Our People

Meet the Board

Non-executive Director
Board

Lauren Aird

Non-executive Director
Board

Lauren joins the Board having worked alongside us for nearly 2 years in her role as a Future Voices Ambassador. She currently studying social sciences and will attend University in September to study Youth Work & Community Development. Lauren is keen to bring positive change for young people, such as raising awareness of pupil referral units and supporting young people who are living independently.

Non-executive Director
Board

Ruth Busby

Non-executive Director
Board

Ruth Busby, is the HR Director at Great Western Railway (GWR), leading the people agenda with a focus on engagement, kindness, inclusion and diversity, and health and wellbeing.  Ruth is involved in a number of industry wide activities including Rail Wellbeing Live and the Women in Rail and RIA Equality Diversity and Inclusion Charter.  She is also co-Chair of Women in Rail South.

Ruth joined GWR in March 2018, from the Atomic Weapons Establishment, and held leadership roles in Higher Education, and the Civil Service, where she started her career in policy development.  A qualified coach, Ruth has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in employee relations, inclusion and diversity, leading organisational change, policy and employee reward.

Non-executive Director
Board

Julia Cleverdon

Non-executive Director
Board

Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE is a lifetime campaigner who has worked tirelessly to promote opportunities for disadvantaged young people. As  Co-founder of the #iwill campaign, Vice Patron of Teach First and Vice President of Business in the Community, she encourages collaboration among senior leaders from business, government, education and the most disadvantaged communities to build a more robust and sustainable civil society.

Non-executive Director
Board

Jess Evans

Non-executive Director
Board

Jess is an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge, reading Psychology and Behavioural Sciences. She has worked with the National Citizen Service in various capacities since 2018 and is currently a member of their Youth Voice Forum, where she provides youth perspectives on company strategy and project design, most notably contributing to their employability service line and Kickstart packages. Alongside this, Jess volunteers as a mentor with several access initiatives at both a college and university level, to support pupils from underrepresented backgrounds through applying and adapting to higher education.

Non-executive Director
Board

George Greaves

Non-executive Director
Board

George joins us with a background in entrepreneurialism. He is dedicated to supporting personal development through mentoring. Having held a series of roles in education, training and skills development, he is now implementing strategies that are proven to create sustainable jobs and progress careers through mentoring-based networking, which has helped thousands access employment, apprenticeships, training and career opportunities. 

Non-executive Director
Board

Kris Murali

Non-executive Director
Board

Kris is an established senior leader with a breadth of financial, commercial and management experience spanning both the private sector and not-for-profit organisations. As Scouts Director of Finance and Resources he is responsible for the finance, HR, governance and legal teams. His oversight ensures appropriate financial control, people policies and governance so that Scouts can deliver its strategy to prepare more young people with skills for life.

Before Scouts, Kris served as Deputy CEO of the disability charity, Sense. He led the corporate support services including governance and the trading portfolio of 115 charity shops. He also served on the Board of Sense International, overseeing their operations in eight countries.

Kris has held Board positions in the UK and in the US, and is currently non-executive director at Youth Futures Foundation and Taekwondo Organisation Limited in the UK. He also serves as a Trustee at Sense Scotland and is on the finance committee of University of West London.

Non-executive Director
Board

Jenny North

Non-executive Director
Board

Jenny North is currently the Deputy CEO at Dartington Service Design Lab. Previously Director of Policy and Strategy at Impetus, she has also held positions at Relate, the Maternity Alliance, New Policy Institute and the Home Office.

Seyi Obakin OBE

Chair
Board

Seyi has been the CEO of Centrepoint, a charity focused on giving homeless young people a future, since 2009. He is passionate about ensuring young people, especially those who are on the margins, have the support they need to engage with education and training, and then get into, stay in, and thrive in employment. He was awarded an OBE for services to youth skills, employment, and homelessness in 2016.

Non-executive Director
Board

Laura-Jane Rawlings

Non-executive Director
Board

Laura-Jane Rawlings is the CEO of Youth Employment UK, the leading voice and expert on youth employment issues in the UK. Laura-Jane is a champion for youth employment and ensures the voices of young people are heard, providing insight and expertise to many groups such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Employment, she sits on two ESF National Sub-Committees; Employment, Skills and Social Inclusion and Equality and Diversity.

Non-executive Director
Board

Carla Rossini

Non-executive Director
Board

Carla Rossini is the Director of Global Operations at The Leading Edge Alliance, and a former Finance Director at Johnson Matthey Plc. She is passionate about collaboration between businesses and communities.

Non-executive Director
Board

Simon Woolley

Non-executive Director
Board

Lord Simon Woolley is a political and equalities activist. He is the Founder and Director of Operation Black Vote, the Chair of the Advisory Group to the Race Disparity Audit and is a former Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Simon was knighted in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to race equality. He was made a life peer in October 2019.

