The Fair Train Team

(For more information about an individual, click on the relevant photo)

Rod Natkiel

Chief Executive

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Kathryn Baddeley

Special Advisor: 

Digital Sector Workforce Development

Trustee

Steve Nicola

Special Advisor:

Social and Economic Regeneration

Trustee

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Ann Shackleton

Business Development Manager

Richard Freeman

Special Advisor:

Workforce & Skills Development

Trustee

Julia Teale

Special Advisor:

Strategic Business Development

Trustee

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Paul Parker

Project Manager and

Communications Executive

Jodie McNally

Special Advisor: 

Youth Development

Trustee

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Pauline Stewart

Special Advisor: 

Organisational Strategic Development

Trustee

Don Hayes MBE

Special Advisor:

Voluntary & Community Sector

Trustee (Chair of Board)

Elaine Morgan

Special Advisor: 

HR

Trustee

Rachel Onikosi

Special Advisor: 

Policy

Trustee

Jack Parsons

Special Advisor:

Digital Communications & Marketing

Trustee

John Evatt

Head of IT

John Higgins

Financial Controller

 
ROD NATKIEL   Chief Executive
Rod joined Fair Train as CEO in September 2016. Alongside his career in broadcasting, event creation/management and corporate media and theatre production, which includes leading BBC Birmingham’s network television and radio operation to one of the most successful periods in its history, he has been actively involved in the voluntary sector for more than 20 years. This has been as a volunteer and as a professional practitioner. Examples of his work include creating and leading personal development programmes for the Prince’s Trust, a pioneering 'entry into the broadcasting industry' training programme for members of the British Asian community, 250 fundraising films and videos and almost 100 charity events. He has been a Trustee of Variety, the Children’s Charity, since 1995, Co-Chaired its Strategy and Governance Committee and was its Chair of Marketing, Communications and Media for six years, during which he led the organisation's modernising re-branding. Rod also works as a consultant in marketing and brand development/management: he was brand manager for Top Gear for seven years. He also writes professionally. Rod was awarded a BA Hons. Drama by the University of Bristol and an MBA with Distinction by Birmingham University’s Business School.

Most memorable Work Experience:

As a lowly university drama student, helping the world-famous Sam Wanamaker push rain water off the tent roof with brooms so that night’s performance of "Hamlet" could go ahead in the first ever season of the Globe Theatre (Sam’s lifelong dream) … sometimes standing on his shoulders to do so … and realising just what an opportunity I was getting from this internationally acclaimed director, actor and entrepreneur who had risked me being his work experience assistant for the summer. Sam was inspirational and I owe him so much. Very sadly, he didn't live to see his dream come to full fruition in today's Shakespeare's Globe.
 
ANN SHACKLETON   Business Development Manager

Ann joined Fair Train as its Business Development Manager in July 2019 and is based in the North West. She’s worked in the Voluntary and Community Sector since 2000, most recently with Volunteering Matters where she enabled companies of all sizes to offer meaningful volunteering opportunities to their staff as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility commitment. This included many projects where employees gave their time to help young people improve their employability skills.

Ann’s previous roles have included giving funding and governance advice to community groups and training and event management. In her spare time, Ann is a volunteer with Girlguiding, supporting 14-18 year olds with their Duke of Edinburgh award, and also fundraises for her local Mountain Rescue team.

Most memorable Work Experience:

In sixth form, some questionable admin. meant that no-one was expecting me when I arrived at the primary school where I was supposed to be doing work experience. After being restricted to the staff room for almost the whole of the first day, I was finally allocated to the reception class: it was their first week of school ever! I was given responsibility for mixing paint and helping the 4 year olds use the toilet. The experience was very valuable in a way, as it made me realise that primary education was not for me. Thankfully times have changed, so a 17 year old should not be put in that situation today, and I am extremely glad to be able to promote high quality work experience placements.
 
PAUL PARKER   Project Manager and Communications Executive

Paul joined Fair Train in November 2018 as its Project Manager and Communications Executive. He had previously been involved with Fair Train in a freelance capacity, firstly to help produce the organisation’s website video in 2017, then re-building its website and then managing its social media campaign for Work Experience Month 2018.

 

Paul used a gap year after his A-Levels to try both office and retail work. With the realisation that neither of these were for him, he discovered a media production foundation degree course at South Staffordshire College that was hands-on and vocational, with students able to gain real, client-focused work experience through its in-house production company. In 2012, Paul topped this up to a full BSc degree in Film and TV Production Technology and Management at Staffordshire University and graduated with 1st Class honours.

