Our Leadership

Meet our board of directors and senior management

Susie Simon-Norris Chief Executive

Susie began working with SS&L as a tutor in 1991. Since then she has had a variety of roles, including District Manager, Staff Development Officer, MIS and Finance Manager and Head of Foundation Curriculum, and she became Head of Service in 2011. She has a passionate belief in the value of education, and a commitment to lifelong learning.

Peter Harvey Non Executive Director and Chairman

Peter Harvey joins the board of Somerset Skills and Learning CIC as non-executive director and chairman. He comes with a wealth of experience in both the private and public sectors. He trained at the Royal Agricultural College and spent a number of years managing large agricultural estates before entering the agricultural supplies industry where he was the chief executive of a number of co-operative and private organisations. Following this he was the Managing Director of Business Link Somerset Ltd and Director of Advisory Services at Business Link Devon and Cornwall Ltd. He has held a number of non-executive directorships including being the vice-chairman of Cannington Agricultural College and is currently chairman of the Elizabeth and Prince Zaiger Trust.

Kathryn Baker Director of Curriculum and Business Development

Kathryn was appointed in June 2015. Prior to this she was the Director of Funding, Information & Resources at Somerset College. During her twenty two year career within the education and training sector she has undertaken a variety of roles including, Senior Manager for SS&L, Curriculum Manager (ICT / Business) for Somerset County Council and Corporate Training Officer for Bristol City Council.

David Watson Director of Finance and Support Services

David trained as graduate Building Surveyor. However, he has worked in Further Education since 1996. Initially with a private training provider, working in learner recruitment and marketing then as a tutor/assessor. In 2001 he joined the Senior Management team of a private training provider in the North West as the companies Training Manger. He then relocated to Somerset in 2003, when he joined SS&L. Since then David has held Senior Management roles responsible for Curriculum Delivery and Support Service functions at SS&L. He has also been a Director of the Dorset & Somerset Training Provider network since 2012, an external role he enjoys.

Sian Strang Senior Manager Teaching & Learning

Sian is a passionate advocate of lifelong learning. She has spent her working life in the education sector and has taught across the age range from reception to adult. She has worked as an Adviser for Somerset schools for twelve years, primarily for Assessment, Recording and Reporting. She was seconded to the Adult Learning service in 2001 where she set up and managed Family Learning, becoming Curriculum Manager of Skills for Life and Family Learning in 2007 and she now oversees the quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment as a member of the senior management team.

Richard Wilkins Non Executive Director and Chairman of the Business Development Committee

Richard Wilkins is joining the board bringing twenty years of experience working in the information technology sector in business development, sales leadership and digital transformation. Richard has held a number of senior management positions at global technology companies including Zones Inc, Skillsoft Inc, and Insight Inc. Richard has a degree in Chemical Physics from the University of East Anglia.

Steve Lay Non Executive Director and Chairman of the Quality and Curriculum Committee

Steve joins the SS&L board as a Non Executive Director after returning to Somerset following a four year appointment in Essex as Principal of an Adult Community College. He is currently working as a Further Education consultant which so far has involved projects on localism/devolution and area reviews. Steve is also working part-time in a training and development role at Somerset County Council. Steve spent a significant period of his working career in various roles with the former SS&L organisation and he is excited to see the new social enterprise grow and prosper as a major learning provider in the South West.

Ann Phillips Curriculum Manager (Staff Director)

Ann Phillips has worked for SS&L since June 2012. Prior to joining the company Ann worked with a range of formal, informal and community education departments including 16 years with the Careers and Connexions Service. Ann worked in a variety of roles working directly with young people, managing work-based learning and ESF contracts and as a Senior Manager with Operational and Business Development responsibilities.

Yvonne Cooze Quality Assurance and Compliance Manager (Staff Director)

Yvonne Cooze has been employed in Government Funded Education and Training for the past 21 years as a: Contract Manager for four years with a private training provider; Financial Auditor for six years with Somerset TEC and Somerset LSC; Quality Manager and Compliance Manager for 11 years to date with SS&L.

Hilary Bedford Curriculum Team Leader (Staff Director)

Hilary trained as a primary school teacher and worked for many years with Key Stage 2 children as class teacher with curriculum responsibility for IT, DT and art. After completing ESOL qualifications, she joined SS&L in 2003, moving on to teach Literacy and Functional Skills English. She now leads the team of English tutors, as the Curriculum Team Leader, and teaches GCSE English Language. She was selected by SS&L staff as their representative Director in 2016.

Justin Speirs Assistant Director, Curriculum

Justin's passion for teaching and training began while teaching English as a foreign language in Spain. For the last 10 years, Justin has worked in the youth sector supporting young people to reach their full potential through access to education, employment or training. Prior to his appointment to SS&L, Justin formed part of the Somerset Rural Youth Project's senior management team as Programme Manager.

