From education to employment

AELP strengthens its capacity with two senior appointments


The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has announced a major strengthening of its senior management team with two new appointments.

Jane Hickie is AELP’s first ever Chief Operating Officer and has a strong track record of success running and growing operations for organisations to an exceptionally high standard. Her last role was at Groundwork, the community charity with a focus on engaging young people in improving their local environment. Jane’s new responsibilities will include building AELP’s membership, which comprises over 800 vocational learning and employment providers, and running the organisation’s head office based in Bristol.

Simon Ashworth has been appointed Chief Policy Officer. Simon joins AELP from the Babington Group, a large training provider which works across a number of different sectors. At Babington, he was Director of New Products and Services. Simon led on the apprenticeship reforms, working on a number of different employer trailblazer groups, engaging with and mobilising a number of levy paying employers in readiness for May 2017 and working with a number of strategic partners to develop a joint venture around End Point Assessment (EPA) services for the Leadership & Management Standards. Before that, he worked for other providers including the Digital Youth Academy based in Derby before it was bought by another company.

Both Jane and Simon have started work at AELP and in addition to some restructuring of staff responsibilities, Jane is currently overseeing an office move for AELP to more modern facilities in Bristol. The move took place on 28 February. Simon will lead overall on policy work including the apprenticeship and justice reforms and following Simon’s appointment, Paul Warner has taken up the role of Director of Research and Development. Such is the weight of the policy agenda, Paul and Simon will lead on different areas of policy.


AELP CEO Mark Dawe commented:

‘With Brexit, continuing pressure on the public finances and the arrival of the apprenticeship levy, these are challenging times but AELP is now in a strengthened position to take them on and support members into turning them into opportunities. Jane and Simon are already making a big difference to the organisation and we can expect more staff recruitment including new apprentices to the AELP team over the coming months.

‘We’ve also taken the opportunity to refresh the AELP branding. AELP is proud of its independent training provider heritage but hardly a week passes without a university or further education college joining our membership as well as new ITPs, so it is timely to give our representative role a new look. And from our new offices in Bristol, we are looking forward to an exciting year ahead.’

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