No team members match

Meet the Future Voices Group

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Subhan Ahmed

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Name
Subhan Ahmed

Age and location
18, Birmingham

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?
I was informed of the role through my participation in the Aspiring Youth Council. I feel passionate about equality and justice in all areas, not just employment. Being in post-16 education, I see the barriers we face. I believe that the FVG will enable us like-minded young ambassadors to identify why these barriers exist and how we can effectively tackle them.

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
I am currently studying for my A-levels. I hope to complete them in 2022 and go on to study PPE at university. I am also a West-Midlands Youth Police and Crime Commissioner representing Birmingham East; I advise the Police and Crime Commissioner on the issues young people face. I am a Young Food Ambassador, part of a nationwide network of young food ambassadors who champions Children’s Right2Food. As a member of the Aspiring Youth Council in Birmingham, I raise issues directly with decision makers and endeavour to reach solutions.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
At 17, I value greatly the roles and opportunities I have had. I hope to integrate my religious values of justice and empathy into these roles with a view to bettering others’ opportunities. The fact that the features we are born with, and the communities we are born into, often determine our lives, saddens me greatly. Organisations like Youth Futures give me hope that that these limitations can be dissolved for people like me.

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
With the support of the FVG, I would like to work with other ambassadors to identify the factors limiting employment. I wish to raise issue with decision makers and change the process of how people get jobs. The sysem needs to be fairer and accommodate all types of people.

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Lauren Aird

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group
Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Cindy Boa

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Name
Cindy Boa

Age and location
19, London

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?
Youth Futures is one of the most exciting organisations that I’ve come across. Its unique structure and approach to tackling youth unemployment appealed so much so that I knew I wanted to be a part of this movement to create lasting change for the generations of youth after me, using my voice to represent others with similar lived experiences to me.

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
I’m a Business Development and Strategy Consulting Intern at a healthcare consulting firm in my gap year. I’m also a Volunteer Vaccinator for the NHS, an entrepreneur and an incoming summer intern for Berenberg Bank. After my gap year, I’ll be studying at UCL.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
Being able to establish balance in my life!
As well as working to achieve goals that are unexpected of me.

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
Be a representative for South London teenagers/ESOL/British Black teenagers at tables where impactful change can be actioned.

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Annie Bocock

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Name
Annie Bocock

Age and location
23, Lincoln

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?
It should be far easier for young people to find meaningful, paid work.I dropped out of university and found that getting work despite your experience or education can be hard for young people. I was mentally vulnerable and working-class, two barriers which left me in NEET status. Nowadays, I’m in a minimum wage retail job, whilst I earn enough money to restart university. Alongside that I do an enormous amount of unpaid voluntary work.

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
I’m working in retail until September when hopefully I should be restarting university. Alongside this, I’m currently volunteering for a range of organisations.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
Returning to university is a high priority. Previously it was not a healthy environment for me, so choosing the university I attend and preparing to start again is really important.

Activism and volunteering are important to me. I feel like I’m evolving into the person I want to be and it’s really exciting. I’m having a lot of fun gaining new skills, meeting new people and learning new things.

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
I want to make tangible, measurable, inclusive and sustainable change. Helping the Youth Futures make decisions that would best impact young people’s chances of securing meaningful work, being an ambassador for the organisation and the issue of youth employment. I want to be able to use design-thinking to ideate new ways that we can make impact.

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Ed Chaplin

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Name
Ed Chaplin

Age and location
20, Solihull

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?
Research by The Institute of Leadership and Management found that nearly 50% of UK employers wouldn’t feel comfortable knowingly employing a neuro-divergent person. This, along with my own experience of trying to get an education as an autistic person, encouraged my passion for equal opportunities and diversity, something which I feel Youth Futures champions. I am very happy to be part of that.

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
I am currently NEET, but am looking to try college again in September. I enjoy volunteering and am hoping to get back to it when lockdown lifts.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
Trying to be kind and helping people is my priority. I am also very passionate about equality and my special interests which are baking, sewing, Dungeons & Dragons and cinema.

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
I would like to be involved in helping other autistic people have their voices heard on issues around unemployment rather than being spoken over by non-autistic people. I would also like to amplify voices from other groups who face barriers finding employment.

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Joel England

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Name
Joel England

Age and location
22, Bristol

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?
After going through school and college with lots of support and finding out about Youth Futures I wanted to be a part of something where I can help others that are struggling.

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
Part time working at Waitrose.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
Family, friends and work.

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
Helping Young people in many different ways and giving them confidence in their abilities.

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Roshan Sathy

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Name
Roshan Sathy

Age and location
24, Bromley

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?
I was prompted by the lack of diversity on my undergraduate course. Moreover, I am passionate about disability rights, particularly for visually impaired people. I hope to use the FVG platform to provide insights from someone who has a disability.

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
I am a MA PPE student at UCL. Prior to this, I studied for a BA Politics degree at the University of Nottingham. I volunteer for the British Tamil Forum, which is an organisation which aids victims of war crimes in Sri Lanka. I am also an aspiring corporate lawyer and I hope to pursue a legal career in the future.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
The most important thing to me is equality. I am motivated to make changes when I see blatant injustice. I hope to be a powerful voice and someone who actively rejects injustice

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
I want to empower people of colour who have disabilities. I want young people who have disabilities to feel that they are able to achieve, regardless of their socio-economic standing and disability.