 

After graduating, Paul worked as a freelancer on a wide range of projects in the media, website creation, theatre and events industries, in both creative and project-management roles, for organisations large and small in the public, private and Third sectors. Projects for charities featured prominently in this work, from those for large organisations including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Variety, the Children’s Charity, to those for niche ones like Millfield Foundation and for small ones and start-ups. His engagement with Fair Train was Paul’s first experience in the employability sector. He has found it fascinating and, work experience having been so valuable to him, is passionate about promoting its availability at high quality as widely as possible.

Most memorable Work Experience:

Definitely my year 10 Work Experience placement. It was arranged by my school and was in a government department: think ‘The Office’ without any comedy…it was tediously dull!. At the time, it made me realise that an office 9-5 job was NOT what I wanted for a career, or any “conventional” job for that matter, and I wanted something creative - which I found in the media industry. Funnily enough, I have now gone full circle and have a largely office-based, 9-5 (sort of) job, but this one is really interesting!
 
DON HAYES MBE   Special Advisor: Voluntary & Community Sector and Trustee
Don is passionate about the difference that good quality work experience can make to young people and unemployed adults, having worked with a range of different groups over many years.

Don was formerly Chief Executive of Enable, the Voluntary and Community Sector Learning and Skills Consortium covering the East Midlands, from its formation in 2003. Enable brings voluntary and community sector organisations together to deliver government funded learning and skills programmes.

Prior to this, Don was Chief Executive of a leading not-for-profit training provider, delivering work-based learning. He was awarded an MBE in 2002 for services to the unemployed. Don is Chair of the Third Sector National Learning Alliance (TSNLA) and a Trustee of the Education and Training Foundation.
 
KATHRYN BADDELEY   Special Advisor: Digital Sector Workforce Development
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Kathryn is the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Cisco UK & Ireland, leading and enabling innovative CSR initiatives across the organisation, engaging employees, benefiting the business and supporting Cisco’s not for profit partners. 

Kathryn joined Cisco in 1997 and, prior to her current role, led marketing teams in Australia and the UK - as well as leading the global web team. Kathryn started working in CSR in 1999, winning the Australian Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships in 2001. She created the first work experience programme at Cisco (now Fair Train Gold accredited) in 2014, engaging and inspiring more than 1,000 students to date. This, together with other CSR programmes, helps to attract and retain the talent Cisco needs to make it a great place to work.

Kathryn is vice-Chair of the board of trustees of Berkshire Women’s Aid and is a trained mental health first aider.

Most memorable Work Experience:

My work experience, aged 15, was in a building society - printing, folding and sending out foreclosure notices on mortgages (it was during the miners' strike)!? That experience has never left me and drives me to make sure programmes we develop inspire young people and hopefully raise their aspirations – regardless of where they plan to go next.

 
RICHARD FREEMAN   Special Advisor: Workforce & Skills Development and Trustee

Richard is CEO of always possible, a strategic consultancy that helps individuals, organisations and networks make better decisions. He has extensive experience in designing formal and informal education, project design, training, leadership development, community engagement and strategic planning for education, creative business and the third sector. Richard is widely connected within UK business and education networks, managing six sector skills taskgroups in Sussex, and regularly speaks on national platforms about workforce development, policy, innovation, funding and best practice.

 

Richard sits on the Brighton & Hove Business Support Action Group, is a mentor for the Brighton Social Enterprise Network and the Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the Brighton Cultural Framework Steering Group.

Richard is also a Director of The Bexhill Hive CIC, an Associate at the Education & Training Foundation; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute; a primary school governor and Lead Projects Consultant with the Sussex Council of Training Providers.

Most memorable Work Experience:

It wasn't until my third day of work experience, painting sets in a Brighton fringe theatre venue in the mid ‘90s, that I actually figured out how I was *supposed* to behave. 

 

In my ramshackle induction, I was introduced to the key players, shown where the kettle was and what jobs I was likely to be doing. But no-one told me who I was supposed to be. Was I allowed to be me, or did I have to be 'work me' (whatever that was)? Could I tell jokes? Did I have to interpret what people said, or did they actually mean it? If I made a mistake, should I cover it up, fix it, or should I let someone know? I know what they told me to do, but what do they actually expect me to do?

 

Being emotionally intelligent at 15 is not easy - and for many it is not easy at any age - but that, for me, is the point of work experience. If every workplace is full of unwritten codes, political negotiations and the need to attune with others, then we need to start to understand this early; without practice we are likely to fall harder when the stakes are higher. Good work experience opens a little window into adult behaviours at their best and not-so-best. Work experience is about asking questions and observing, testing your own abilities and feeling your way. Tiny nuggets of praise or validation go a very long way.

