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WJEC Board

Mike Evans

Mike Evans

Chair of the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Limited

Mike Evans was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd as one of the first Non-Executive Directors / Trustees in 2011 and is currently the Chair of the Board. He also Chairs the Management Group and the Governance and Nominations Panel and is a member of the Remuneration Committee.

A member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, he has held various senior roles within Local Government as well as Director of Finance and Business Support Services/Clerk to the Governing Body at Coleg Sir Gar, and FD within the Housing Sector. Whilst at Coleg Sir Gar he established and Chaired the Welsh Further Education Purchasing Consortium which delivered annual savings of over £5m to the FE Sector within Wales.

He has also chaired the Welsh FE Finance Director’s Group, and was appointed by Value Wales to Chair a number of regional Public Sector committees and working parties. He has been active within the accountancy profession serving on the Board of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and was President of the South Wales and the South West of England Region.

In 2013-14 he was elected President of the Association of Accounting Technicians one of the UK’s leading qualifications and awarding bodies, and represented them at a number of regional and international events. During his year in office he led on the appointment of a new Chief Executive, and in 2016 he was appointed Chair of their Governance Review group.

Elizabeth Williams

Elizabeth Williams

Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Limited

Elizabeth Williams was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd as one of the first Non-Executive Directors / Trustees in 2011 and in 2016 was appointed Vice-chair. She is also the Chair of the Board of Directors for the subsidiary company, WJEC CBAC (Services) Ltd and Vice-Chair of the Management Group and the Governance and Nominations Panel.

She has been involved in policy development for children and young people for more than 20 years. She retired in 2010 after 10 years leading on children and young people’s policy in the Welsh Government, working closely with Ministers and practitioners across Wales to contribute to the distinct policy agenda in Wales. She played a leading role in the development of 14-19 Learning Pathways. Prior to this she was a primary teacher, headteacher and education adviser in Gwent and then Assistant Director of Education and Chief Adviser for Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council in South East Wales.

She currently teaches the Mindfulness in Schools Project programmes for primary and secondary pupils, and trains teachers to teach the programmes in their schools. She is also an active member of Mindful Schools Wales and an associate of Mindfulness in Action and the Mindfulness Initiative in Wales.

Edward Thomas

Councillor Edward Thomas

Councillor Edward Thomas was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd in July 2016 as a Non-Executive Director appointed by the Welsh Local Government Association. Councillor Thomas also serves on the Management Group.

Councillor Thomas is an independent Councillor representing Llandeilo & Dyffryn Cennen in Carmarthenshire. He is now Vice-chairman of the Education Scrutiny Committee within Carmarthenshire and serves on the Safeguarding Panel.

Prior to his election in 2012, Councillor Thomas worked for a major bank until his retirement in 2010. He has been a school governor since 2010 and Chair of his local primary school and since then has represented the Local Education Authority on his local secondary school.

Councillor Thomas is particularly proud that after having to leave school after his 'O' levels, due to the premature death of his father and the need to bring an income into the family home, and after 40 years of working full-time that he achieved a BA History (Hons) degree via Swansea University Department of Adult Continuing Education and is enthusiastic that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Alan Lockyer

Councillor Alan Lockyer

Councillor Alan Lockyer was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd in July 2016 as a Non-Executive Director appointed by the Welsh Local Government Association. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Audit and Assurance Committee.

At present, Cllr Lockyer is the Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Children Social Services. As a Neath Port Talbot County Councillor, Councillor Lockyer has chaired the Children Young People Education scrutiny committee and Special Appointments committee.

Councillor Lockyer has been involved with teaching since 1974 and has worked full time for West Glamorgan since 1977 teaching Brass, coaching youth Orchestra, Choir. He has also been a composer in residence for West Glam Youth Theatre and a composer for Primary, Junior and Secondary schools in West Glamorgan.

