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Board of Trustees Profiles

David Balme – Executive Director of Governance, Assurance and Risk, NCG
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Having worked in local government for almost 9 years David joined KPMG in 2001. During his time with KPMG he worked in the FE / HE assurance and advisory teams. In 2005 David joined the University of Sunderland holding a number of roles including Deputy Director of Planning & Finance, Director of the Business Assurance Service and Director of Continuous Improvement, Change and Compliance Service. In August 2018 David joined NCG where he has executive responsibility for Governance, Assurance, Risk, Information Governance and the HE registry.

Michelle Elliott, Vice Principal for Curriculum at University Centre Quayside

Michelle has worked in Education for over 20 years and worked with a range of Awarding Organisations including NOCN and One Awards. Michelle has had a variety of management roles within Further Education including 16-18, adults, pre-employment, apprenticeships and project development.

Michelle is currently Vice Principal for Curriculum at University Centre Quayside (UCQ), prior to this she was a member of SLT (Senior Leadership Team) for Stockton Riverside College as the Director of Business Development, her responsibilities have incorporated implementing strategy across her areas of responsibilities including apprenticeships and employer engagement. She is highly experienced in leading teams in curriculum planning and implementation.

Michelle has a full understanding of the requirements of the Board and commitments of Board members. As an experienced board member within FE settings, Michelle has participated in sub-committees including Quality and Standards, Finance and Employment along with other groups as required.

Andrew McHale, Operations Director, Positive Futures

Andrew has over 20 years' experience in the field of education and training. working across the public, private and third sector in various lecturing, training and management roles. He is passionate about education and the benefit that it can have, with a keen interest on the quality improvement of teaching, learning and assessment related to improved life outcomes.

Andrew has previously had responsibility for quality improvement within the Learning and Skills sector and the operational implementation of quality assurance frameworks, including regulatory compliance and workforce development with a specific focus on the development and implementation of CPD relating to improving standards.

Serving as a trustee with One Awards, Andrew contributes his knowledge, experience and commitment to education with regard to improving quality and educational management.

Jane Oswald, Assistant Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment, University of Sunderland

Jane has worked in education for over 20 years, with roles in both the higher education and further education sectors. She has a great deal of knowledge within the field of marketing, communication, advertising, events, social media, branding, public relations, design and digital marketing. This includes 14 years dealing with B2C, B2B, admissions and corporate marketing within education recruitment, along with experience in the field of sport (football, rugby and athletics), local councils and the leisure industry.

Jane is currently Assistant Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment at the University of Sunderland. Within this role she is responsible for providing strategic direction for all aspects of the University’s marketing and communications activity including the development of integrated marketing strategies, management of the University’s brand and implementing tactical campaigns to deliver student recruitment to target.


John Rees, Principal and Chief Executive, Calderdale College

Information to follow


Peter Wallwork, NOCN Trustee

Peter was until July 2020, the CEO for the Credit Services Association, having spent over 10 years in the role. He has nearly 40 years of experience within the banking, finance and debt collection industry, the last twenty in senior and board-level roles. He currently holds positions on the Money Advice Liaison Group Board and the Cabinet Office Debt and Fraud Information Sharing Review Board. He is Strategy, Governance and PR Adviser to Trustfolio Ltd, an insolvency software solutions provider. Past positions include Lending Standards Board and Federation of European Collections Associations. He is the NOCN Group Trustee on the One Awards Board. 

Les Woodward, Head of Client Services (North East and Scotland) at Home Group Limited

Les started his working career in 1980 as an Apprentice Electrician in the manufacturing sector. On completing his four year apprenticeship he gained the new position of Service Engineer working for a small local company maintaining bar and kitchen equipment.

In 1987 Les changed his career direction and commenced working in the Social Care sector initially as a Residential Social Worker and then after successfully achieving his professional social work qualification soon moved into management positions.

After a short period in managing his own leisure and retail business in 1998 he commenced working for Home Group in 1999. Whilst working for Home Group he has held several management positions and held his current senior management role for over 11 years.

Les currently has management responsibility for all Home Group Care & Support services and associated properties in the North East and Scotland. This includes providing care and support services to many vulnerable and disadvantaged client groups including learning disabilities, ex-offenders, mental health, young people, domestic violence and older people. Services provided include training and CQC registered services.

Over the past 14 years Les has kept to his Social Work roots through membership of several Fostering Panels.

Our EV is extremely supportive and ensures that individuals are kept up to date with knowledge re Assessment processes.

Christine Ritchie
Salvation Army - Swan Lodge