Nice To Meet You…

The board

Steve Johnson

Chair of Governing Board

Steve has a strong background in Compliance and Risk Management. He is currently Head of Oxygen Professional Risks, a leading specialist in Liability Insurance for the Psychological Professions.

Chair of Governing Board

Philip Holdsworth

Financial Consultant

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Financial Consultant

John Thorpe

Subject Matter Expert, Sports

John Thorpe was the Operations Director (Technical Services) for the Sector Skills Council (SSC) Skills Active for almost 14 years, working extensively on National Occupational Standards, Apprenticeships and Qualifications across the UK. He was also a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield College for 10 years.

Subject Matter Expert, Sports

Mike Bridgman

Education & Training Consultant

Mike has worked in Further Education for over 30 years and, for the last ten years, has been an education and training consultant working with a large number of Colleges and Training providers on a range of projects.

Education & Training Consultant

The CEO

Chief Executive & Responsible Officer

Joshua Cole​

Chief Executive Officer

Joshua is an established business leader, influencer and Chartered Manager (Fellow) with expertise in corporate governance, and an active member of the Institute of Directors (IoD). He has comprehensive experience of building, developing, mentoring and sustaining successful teams, creating structure by adding process and procedure to operations in several commercial sectors, including Health and Social Care and Adult Education.

Joshua continues to maintain an unrelenting focus on personal and professional development and keeps alive an enduring commitment to help individuals from all walks of life reach their full potential. He is a highly qualified, experienced and effective Clinician with a First-Class Honours Degree in Social Work, Post Graduate Diplomas in both Child Care Law and Mental Health (CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), and a Masters’ Degree in Advanced Professional Practice.

Joshua’s clinical experience includes operating in a variety of clinical settings such as a private psychotherapy practice, a secure psychiatric hospital, and prisons. He has also practiced in the wider community as a care coordinator and subsequently established a training business to educate and shape future generations of practitioners in the psychotherapeutic and health and social care sectors. He’s highly regarded as an inspirational, visionary leader amongst peers and a ‘safe pair of hands’ within the wider profession.

He founded a Registered Charity (BPDWORLD) in 2003, a specialist organisation designed and constructed to offer information, advice and support to those afflicted by BPD. He’s currently Chair and Trustee of Family Minds (previously Home Start Rotherham), a Registered Charity that works with parents to help develop confidence, enhance existing skills, and empower them to regain control of their lives.

Not one to ‘let the grass grow beneath his feet’, Joshua is currently investing in several entrepreneurial and philanthropic projects ‘in his spare time!’

Chief Executive Officer

The Team​

Stephen Thompson

Head of Business Development

Stephen has accrued over 25 years’ commercial experience in senior management and leadership positions across several business sectors. A freelance management consultant, he’s operated as a General Manager in wholesale warehousing and distribution (including transport and logistics), Director of Finance for the largest textile manufacturing group in Europe, Head of HR (including recruitment and selection at all levels) and others. His civilian career was preceded by a distinguished career in the British Army.

A lifelong learner and experienced business coach, Stephen has many years of experience in teaching, training and mentoring others, particularly in business skills.

As a trained B2B Copywriter he’s created marketing materials, promotional copy and website content for businesses in the education and training sectors and helped hundreds of fellow Armed Forces Veterans (more than 750 so far) successfully transition to their first civilian employment by writing their CVs - a distinct and separate category of copywriting.

Head of Business Development

Alison Tanton

External Quality Assurer (EQA)

Alison enjoys a challenge and is determined to succeed at everything she undertakes, which is reflected in her performance and commitment to her role. She has a diverse education sector and quality assurance background that underpins her experience and informs her highly developed analytical skills. As an ambassador for Focus Awards, she ensures that all professionals operating in our centres work within the correct boundaries of our qualifications to promote excellence and facilitate learning. Alison holds them to robust quality assurance systems that adhere to awarding organisation (Ofqual) standards Alison is also a great team player and motivator, has excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and is accustomed to working under pressure. She has a flexible and diligent approach to every aspect of her EQA role, and outstanding interpersonal skills that always elicit positive responses from our centres.

External Quality Assurer (EQA)

Helen Pusey

Head of Qualification Development

Helen is an energetic, driven and committed Qualification Development Expert and Quality Assurance Specialist with a BTEC Level 7 (Masters level) Advanced Professional Certificate in Investigative Practice from Bond Solon in London. She is also an experienced educator with an impressive academic background, including two Honours Degrees (BA and BSc) and is an exceptional communicator.