Sally Winkworth Curriculum Manager

Sally has been employed in Government funded education and training since 1991 in a variety of roles, predominantly around entry level programmes and work based learning. She spent two years at a local FE College and the remainder has been with SS&L. Sally has experience of Contract Management, Assessment, Internal Quality Assurance and management of different areas of curriculum delivery. She is currently the Curriculum Manager for Work Based Learning, covering Apprenticeships amongst other things.

Ruth Sindall Curriculum Manager (Business, IT and Leisure)

Ruth is a Qualified PE and Science Teacher and former Head of Department at a school. After taking a year off to travel the world, she started working for Somerset County Council in 1990 as Leisure Centre Manager, where she quickly gained promotion to Community Education Co-ordinator, then Adult Learning and Leisure Manager. She now holds the role of Curriculum Manager for Business Administration, IT, leisure courses, horticulture and fitness qualifications at SS&L. Ruth gained a BA Degree in Sports Science, TAQA qualifications and Management qualifications. She is also an advanced Fitness Instructor, holds numerous sports coaching awards including Trampolining, Badminton, Rugby and Swimming, and most recently qualified as a Nordic Walking Instructor.

Paula Hobson Curriculum Manager

Paula moved to SS&L in 2003, having spent the previous 13 years as an Adult Education French tutor with Somerset College (now Bridgwater and Taunton College). She was based initially in Minehead, managing the curriculum area of Modern Languages, across the County, whilst also overseeing the full SS&L curriculum delivery across the geographical area of West Somerset. Since 2008, Paula has been based in Wellington, and now manages the diverse curriculum areas of Languages, Arts & Crafts, Humanities and Adults with Learning Disabilities, across the County.

Vera Ixer Head of Marketing & Communication

Vera joined SS&L in early 2016. She has an extensive background in marketing & communications gained both in the UK and her native Australia. Her background lies mainly in the B2B Services area, particularly the recruitment sector, with roles including Head of Asia Pacific Marketing for Michael Page International, UK & Ireland Marketing Director for Robert Half International, Head of Recruitment Advertising Sales for The Sydney Morning Herald and Regional & National Marketing Manager for British Army recruiting. She has undertaken a rebrand for SS&L and is looking forward to further building the profile and awareness of SS&L and its brands.

Andy Hobbs Head of Technology

Andy was appointed as SS&L's Head of Technology in September 2016 after an absence from the Company of nearly ten years. During his time away, Andy spent seven years as the Head of Learning Technology & Learning Resources at Somerset College, as well as two stints with Carbase, firstly as a Project Manager and last year as their HR and Training Manager. Andy says that SS&L, or Community Education as it was then, has played an important part in his career development. Whilst he was driving lorries for a living he started an evening class as a tentative step back into education. This led to him studying for an HND in Computing at Bridgwater College and eventually to him returning to where it all began at SS&L.

Tineke Winfield Finance Manager

Tineke joined SS&L in March 2005 first as an Area Admin and Finance Officer and later as the Finance Manager. Prior to working for SS&L Tineke worked in various finance related roles in the industry/commercial sector and later for a national wildlife and environmental charity.

Steven Marshall MIS & Contracts Manager

Steven has been working in the Education & training sector for over 21 years, having started out as an Apprentice with SS&L (then Somerset County Training.) Steven has held a number of roles during this time, including: IT Technician, Management & Information Data Analysis Officer, MIS Team Leader and currently MIS & Contracts Manager.

Paul Harewood Business Support & Premises Manager

On leaving school at 16, Paul started an Apprenticeship in the motor trade where he trained as an auto electrician but also worked on commercial and industrial heating systems. The introduction of tachograph law allowed him the opportunity to move into a stock control, pricing and training role and following two years of evening classes, to gain a management qualification. Just over 30 years ago he joined SS&L as a tutor, gaining several teaching qualifications before progressing into various business support roles including Contracts, HR, Health & Safety, Premises and General Manager. Outside work Paul enjoys motorsport (and is a nine times national rally champion) and, as a recently qualified Yachtmaster, sailing and maintaining cruising yachts.

Kay Morgan Curriculum Manager

Kay began her 18 year career working in Adult Education by teaching vulnerable adults how to read. She joined SS&L in 1998 and spent a number of years teaching Computer Skills Courses within Community Education. Kay then became a Lead Tutor within the Business and IT sector in 2007 and spent nine years leading a variety of Community Learning and Accredited Business and IT courses. In January 2016, she was promoted to the role of Curriculum Manager for Community Partnerships, working with partners across the County to deliver community courses to disadvantaged learners from some of Somerset's most disadvantaged wards.

Wendy King

Wendy brings in excess of twenty years senior finance experience to SS&L, fifteen years of which was as Finance Director for Howard Tenens Ltd and Blooms of Bressingham plc. In 2015 Wendy joined the Gloucestershire College to implement the AAT higher apprenticeship programme and develop the ACCA courses. Wendy is a fully qualified accountant and a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.