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Plamena Marinova

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Name
Plamena Marinova

Age and location
18, Norfolk

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?
I first heard about the opportunity through a youth worker I often do youth voice work with. I wanted to join because the aim of the group really resonated with me as I have many friends (from various different backgrounds) with experience of youth unemployment like myself. I really wanted to see how I can help, and what can be done to improve the issue.

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
Currently I am doing my A-levels;
volunteering with Reuse Orbis, The Youth Advisory Board and the Diss Youth Town Council.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
In my life right now, the most important thing is my family and their health, as well as keeping open minded about new opportunities and finding a way to use every circumstance productively both in my studies and in other things I do.

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
I want to be a part of easing the lives of young people applying to work by making the process more accessible and understandable for them.

I want to try and help young people from diverse backgrounds and facing different challenges, who may usually struggle to get meaningful employment, to actually have a better chance.

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Alex Morawski

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Name
Alex Morawski

Age and location
23, Edinburgh.

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?
People’s backgrounds are too determinant of where they end up. Too many young people are unable to access high quality careers and opportunities which are meaningful to them. It’s something that we need to tackle collectively.

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
Right now, I’m working. I’ve managed to find a job since being unemployed after graduating. I’m looking to do some more volunteering once I’ve settled in.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
With the impact of lockdowns weighing on everyone so much, I really value any chance I get to go outside and into green space. I’m desperately trying to keep my plants alive indoors, but failing miserably. It’s important to find those things that keep your mood up.

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
The goal is to make sure young people’s needs and interests are taken into account by government, charities, employers, education providers and others. The FVG will contribute to embedding youth voice and to positively, systemically changing the culture and practice of these groups.

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Naomi Robinson

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Name
Naomi Robinson

Age and location
24, Tottenham

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?
I wanted to join the Futures Voices Group because I have so much to share about my experience of finding meaningful employment. Equally, I want to learn from others about their journey and finding employment where they can thrive. I believe that youth employment is a social issue with so many knock-on effects. I wanted to join an organisation that is committed to addressing this problem.

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
I graduated from the University of Manchester in 2018 with a degree in geography. Currently, I’m working at a leading technology consultancy as an analyst, initially starting on the Business and Technology Graduate scheme. My interests with technology lie within User and User Experience research.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
Right now, I’m focused on being intentional with everything that I am committing to, ensuring that I am bringing value to everything that I am doing and continually learning.

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
I want to shape how youth employment is viewed within society by bringing to light that some young people, especially from marginalised communities, face challenges to find or thrive in employment or training.

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Isha Shakir

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Name
Isha Shakir

Age and location
22, County Durham

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?

I am determined to remove the barriers preventing young people from obtaining meaningful employment, having overcome some of these barriers personally and been affected by the flaws in the educational system.

Attending a non-selective state school in County Durham, I was told multiple times by my teachers that I was not intelligent enough to go to university. Despite their advice, I studied law at the University of York and I achieved the highest academic score in all three years of study. Additionally, I faced significant racism from fellow students that was unaddressed by my teachers. I found this unacceptable and something that I am determined to change for future generations. I am excited to represent young people generally, as well as the Muslim community and the North East region.

If I had listened to the advice of my teachers, and didn't have the support I had from my family, I know I would be in a very different place and would not have had faith in myself to reach my full potential. I hope my story can empower young people to believe in themselves.

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
I am studying for a Bachelors of Civil Law at the University of Oxford. Prior to this, I graduated top of my year with a First Class degree in Law from the University of York. I volunteered for the Citizens Advice Bureau and was awarded the 'Exceptional Young Volunteer' award from Darlington Council.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
I am working hard to complete my legal studies to inspire more diverse people to embrace a career in law. I aim to become a barrister. My activism is also important to me; I enjoy addressing societal problems. For example, the Islamophobia I have experienced led me to deliver educational talks in schools.

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
I want to change the system, removing the barriers that all young people face when seeking meaningful employment. I am particularly passionate about addressing issues those from ethnic minority backgrounds face and pushing for more opportunities for young people in the North East.

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Max Spencer-Roe

Future Voices Ambassador
Future Voices Group

Name
Max Spencer-Roe

Age and location
20, Liverpool

What led you to be here today and prompted you to want to join the FVG?
I was working for the Widening Participation team in Health Education England when I was invited to a Youth Futures meeting. I couldn’t help but feel like everyone was speaking about me because of how relatable the issues were.

I wanted to join the group because of my experience with mental health. I want to break down barriers to meaningful employment for those who are struggling and created and inclusive environment across the nation."

What are you up to now? (eg. In work/study/looking for work/volunteering)
I currently work as a Clerical Officer at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Though I am in employment I am looking to change my career and I aim to become a recruitment consultant.