Helen readily establishes rapport with clients and colleagues, developing positive interpersonal relationships with ease. She was previously responsible for assessing and conducting the internal quality assurance processes of one of the largest training providers in the country.

A qualified Social Worker, Helen has significant experience of operating in pressurised working environments, with the ability to remain calm, effective and cheerful against stringent deadlines and time constraints, even in the face of challenging decisions.

With her ICT background and in-depth knowledge of hardware, software and computer-based data collection, she provides pivotal guidance in the collation, analysis and manipulation of complex information. She has been instrumental in the development and implementation of Qualitas, Focus Awards’ innovative information and quality management system.

Additionally, Helen is a qualified External Verifier, and ensures that all Focus Awards’ operations, and those of our Centres, conform to the most rigorous standards in full compliance with the Ofqual General Conditions of Recognition (GCOR). This maintains the reputation of both Ofqual and Focus Awards and reinforces learner protection at all levels

Joshua Cole​

Chief Executive Officer

Head of Qualification Development

Sarah Edmundson

Head of Centre Support

Sarah has a strong background in Quality Assurance (Qualified IQA) and Assessment, and in Education and Training. She’s currently studying for the External Quality Assurer (EQA) qualification, to add more value to both Focus Awards and our Centres. A big part of her current role is helping to plan and coordinate EQA activity.

Sarah fully understand the challenges, issues and frustrations facing our Centres and other training providers in today's demanding regulatory environment, so regularly provides sound advice and guidance on process and procedure from an Awarding Organisation (AO) perspective that is Ofqual compliant.

Liaising between Focus Awards' Quality Assurance Department, training providers and centres is something in which Sarah takes great personal and professional pride. She also helps create new qualifications and drives forward applications for new approvals and qualification additions.

Customer Service has always enthused her. “We've all been on the wrong end of poor customer service”, she says, “It's unpleasant and unhelpful. But it's also a great learning tool!” Sarah keeps such unsatisfactory experiences at the forefront of her mind when dealing with our own customers and clients. She says that just avoiding those situations dramatically improves interaction, and 'reverse engineering' them “helps us set performance standards we can be proud of.”

Head of Centre Support

Samantha Maskell

(SM Writing Services) - Business Support

Samantha has operated successfully in several commercial sectors and her company delivers general business support functions as well as providing an excellent proofreading service.

As a proof-reader Samantha has exceptional attention to detail with an eagle eye, capable of spotting even the most minute of inconsistencies, which benefits most areas of the business from qualification development and specification writing to centre support materials and resources.

Samantha also has a good working knowledge of business processes, including recruitment and staffing, transport and logistics, and account management.

Samantha Maskell

(SM Writing Services) - Business Support

Reza Penafiel

BSc – Virtual Assistant, Administrative Support

Reza is a Freelance Virtual Assistant who works remotely to provide administrative assistance and secretarial services, primarily to the CEO and senior management team. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Commerce.

Reza also contributes to the day-to-day email and chat support we provide to our Centres and can often be found ‘on the phones’ delivering an outstanding customer experience (CX) in real-time. Between calls and routine administrative tasks, Reza is invaluable to the maintenance of our positive presence on social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Reza’s previous experience as a Fraud Management Adviser with HSBC makes her an invaluable asset to Focus Awards, in the compliance-driven business environment of a regulated awarding organisation.

Reza Penafiel

BSc – Virtual Assistant, Administrative Support

Shumon Ghoshh

BSc – Project Manager, Systems Analyst

Shumon is a highly capable and competent project manager, with a strong background in data processing and list management. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering and Computer Science, so is an integral member of our ‘back office’ support team’, working remotely.

Shumon's skills in programming and web design help keep projects on track and he provides a reliable interface with freelance contractors when needed. He's also an asset with regard to outbound marketing efforts, resolutely remaining cheerful and efficient with tasks that most of us would find incredibly boring and dull.

Shumon Ghosh

BSc – Project Manager, Systems Analyst

Olivia Allott

VIP Centre Support, Customer Service And Administration

Olivia comes to us from a Customer Service post within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), where she applied her strong background in customer services. Her data analysis and data protection skills combine with prior experience of diverse customer needs in the hospitality sector, enabling her to take a flexible and agile approach to the complexities of the awarding organisation business.