Since 1988, until his retirement four years ago, he has been a full-time lecturer in Neath College and Welsh College of Music and Drama. He developed and wrote the GCSE and HND courses in Popular Music and as Head of Music Technology designed and fitted the recording studios. He has also been a course leader for the Edexcel Advanced Level and National Diploma in Music Technology courses.

He has acted as an Advanced level Music Technology Examiner for Edexcel in addition to lecturing in Swansea Metropolitan University and various Media Degree and Nation Diploma courses in Audio.

Gail Giles

Councillor Gail Giles

Councillor Gail Giles was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd in July 2016 as a Non-Executive Director / Trustee appointed by the Welsh Local Government Association. Councillor Giles is also a member of the Remuneration Committee.

Her current position, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, is a strategic role overseeing all Newport schools and also the provision of support for young people not in education or employment to enable them to gain qualifications, apprenticeships and jobs.

A retired Senior District Nursing Sister with over 20 years practice, her professional experience has included management of staff, casework and caring for patients in the community from all backgrounds, all ages and with a variety of needs.

She has worked as Constituency Office Manager and researcher for an Assembly Member dealing with a broad range of Welsh Government and Assembly issues, including education and health.

Sarah Merry

Councillor Sarah Merry

Councillor Sarah Merry was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd in July 2016 as a Non-Executive Director / Trustee appointed by the Welsh Local Government Association. Councillor Merry also serves on the Board of Directors for the subsidiary company WJEC CBAC (Services) Ltd.

Councillor Merry is the Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council and has been responsible for the Council’s education portfolio since May 2015. She was re-elected as a Councillor in 2012 to represent the Cathays ward in the city, having previously represented the ward from 1995 to 1999. She is also Secretary of the Keep Cathays Tidy group.

In May 2017, Councillor Merry was appointed as the Deputy Leader of the Council and her cabinet portfolio responsibilities were expanded to include Education, Employment and Skills. She represents the Council on both the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) Council and the Local Government Association (LGA) General Assembly.

She has also recently taken on the role of Chair of the Central South Consortium Joint Education Service Joint Committee and is a board member of Cardiff and Vale College and the Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC).

Originally from the Midlands, she moved to Cardiff to study English at Cardiff University and has lived and worked in the city ever since, including in political support roles for several AMs and MPs.

Sarah Merry

Councillor Gareth Thomas

Councillor Gareth Thomas was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd in October 2018 as a Non-Executive Director / Trustee appointed by the Welsh Local Government Association.

Councillor Thomas is the Cabinet Member for Education at Gwynedd Council and he is the Chair of the Joint Committee for GwE (North Wales consortium) since May 2107. Gareth Thomas was elected Councillor for Plaid Cymru for the Penrhyndeudraeth Ward for the first time in 2011 and he has been a Cabinet Member since 2014.

As director of the company TJB Cymru Ltd, he has worked extensively with Third Sector organizations throughout Wales developing regulatory programs, business plans and offering "locum" managers to companies and organizations in the sector. He is a former associate lecturer for the University of Wales Bangor on their Community Development program, lecturing mainly on their postgraduate courses.

His main interest is Brass Bands and he is a member of the Oakley brass band in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Sarah Merry

Councillor Joy Rosser

Councillor Joy Rosser was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd in October 2018 as a Non-Executive Director / Trustee appointed by the Welsh Local Government Association.

Cllr Joy Rosser is the Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning for Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough and a Ward Member for Trealaw. She was elected to the Council in 2012 and has subsequently served as a member on Scrutiny Committees, Licensing Committee, Glamorgan Archives, and South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority.

Cllr Rosser joined the Cabinet in 2015, initially with responsibility for Prosperity, Wellbeing and Communities and since 2017 has held the portfolio for Education and Lifelong Learning.

She is on the board of Governors of Coleg y Cymoedd, a member of Central South Consortium Joint Education Committee and currently is chair of Rhondda Cynon Taf’s School Budget Forum, Central South Consortium’s Advisory Board and the LA Governors Committee. She is also Governor of two Primary Schools.