What is most important to you in your life right now?
Discovering who I am and what I want to do with my life is something I think about everyday, however I am enjoying the process. My friends and family are always very important to me as they pull me through the tough times and keep me motivated.

What sort of changes do you want to be involved in making as part of the FVG?
I want to change employers’ negative views of young people and get rid of stereotypes. I believe education is important, however I think employers should look at a person’s values and attributes as a priority.

No team members match

Meet the Youth Reference Group

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Caroline Appleton

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  25
Location: Loughborough, East Midlands
Occupation: PhD researcher

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
To learn new skills and to support the work of some great charities.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
Discussing how to make research findings interesting and accessible to young people

Youth Reference Group Member
Youth Reference Group

Josh Campbell

Youth Reference Group Member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  24
Location: Sunderland
Occupation: Trainee Solicitor

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
I saw this as an opportunity to share my experiences for the benefit of organisations who support young people gain employment. I have spent long periods unemployed and have had countless job rejections, so hopefully my insight can be useful.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
Sharing meaningful ideas with my colleagues who I would not have got to meet had I not been a member!

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Louise Chandler

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  19
Location: Buckinghamshire
Occupation: I have currently been on a gap year where I have been volunteering as a youth colleague at Barnardo’s and sat on the Youth Voice Steering Group at the British Youth Council. In September, I am going to be studying Education Studies at Buckinghamshire New University. 

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
Being a part of the Youth Reference Group (YRG) will allow me to shape the direction of the evaluation process of the Inspiring Futures Programme, whilst allowing me to develop industry-specific skills such as digital, research and evaluation. I am excited to gain invaluable experience and broaden my knowledge in this field, to transition into a policy orientated role in the future.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
I had a limited understanding of evaluation before sitting on the advisory board, the YRG introduced me to how evaluation operates in practice. We brainstormed ideas on how to improve a variety of research questions that could be addressed. This narrowed our focus and gave us a better understanding of what research approach to take. Some methods included interviews and creating videos to explore the contribution made by the programme. I am excited for the future and keen to conclude whether young people were supported during the pandemic.

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Katie Douglas

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  19
Location: Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
Occupation: I go to tech and I’m studying to get my Maths and English essentials skills

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
I joined the reference group because I think I would help disabled young people to get their thoughts and opinions across. As I have experienced bad moments living with a physical disability.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
My highlight has been getting to know everyone and being part of the team.

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Nyasha Duri

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Occupation: Contractor - varied roles mainly within civic and big tech, Founder of Your Career Site, Writer, Creative, Trustee, Non-Executive Director

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
I joined the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group because I believe in doing as much as we can to make things better for our generation and the next with effective solutions to challenges. I love the respective missions of the Youth Futures Foundation and BBC Children in Need, plus their shared goal with Inspiring Futures to support young people to achieve their potential on their journey towards employment. I care about this because I have seen several others seriously affected, and experienced myself how difficult the job market often is. This is an unparalleled opportunity for important change ensuring all can thrive no matter their background.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
A highlight of being on the YRG so far has been being inspired by getting to dive into everything further: whether through engaging discussions with insightful fellow members on which actions move the needle, excellent facilitation thanks to experts from Cordis Bright + beyond, learning about Monitoring & Evaluation and more.

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Anisha Rahman

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  20
Location: London
Occupation: Student studying History, Politics and Economics BA at UCL

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
Being a part of the Youth Reference Group (YRG) will allow me to shape the direction of the evaluation process of the Inspiring Futures Programme, whilst allowing me to develop industry-specific skills such as digital, research and evaluation. I am excited to gain invaluable experience and broaden my knowledge in this field, to transition into a policy orientated role in the future.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
I had a limited understanding of evaluation before sitting on the advisory board, the YRG introduced me to how evaluation operates in practice. We brainstormed ideas on how to improve a variety of research questions that could be addressed. This narrowed our focus and gave us a better understanding of what research approach to take. Some methods included interviews and creating videos to explore the contribution made by the programme. I am excited for the future and keen to conclude whether young people were supported during the pandemic.

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Fahmida Yasmin

Youth Reference Group member
Youth Reference Group

Age:  22
Location: Kent
Occupation: Third year student in the study of society and the communities which inhabit them

Why did you join the Inspiring Futures Youth Reference Group?
I initially joined the Future Youths Reference Group in hopes to gain an insight on what issues currently exist surrounding youth employment and to understand what is being done to better the situation of those affected.

What has been your highlight of being on the YRG so far?
Meeting everyone else in the group and hearing their perspectives based on personal experiences and opinions has definitely been the highlight of this opportunity! I thoroughly enjoy the group discussions. This is because I leave each of our sessions with a new outlook and in turn this role has had a positive impact on the way I engage with the material within my degree.

No team members match

Meet the Team

Directorate:
Director of Finance and Resources
Operations

Felix Adenaike

Director of Finance and Resources
Operations

Felix has worked in a variety of roles in the further education sector. He has been responsible for financial management, planning, audit and the wider corporate services. Felix has been involved in new business start-ups in the education and commercial sectors. He is passionate about lifelong learning.