Olivia is taking on a pragmatic oversight of our larger Centres to ensure all our colleagues and partners receive consistency of service delivery as the business grows.

Olivia Allott

VIP Centre Support, Customer Service And Administration

Melissa Pennington

Centre Support

Melissa recently joined us from Next, where she contributed to the logistics and distribution function. She previously completed an Admin Assistant Apprenticeship with Barnsley College, where she gained a Level 2 in Business Administration, and has also had some retail experience.

Melissa is part of our Customer Service and Centre Support team. Her friendly, outgoing personality and sense of humour are a boost to our fun but hardworking office environment.

Centre Support

Reza Penafiel

Administrative Support

Reza is a Freelance Virtual Assistant who works remotely to provide administrative assistance and secretarial services, primarily to the CEO and senior management team. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Commerce.

Reza also contributes to the day-to-day email and chat support we provide to our Centres and can often be found ‘on the phones’ delivering an outstanding customer experience (CX) in real-time. Between calls and routine administrative tasks, Reza is invaluable to the maintenance of our positive presence on social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Reza’s previous experience as a Fraud Management Adviser with HSBC makes her an invaluable asset to Focus Awards, in the compliance-driven business environment of a regulated awarding organisation.

Administrative Support

Shumon Ghosh

Systems Analyst

Shumon is a highly capable and competent project manager, with a strong background in data processing and list management. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering and Computer Science, so is an integral member of our ‘back office’ support team’, working remotely.

Shumon's skills in programming and web design help keep projects on track and he provides a reliable interface with freelance contractors when needed. He's also an asset with regard to outbound marketing efforts, resolutely remaining cheerful and efficient with tasks that most of us would find incredibly boring and dull.

Systems Analyst

Olivia Allott

Centre Support and Administration

Olivia comes to us from a Customer Service post within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), where she applied her strong background in customer services. Her data analysis and data protection skills combine with prior experience of diverse customer needs in the hospitality sector, enabling her to take a flexible and agile approach to the complexities of the awarding organisation business.

Olivia is taking on a pragmatic oversight of our larger Centres to ensure all our colleagues and partners receive consistency of service delivery as the business grows.

Centre Support and Administration

Chloe Porter

Centre Support and Social Media Design

Chloe graduated in Graphic Design from York St. John’s University and has thrown herself into every task she’s been presented with. Enthusiastic, creative and diligent, she has made a positive contribution to the business from Day 1. She has taken over the Social Media Engagement functions of the company to enhance our outbound marketing efforts, and also provides customer service to our Centres.

Chloe has some retail sales experience and is used to dealing with the general public in various customer facing positions she held while at Uni.

Centre Support and Social Media Design

Rebbeca Greenall

Administrative Support

TBC

Administrative Support

Nayab

Senior Web Developer

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External Quality Assurer (EQA)

Nayab

Senior Web Developer

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System Administrator

The Techies

Nayab

Senior Web Developer

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Senior Web Developer

Nayab

Senior Web Developer

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System Administrator

Chloe Porter

Centre Support and Social Media Design

Chloe graduated in Graphic Design from York St. John’s University and has thrown herself into every task she’s been presented with. Enthusiastic, creative and diligent, she has made a positive contribution to the business from Day 1. She has taken over the Social Media Engagement functions of the company to enhance our outbound marketing efforts, and also provides customer service to our Centres.

Chloe has some retail sales experience and is used to dealing with the general public in various customer facing positions she held while at Uni.

Web Developer

Rebbeca Greenall

Administrative Support

TBC

Ali

Web Developer

Nayab

Senior Web Developer

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Search Engine Optimisation

Nayab

Senior Web Developer

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External Quality Assurer (EQA)

Nayab

Senior Web Developer

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External Quality Assurer (EQA)

Nayab

Senior Web Developer

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Senior Web Developer

Hungry for Success? Want to Be Part of Something Incredible? If You Want to Join a Dynamic, Hungry and Vibrant Professional Team, Look No Further…

Vacancies

We are always looking out for cheerful, motivated professionals who want to make a difference. If you think you have what it takes to positively impact our staff, centres, and customers we want to hear from you. Send us a statement of no more than 1000 words that tells us why we should hire you. For example, tell us how you can save us money, make us money, improve our service, streamline our processes, or develop the business. Please don’t send a CV. If your statement is compelling enough to generate our interest, we’ll be in touch. Good luck, and thanks for taking the time to consider us for your future career.

Just Ask