Cllr Rosser has worked in the private and public sectors and has over 30 years experience of working in the Voluntary Sector and was employed as Finance Manager for a Community Arts charity for 21 years.

Since retiring in 2016, Cllr Rosser has continued to advocate for the arts, and is extremely active in her community. She founded Trealaw Village Trust in 2009 and utilising her wealth of experience of fundraising and managing community activities, continues to raise funds for art projects for all ages and abilities. In 2011, in recognition of her advocacy and volunteering roles she was a finalist in Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council’s celebrations to mark the centenary of International Women’s Day.

Jessica Leigh Jones

Jessica Leigh Jones

Jessica Leigh Jones was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd as a Non-Executive Director / Trustee in 2018. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the subsidiary company WJEC CBAC (Services) Ltd.

Jessica Leigh Jones is a multi-award-winning Engineer and Astrophysicist, currently responsible for developing the next generation of manufacturing platform at the Sony UK Technology Centre, in collaboration with Japan. The former UK Young Engineer of the Year embarked upon her career in engineering following the design and development of a series of novel fibre optic sensing technologies leading to her receiving the IET Intel Inspiration Award in 2012.

She has received the Freedom of the City of London and currently represents the fastest progression to the rank of Liveryman at the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers. She is also the current Woman of the Future for Technology & Digital, a Top 100 Manufacturer’s Exemplar figure and appeared as one of the youngest in the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe List. She is a regular face in the media and a passionate advocate for technical education, apprenticeships and lifelong learning.

Joanna Moonan

Joanna Moonan

Joanna Moonan was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Limited as a Non-Executive Director / Trustee in 2018. She is also Chair of the Remuneration Committee and sits on the Governance and Nominations Panel.

Joanna Moonan is a qualified member of CIPD and has a masters degree in strategic HRM/D; she is also a Chartered Fellow of CMI. She is currently a Director in MOL, a training company for professional qualifications, that offers qualifications up to masters level across a range of professions including HR. Prior to this she had substantial experience in AQA, an awarding body, across a range of roles including senior stakeholder management and operations roles.

Her passion is transformational change and people at the heart of everything. Having always worked in the learning and education sectors she sees the importance of qualifications as gateways to opportunities and careers.

Beverley Downes

Beverley Downes

Beverley Downes was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd as a Non-Executive Director / Trustee in April 2018. She is also the Vice-Chair of the Remuneration Committee.

A member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the Chartered Institute of Marketing, she has previously held a trustee position at the RSPCA and is a social media enthusiast and retired food blogger.

She is currently the Marketing and Communications Director for the Development Bank of Wales and also leads stakeholder relations and estates management. The development bank is a leading SME investor which as well as supporting businesses in Wales also operates Help to Buy -Wales, and manages funds across the North of England. Prior to this role she spent 5 years as a manager at Education and Learning Wales (ELWa), the body formerly responsible for post-16 learning in Wales.

Richard Pendlebury

Richard Pendlebury

Richard Pendlebury was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd as a Non-Executive Director / Trustee in October 2018.

Richard is the Head of Strategy & Transformation at the Co-operative Bank and is responsible for delivering a large and complex change agenda spanning business, IT, risk, regulation and finance transformation. Richard is a qualified Programme and Project Manager and has previously been responsible for the corporate governance of the Bank, during his time as Business Manager in the CEO office of Co-operative Bank.

Richard has previously held a number of senior leadership roles at AQA Education Ltd., and led significant business transformation across the organisation. He has also been responsible for operational roles including examiner preparation and marking, results and post-results services as well as owning the multi-channel support services offered by AQA.

Richard is exceptionally passionate about helping organisations to realise their potential; he helps shape the strategies and architecture that will enable this, and strikes the balance of nurturing and acquiring the necessary capabilities to ensure these aims are fulfilled.

Richard brings 10 years of Financial Services experience, and 6 years of Awarding Organisations in England and Wales to the Board.