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Matthew Armstrong

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Matthew supports the delivery of our Impact and Development grant programme. He has almost 10 years of working in the grant making environment working with people and communities to overcome challenges and realise their aspirations. Prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation he worked as a Grants & Awards Manager at the British Heart Foundation, and the National Lottery Community Fund in a number of roles across the grant lifecycle.

Analysis Manager
Impact and Evidence

Andrea Barry

Analysis Manager
Impact and Evidence

Andrea is an enthusiastic analyst, interested in improving data infrastructure on underserved communities. Before this, Andrea was a Senior Analyst at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. She has finished a PhD in Economics at the University of York.

In July 2020, Andrea gave evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee on the unequal impact of coronavirus on ethnic minorities. Andrea has also appeared on EuroNews, Bloomberg Radio, and in print to discuss issues related to employment and groups.

CEO (interim)
CEO Office

Patricia Chale

CEO (interim)
CEO Office

Patricia is responsible for delivering the next phase of delivery at Youth Futures.  

Patricia’s career spans 25 years in senior management and Board level director roles. This involves working for and supporting a wide range of national and international organisations including the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), Greenpeace International, the UK Cyber Security Council, the Lumos Foundation (founded by JK Rowling), the BBC, Save the Children and many more.  

Head of Evidence and Evaluation
Impact and Evidence

Jane Colechin

Head of Evidence and Evaluation
Impact and Evidence

Dr Jane Colechin is a social researcher with a decade of experience working on high profile labour market, education and welfare reform evaluations and studies. Jane has particular expertise in theory-led evaluations and ensuring co-design is part of evaluation and programme delivery and ensures that rigorous and youth-informed principles are used in all of YFF’s evaluation and evidence processes.

Head of Strategy and Partnerships
Strategy and Innovation

Anna Darnell

Head of Strategy and Partnerships
Strategy and Innovation

Anna shapes and delivers our organisational strategy by leading our stakeholder management and connecting insights to find solutions to drive systemic change. Key to this is developing our relationships with youth and youth employment organisations, public bodies, Government departments and employers. Anna is also driving forward Youth Voice, ensuring young people are at the heart of everything we do. Prior to Youth Futures, Anna worked in youth policy for central government, as well as in a range of frontline, policy and research roles in the charity and voluntary sector. Anna has been involved in youth and community initiatives from a young age, and outside of work she volunteers to support children and young people.

Relationship Manager
Grants and Investment

Michael Duncombe

Relationship Manager
Grants and Investment

Michael is a Relationship Manager for the Connected Futures Fund supporting the local partnerships Connected Futures are investing in to tackle some of the wider systemic issues young people face within youth employment services.

Prior to joining Youth Futures Michael worked for a G15 housing association project managing a plethora of social and economic investment projects aimed at improving the lives of local people in the Hackney and Barnet boroughs of London.

Senior Participation Officer
Strategy and Innovation

Talia Dundoo

Senior Participation Officer
Strategy and Innovation

Talia joined the Research team earlier this year where she worked on ensuring that the voices and interests of young people affected by inequality and discrimination in employment were well represented in research.

She has now moved over to the Strategy team as Senior Participation Officer, working on meaningful youth participation across Youth Futures Foundation.

Prior to joining YFF, Talia worked for a youth democratic engagement organisation and completed a Masters in Race, Media and Social Justice.

Chief Operating Officer
Operations

James Endean

Chief Operating Officer
Operations

James was one of the initial team working with our Chair, Joe Montgomery, creating Youth Futures Foundation's governance, operational systems and policies, and leading the preparation work for Youth Futures to pass its “strategic & operational readiness” assessment by DCMS and the National Lottery Community Fund. James is now responsible for Finance, IT, Legal and HR functions, supports the CEO and the Board on governance matters and is responsible for the operation of the Board’s Audit, Finance & Investment and Organisational Development committees. James has a background in company and business unit start-ups, building on his general management and finance experience at Unilever.

Policy and Public Affairs Officer
Strategy and Innovation

Angel Fletcher

Policy and Public Affairs Officer
Strategy and Innovation

Angel is a Policy and Public Affairs Officer who is passionate about widening access and equal opportunity. She supports the delivery of our policy strategy and works with other youth employment organisations and young people to champion breaking down barriers to education, training and work. Before joining Youth Futures Foundation, Angel supported policy, research and communications at the Sutton Trust, most notably in collecting data for the Social Mobility Commission’s Elitist Britain 2019 report and leading on social media campaigns. Most recently, she supported young people from low- and middle-income backgrounds to explore American higher education at the US-UK Fulbright Commission. Breaking down the barriers marginalised young people face accessing education, training and employment is a matter close to Angel’s heart. Outside of work, she loves musical theatre and mentoring.

Head of Grants
Grants and Investment

Gillian French

Head of Grants
Grants and Investment

Gillian sits within our Grants & Investment team and leads the development and improvement of our grant making processes and systems. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience having managed UK wide grant programmes throughout her career in the charity sector, working with the Prince’s Trust, The Wildlife Trusts and more recently CITB. Outside of the office, Gillian enjoys learning piano and long walks with her family in the countryside.

