to do so.
Ian Bond is the Director of Inspire Learning, running the Adult and Community Education Service on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council. Ian has over 30 years' experience of working in education, as a secondary teacher of English and drama, as a trainer delivering Word Power and Number Power, as a careers adviser specialising in adult guidance and as a manager/director working for several General Further Education Colleges in Greater Manchester, Leeds and London.
Prior to joining Inspire, he worked for NIACE (now the Learning and Work Institute) as their lead on apprenticeships, 19 + Advanced Learning Loans, traineeships and latterly as the Head of Marketing.
Ian is a passionate advocate for adult community and family learning, and hopes to bring his experience of running successful programmes and securing external funding, to the exciting role on the AIM Board of Trustees.
Starting as an administrator in the mid-'90s with Link Training, Walsall, Donna Dawson progressed into teaching, assessing and then onto quality assurance. Donna is currently working in the role of Regulatory Compliance Management for Lantra Awards.
In a career spanning 25 years, she has managed training establishments across a range of sectors within the West Midlands. She has worked in the construction, engineering, land-based and environmental sector. Always keen to learn new skills, Donna is a qualified holistic therapist and yoga instructor.
She has a passion for raising money for charities, always looking for the next adrenaline venture!
Teresa Flowers is the Access to HE and Vocational Manager within the Widening Participation Team at the University of Nottingham. This role involves delivering information, advice and guidance outreach sessions to support Access to HE students who are studying at local FE colleges.
Teresa also runs several schemes and events to help support the transition of mature students into Higher Education once they arrive with the university to undertake their undergraduate studies. Teresa knows about this first hand as she undertook an Access to HE Diploma in the year 2000 and went on to achieve a first-class BA (Hons). This was followed by a degree in English and a PGCE before teaching English at Central College Nottingham for five years.
As a clear examples of her passionate for Access to HE, Teresa was appointed to the Board in 2013 as the Chair of the then Access to Higher Education Committee.
Fiona Grant is Quality Assurance Manager at Swim England Qualifications. With over 16 years experience in Further Education, Fiona has had a range of roles in the education section including Tutor, Assessor, Director and more. She has also been part of the Senior Leadership Team for Accreditation Bodies and Awarding Organisations for the last 15 years.
Fiona is passionate about how values, ethics, cultures, quality and leadership can impact and inspire people to create opportunities for learners that enable them to change their lives for the better.
Fiona is grateful for the privilege to have been invited to join the AIM Board (and ‘Family’) and she looks forward to being a part of the group's future and ongoing successes.
Suzanne Henson is a past Chair of a UK based International Awarding Organisation and founder of Hensonia International Academy – located in Cheshire, UK. With over 30 years' experience in teaching and training across a range of industry and education (private and state sector), Suzanne brings knowledge of a range of fields including, health and safety, beauty, spa, sports, holistic therapies and more.
Suzanne holds a Masters degree in Education and writes articles for professional and trade publications, and is an official visitor and panel judge for Professional Beauty Awards. Suzanne is presently involved as an advisor / IQA for a Liverpool based education and training charity.
Pauline Riley's passion for interior design developed from her extensive business interests in property development. Always keen to learn more, she looked into design training opportunities and was shocked at the lack of flexible learning available.
Pauline understood the challenge adults already faced with juggling work and family commitments, as she was doing this at that time. This made it difficult or impossible for them or for her to study traditionally on campus.
Pauline started the Academy to offer adults with a passion for design an opportunity to study flexibly, in order to achieve their diploma qualification.
In 2013 the academy opened a branch in Dubai, delivering AIM qualifications to international students. Everyone at the Academy is passionate about helping our students to achieve their goals and we all truly believe that learning should be fun!
Pauline firmly believes that student achievement should be recognised and rewarded as currency for their future. When looking for an Awarding Body for the Academy, she chose AIM as, unlike other AOs, AIM puts the students first and were happy to accommodate and recognise flexible learning.
Pauline has since then been a member of the AIM Board for a total of 34 years. She is particularly excited about the opportunities for the newly merged AIM Group and very much look forward to being part of its future.
Dr Govind Desai
Dr. Govind Desai has held the position of Director and Principal at Imperial English UK and Birmingham College since 2003. His impressive academic credentials include three master's degrees and a PhD from Leicester University, which is among the top 20 universities in the UK.
Dr. Desai possesses extensive experience collaborating with institutions across more than 25 countries. He has successfully executed numerous projects in partnership with various governments, including a national training programme for 100,000 teachers.
Over the past two decades, Dr. Desai has dedicated his expertise to academic and charitable organizations within the UK. In a relatively short span of time, he has transformed Imperial English UK into a highly regarded British brand that has authored over 150 books, developed five world-class applications, and established a presence in more than 25 countries. As the Principal of Birmingham College, Dr. Desai forged academic alliances with three British universities and government entities.
Dr. Desai's passion lies in crafting cost-effective digital solutions for academic institutions to deliver English language courses that adhere to British standards, ensuring quality and recognized qualifications are at the forefront of education.