Dr Mandy James

Dr Mandy James

Dr Mandy James was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd as a Non-Executive Director / Trustee in October 2018.

Mandy has over 25 years’ experience in a number of leadership and management roles in education and business in Wales including leading City & Guilds as National Manager Wales and then as Senior Manager Strategy Planning and Strategic Relationships responsible for leading the business and team management in Wales, commercial growth, strategy and business planning in Wales and England, stakeholder relationships and partnerships, marketing strategy, Welsh Language provision, and influencing education policy in Wales. Mandy has extensive experience in higher education and vocational education and training in Wales and has been a member of numerous Welsh Government Steering Groups for vocational education policy, leader of the City & Guilds National Advisory Committee and Deputy Chair of the Federation of Awarding Bodies in Wales.

Mandy also has been a Research Fellow for the University of South Wales evaluating Wales’ first cultural strategy for the Welsh Government and succeeded in gaining a PhD in 2015 specialising in the use of evidence and evaluation for cultural policymaking in Wales following 10 years of research. Mandy has also worked as a Research Consultant for Creative & Cultural Skills Sector Skills Council and as an Education Consultant for NCfE.

Having started her career as a Primary Teacher, Mandy has also been contracted as Development Manager (Welsh Language Provision) for the Centre for Medical Education in the Cardiff University School of Medicine, and as Researcher developing and writing a new teaching and learning module on ‘Heritage Tourism and the Welsh Language’ for the School of Welsh in Cardiff University.

Mandy won the Llwyd o’r Bryn Prize in the National Eisteddfod in Llanelli in 2000 and subsequently was invited to join the Gorsedd of the Bards, and still enjoys adjudicating across Wales.

Neil Du Cros

Neil Du Cros

Neil Du Cros was appointed to the Board of Directors for WJEC CBAC Ltd as a Non-Executive Director / Trustee in October 2018.

Neil is a highly experienced senior IT professional and is a Chartered Member of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. Having graduated from Leeds University with a degree in Biology, Neil started his career with HM Customs and Excise and moved quickly into computing.

Neil has held a number of senior IT management roles both as an employee and as an independent consultant. He has led teams and projects across a diverse range of sectors including games development at Sony Computer Entertainment, Thomson Medical Education, contract research and educational assessment.

For 9 years Neil held the position of Head of Technical Operations at AQA where he led the IT services group in the development and delivery of the strategic plan, as well as representing IT on the senior management group managing successful exam series delivery. His key deliverables included enhancing resilience, disaster recovery planning and implementation as well as ongoing certification under the ISO27001 information security standard.

Neil was also on the board of the e‐Assessment Association for 3 years working across the assessment sector with suppliers and awarding bodies on new initiatives and collaboration. He now works as an Interim IT Director/Programme manager specialising in information security, change management and business continuity.

Gwen Aubrey

Gwen Aubrey

Company Secretary

The Company Secretary, who is responsible to the Board, is a senior position within an organisation and is at the heart of its governance operations.

The Company Secretary is responsible for the efficient administration of a company, particularly with regard to ensuring compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. It is also a supportive and advisory role.

The Company Secretary keeps the Board Executive and members informed of their legal responsibilities, ensures decisions of the Board of Directors are implemented, that statutory registers are maintained in good order, and responsibilities of the company are met. The role is also an important link between the organisation's Chief Executive and the Board and the company / charity and its members / shareholders.

As a charitable company limited by guarantee, WJEC CBAC Limited is also subject to charity law.

Gwen Lloyd Aubrey joined WJEC in March 2017 and has over 25 years' experience working bilingually within the education sector in Wales (mainly within HE institutions) in senior administrative roles. She has extensive experience in serving Boards providing both support and advice to the Chair of the Board and Directors / Trustees on governance matters, regulatory compliance within the organisation as well as company and charity law.

Gwen is a Prince2 qualified project manager, an ILM qualified leader and manager and a fully trained lay inspector for ESTYN. She is also a member of the Association of Welsh Translators and Interpreters.