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Aron Fulton

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Aron supports our grant holders with the delivery of their grants, enabling them to deliver high quality, impactful projects. He manages a varied portfolio of grant holders, with a particular focus on the Infrastructure programme. Aron began his career in Accounting and Finance, before moving to grant making with Leeds Community Foundation.

Connected Futures Lead
Grants and Investment

Dan Jones

Connected Futures Lead
Grants and Investment

Dan Jones leads Connected Futures, Youth Futures’ place-based programme aiming at whole system change. Prior to joining Youth Futures, he established the Centre for Ageing Better’s first programmes, including place-based approaches to employment in Greater Manchester and community transport in Leeds. He has a long track record in innovation and systems change in the UK and internationally.

Director of Impact and Evidence
Impact and Evidence

Chris Goulden

Director of Impact and Evidence
Impact and Evidence

Chris leads our Impact and Evidence team. Previously he was Deputy Director of Evidence and Impact at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, where he has worked as Head and Deputy Director of Policy and Research, since joining the organisation as Poverty Programme Manager in 2003. He previously served as a policy analyst with the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and Senior Research Officer at the Home Office. He was a member of the Social Security Advisory Committee for 10 years from 2012-22.

Relationships Manager (Connected Futures)
Grants and Investment

Megan Haskell

Relationships Manager (Connected Futures)
Grants and Investment

Megan is a Relationship Manager for the Connected Futures Fund, she supports partnerships that Youth Futures is investing in to address the need for structural change in youth employment services.

Before joining Youth Futures, Megan worked in local government specialising in employment and skills. Her roles included project and relationship management on various employment initiatives in Birmingham, both city wide and at a neighbourhood level. Most recently she worked on delivery of a large scale European Social Fund/Youth Employment Initiative project in Birmingham and Solihull.

Finance Officer Apprentice
Operations

Charlie Howard

Finance Officer Apprentice
Operations

Charlie is involved in the operations and every day running of the business to help support with the processing of transactions in the company to ensure that we meet our financial obligations as a charity. He helps support the management of accurate data including the grants sector to ensure that we are in-line with our predictions mentioned in our business plan and are on track with the budgets set out each year. Charlie is also involved in a steering group with partnerships for young London – supporting many aspects of careleavers – including employment.

Strategy Manager
Strategy and Innovation

Ryan Howsham

Strategy Manager
Strategy and Innovation

Ryan supports the development and delivery of our organisational strategy to transform youth employment and is responsible for turning complex information into meaningful options to achieve systemic change. Ryan previously worked in local government, most recently focusing on developing approaches to deliver sustainable economic growth in Greater Cambridge, including responding to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Evidence and Evaluation Manager
Impact and Evidence

Vera Stiefler Johnson

Evidence and Evaluation Manager
Impact and Evidence

Vera Stiefler Johnson has experience in designing and implementing research and evaluation projects in social service settings across the United States and England. Prior to joining YFF, she worked in the Research & Evaluation Center at Children’s Institute in Los Angeles, managing research and evaluation projects for mental and behavioural health interventions, family support services, early childhood services, and community innovation programmes. She is interested in participatory study design; data synthesis and visualisation; and linking theory, research, and practice towards the goal of improved design and delivery of social services and policies.

Evidence and Evaluation Manager
Impact and Evidence

Alice Kedge

Evidence and Evaluation Manager
Impact and Evidence

Rosie's role and interests:

  • Particularly interested in the dissemination and implementation of learning, why I work in evaluation
  • Managing a portfolio of evaluations across multiple workstreams at YFF (not sure if you call them workstreams but like Infrastructure, WW and CF)
  • I have worked in the charity sector for the majority of my career and before that, education
  • Outside of work, I like reading and listening to music (pretty standard) and rewatching Friends & Modern Family – feel like my knowledge of these things must be close to unmatched but not sure I want that challenged!
Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Danielle Keeling

Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Danielle is a Grants Officer here at Youth Futures, responsible for supporting the delivery of our What Works and Connected Futures Programmes. Danielle is also a staff champion for our Future Voices Invest Sub-Group, and a member of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Danielle has a background in business development and finance having spent three years at one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, Ernst & Young (EY). Danielle is extremely passionate about supporting young people to develop key skills and transition into meaningful employment and has worked and/or volunteered with a number of frontline delivery organisations such as: The EY Foundation, The National Citizens Service, Princes Trust, Childreach International, The Chartered Management Institute, The Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise and more.

Executive Assistant
CEO Office

Charlotte Kelsall

Executive Assistant
CEO Office

Charlotte is Executive Assistant to the Anna Smee (CEO) and Joe Montgomery (Chair) and has been in the role since August 2020. Charlotte’s main role is to provide effective business support to the Board, CEO and Senior Leadership Team. Charlotte has 10 years EA/PA experience, working mainly within the public sector and Higher Education. Charlotte is passionate about Youth Future’s vision, her career as an Executive Assistant, and her role as a PA Mentor, coach and networker. Charlotte cycles in the Yorkshire dales in her spare time, enjoys cooking and loves listening to music.

Head of Marketing and Communications
Strategy and Innovation

Helen Knox

Head of Marketing and Communications
Strategy and Innovation

Helen leads the creation and delivery of our marketing and communications strategy to grow our organisational influence and impact. Previously, Helen worked at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority as Head of Marketing. Her recent work includes coordinating the #4sparks campaign to attract Channel 4’s National HQ to Leeds, and marketing FutureGoals, the region’s flagship careers inspiration and support initiative.

Senior Evidence and Evaluation Officer
Impact and Evidence

Amanda Mackey

Senior Evidence and Evaluation Officer
Impact and Evidence

Dr Amanda Mackey is an evaluation researcher with experience in qualitative and mixed-methods research. She has particular interest in questionnaire design and focus groups. Prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation, she worked with STEM Learning on evaluating the STEM Ambassadors programme, and with Family Fund, a charity that supports families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. Her doctoral work focused on evaluating the goals and milestones of gender equality in English cathedral choirs. Outside of work, Amanda is a hospital volunteer with the Royal Voluntary Service, and a roller derby on-skates referee.

Team Coordinator
Impact and Evidence

Tony Maher

Team Coordinator
Impact and Evidence

Tony has a background in data and systems management in charity and international development contexts. He supports the delivery of our Evaluation and Research grants and coordinates the Impact and Evidence Team.  He also has an interest in collecting punk vinyl and likes to think his record collection is unparelled.

Partnerships Manager
Strategy and Innovation

Annum Mahmood

Partnerships Manager
Strategy and Innovation

Annum is a Partnerships Manager with an interest in stakeholder engagement and collaboration. Annum supports the delivery of our Youth Futures Foundation Strategy with a particular focus on developing relationships with youth employment organisations, public bodies, employers, Government departments and young people. Prior to joining the Youth Futures Foundation, Annum worked on key initiatives such as Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps helping to shape and deliver programmes, projects and partnerships. Annum has a passion for breaking down barriers that exist in marginalised young people accessing educational and employment opportunities and outside of work actively volunteers for local charities and community organisations.

Company Secretary
Operations

Moira Malcolm

Company Secretary
Operations

Moira joined YFF in October 2021 and has oversight of our governance and legal functions.

Moira has a background in law and international law and has spent her career in the charity sector.  Her focus, for the last 15 years, has been on charity governance.  Moira has worked with a variety of domestic and international charities at a senior level.  Many of these roles have extended beyond governance and her experience includes responsibility for legal and compliance functions.

Director of Engagement (Interim)
Strategy and Innovation

Harriet McCann

Director of Engagement (Interim)
Strategy and Innovation

Harriet leads our policy strategy and works in coalition with other youth employment organisations to champion evidence-based policies to drive systemic change. Previously, she was Head of Policy and Local Campaigns at the National Literacy Trust and also taught History in two secondary schools in Birmingham.

Head of People
Operations

Lisa Metcalf

Head of People
Operations

Lisa is our Head of People, who’s role is to shape and lead Youth Futures Foundation people agenda and culture by ensuring systems, processes, people and business operations are in place to enable the organisation to deliver its strategy.

A CIPD Level 7 HR professional with over 20 years progressive experience of working in both operational and strategic roles across a range of sectors, but predominantly within the not-for-profit sector. Lisa joined Youth Futures Foundation from a community and adult education charity based in Leeds and has run her own HR consultancy company since 2012.

In her spare time Lisa is the Chair of Governors at a Leeds based inner-city primary school and has a passion to ensure that children have access to high-quality learning to secure an adult future that is wholesome, positive, and rewarding.

Evidence and Evaluation Manager
Impact and Evidence

Hannah Murphy

Evidence and Evaluation Manager
Impact and Evidence

Hannah manages evaluations of our funded programmes to provide evidence of effective approaches to support young people into meaningful work. She is a social researcher with experience in theory-led evaluation and participatory approaches. Prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation, Hannah was a Research Manager at Learning and Work Institute where she conducted research and evaluation projects spanning labour market, welfare reform and skills policy.

Head of Grants
Grants and Investment

Lekan Ojumu

Head of Grants
Grants and Investment

Lekan oversees the delivery of our ‘What Works’ grant programmes. His career, prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation, includes experience within a leading social investment fund, grant giving with a focus on young people and capacity building support. In his spare time Lekan has held charity Board positions and is currently involved as a trustee for a local youth focused organisation based in London.

Business Support Executive
Operations

Charlene Orr

Business Support Executive
Operations

Charlene is working as the Business Support Executive, providing operational support to the whole Youth Futures Foundation Team. Prior to this, she worked in the charity and non-profit sector and has experience in office management, executive support and human resources. Outside of work, Charlene practices music and art and volunteers at a local church.

Director of Grants and Investments
Grants and Investment

Matthew Poole

Director of Grants and Investments
Grants and Investment

Matthew leads the development and delivery of our grant making programmes. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise having built his career on working with people and communities with the National Lottery Community Fund and establishing Talent Match. Outside of the office, Matthew is committed to supporting and coaching young people and is heavily involved with local youth work in the West Midlands.

Senior Evidence and Evaluation Officer
Impact and Evidence

Emily Preston-Jones

Senior Evidence and Evaluation Officer
Impact and Evidence

Emily sits within the Impact and Evidence team, managing evaluations of our funded projects and examining what works to support young people into employment. She is driven by the goal of equal opportunity and is especially interested in what keeps young people in meaningful work, ensuring that workplaces are inclusive for all. Emily has a wide range of research and evaluation experience, from working with food redistribution charities through to people living with Dementia, she gravitates towards projects that have a positive impact on society.

Relationships Manager
Grants and Investment

Louise Rands

Relationships Manager
Grants and Investment

Louise supports the development and delivery of Youth Futures Foundation’s grant making programmes. She has been working within the not-for-profit sector in Birmingham for almost 10 years, most recently working at a local infrastructure organisation. Her roles included contract and strategic relationship management for various programmes including a £6million Ageing Better programme and a strategic support and development programme for civil society organisations in Birmingham.

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Andy Richardson

Senior Grants Officer
Grants and Investment

Andy is a Senior Grants Officer, supporting the delivery of Youth Futures’ Impact and Development grant programme. With a background in commercial and corporate banking followed by 14 years’ experience of providing and managing grants and loans in the VCSE sector, he joins us from the Architectural Heritage Fund where he headed up its social investment team for 10 years. Away from work, he enjoys creative writing, reading Russian literature, and waiting for Grimsby Town Football Club to start winning again.

Team Coordinator
Grants and Investment / Strategy and Innovation

Rosie Richter

Team Coordinator
Grants and Investment / Strategy and Innovation

Rosie is a team coordinator working across both the Grants and Strategy & Innovation Teams. She has over 14 years of youth work experience in a variety of settings and holds a BA(Hons) and Postgraduate Diploma in Youth and Community Work. Alongside working at Youth Futures Foundation she leads youth sessions and holds positions as a Council Member for the Institute of Youth Work, a Trustee for The Door Youth Project, and is part of the steering group for In Defence of Youth Work.  Prior to YFF, Rosie spent a year elected as Students’ Union President at Newman University, Birmingham.

Head of Research and Impact
Impact and Evidence

Anna Round

Head of Research and Impact
Impact and Evidence

Anna Round is Head of Research and Impact at the Youth Futures Foundation. Her research experience includes extensive work on education and skills, regional labour markets and economies, and young people’s issues. Before joining YFF she worked at IPPR North, after over a decade as a researcher in higher education and in government.

Finance and IT Manager
Operations

Ravinder Sangha

Finance and IT Manager
Operations

Ravinder is our Finance & IT Manager, with over 20 years’ experience at Senior Manager level in Finance, covering all aspects of Finance functions.  Previously working in the Public/Third Sector, having worked for Charities, Social Landlord(s), and Local Authority.  Ravinder has implemented various systems, and processes to enable the delivery of rewarding work undertaken by frontline staff and partners, in the easiest and most efficient way.  Ravinder is also a Trustee of a small local Youth & Community centre.

Marketing and Communications Executive
Strategy and Innovation

Reena Staves

Marketing and Communications Executive
Strategy and Innovation

Reena is a communications creative with an interest in developing accessible content. She supports the delivery of our marketing and communications strategy. Prior to joining Youth Futures Foundation, Reena worked to influence mental health policy, welfare support and wellbeing initiatives in Scotland and England; as part of the Scottish Government’s flagship campaign ‘Think Positive’, and as Sheffield Students’ Union’s Welfare Officer. She also has an interest in audio production and has an unmatched knowledge of Desert Island Discs.

Media and Communications Manager
Strategy and Innovation

Jodie Tipper

Media and Communications Manager
Strategy and Innovation

Jodie is the Media and Communications Manager at Youth Futures Foundation. In her role, Jodie is responsible for increasing awareness for Youth Futures, and its work, through a communications strategy and media relations.

Before joining Youth Futures, Jodie worked at a Birmingham-based PR agency, where she led on both strategy and delivery for clients across industries including arts and culture, hospitality and organisations in the third sector.

In her spare time Jodie volunteers for Let’s Feed Brum, supporting at its Monday night soup kitchen, and assisting with social media and marketing. She also volunteers as a mentor to students and graduates at Birmingham City University.

Senior Analysis Officer
Impact and Evidence

Zach Wilson

Senior Analysis Officer
Impact and Evidence

Zach is an analyst, who is passionate about bettering the employment outcomes for marginalised youth. In conjunction with his role at YFF, he is completing a PhD in Economics at the University of Birmingham.

Zach has been involved in labour market research, both in the economics and commercial sectors.

No team members match
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