 

What at first might be baffling, after a few days starts to make sense and, for young people, the penny dropping might be a significant one. "Oh!", I exclaimed to myself one afternoon, my hands covered in white emulsion. "These guys are more interested in whether I show up, try hard, learn quickly and join in than whether I am a master craftsman”. 

 

That Brighton fringe theatre venue was an epiphany. After that, I could try anything.

 
JODIE MCNALLY   Special Advisor: Youth Development and Trustee
Jodie is a huge advocate for work experience and the positive effects it can have on a person’s life.
 
For the past 13 years Jodie has worked in various organisations but most recently at EY Foundation, focusing on developing high quality work experience programmes that provide benefits for both young people and the businesses involved.

Jodie believes that for people wanting to enter the labour market, work experience can provide an amazing opportunity to develop their employability skills as well as contextualise any learning that has taken place in a classroom or alternative setting. Jodie has also taken part in a lot of work experience over the years, from working with children to completing internships at a range of lifestyle magazines.

Most memorable Work Experience:

My first experience was in a bakery whilst in high school, which led to a nice little Saturday job and a love for cake that continues to this day!

ELAINE MORGAN   Special Advisor: HR and Trustee
 
There are a myriad of reasons why work experience and employability skills are more important than ever.  In summary for me evidence shows that the best way to develop these skills is through work experience which is a key introduction to the world of work.
Work Experience gives young people the opportunity to learn first-hand from employers about work, through work by learning about industry and employment skills that are valued in the workplace, such as communication skills, teamwork, commercial awareness and other skills that cannot easily be taught in the classroom.
 
STEVE NICOLA      Special Advisor: Social and Economic Regeneration
Steve Nicola is a Social and Economic Regeneration Manager with 13 years’ experience in the Housing sector. Steve started out as a trainee youth worker on a Youth Ambassador programme at Genesis Housing Association (GHA).
 
In March 2015, Steve launched an Apprenticeship Programme and Work Experience Programme which are still supporting young people today. Around the same time, Steve applied, on behalf of the company, for the Fair Train Quality Standard. He achieved the Silver Standard and he worked on progressing this to Gold which Notting Hill Genesis (formerly GHA) secured for the 4th year running in August 2019.
 
In his current role, Steve is now commissioning social and economic well-being initiatives delivered on the Grahame Park estate and capacity building the estate’s local community development trust.

Most memorable Work Experience:

Working for my brother in a printing factory in Brockley Rise. It was an early start, long working hours and they made me do everything including taking out the bins. Eventually I got to do some printing and he taught me about the printing process. It was an extremely small firm with only a few employees and they really made me work hard while I was there. I truly understood the meaning of putting in 100% each and every day while I was doing my work experience and it helped prepare me for the working world.

 
RACHEL ONIKOSI   Special Advisor: Policy and Trustee
Rachel supports Fair Train through an array of strategic skills gained throughout her career. She gained the majority of her experience and expertise working within various civil service departments as a policy maker. Some of her roles involved advising government ministers on consumer protection, better regulation and deregulation policies which applied to public, private and voluntary organisations.
 
Rachel is passionate about the academic growth, empowerment and life progression of young people, and has been an adviser to young people for over 15 years. This passion led to her involvement in community and political activities. Rachel has been an elected Councillor within the London Borough of Lewisham and is a sitting magistrate in the South East of London.

Most memorable Work Experience:

My most memorable work experience is rushing from the Department of Business to Parliament at the very last minute in order to support the relevant minister at debates concerning consumer regulations. There were so many incidences of feeling so rushed off my feet I didn't know whether I was giving the most up to date information during debate proceedings - there was always only one choice, say something that sounded good! 

PAULINE STEWART   Special Advisor: Organisational Strategic Development
 
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Pauline works within organisations to deliver visionary leadership programmes and change management, stimulating new thinking that creates energy and the vision to do things differently. Guided by company principles, Pauline believes that she makes a meaningful difference to both people and their organisations. 
 
Pauline is an experienced training programme writer, a facilitator, keynote speaker, mentor and coach. Pauline has past experience serving within the Police Service and extensive knowledge in developing and designing national leadership programmes for public and private sector. 
 
In 2010 Pauline was identified as a Champion for the advancement of girls and young women and is part of Everywoman’s Modern Muse (a decade of inspiring women) - a project focusing on inspiring the next generation of young girls and women in business.

Most memorable Work Experience:

Working with challenged young people to develop their human potential by exploring emotional intelligence and key skills to support their ongoing life journey.

JULIA TEALE           Special Advisor: Strategic Business Development
 

Julia’s career began in 1984 when she joined Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars as a business apprentice.  After gaining valuable experience across the business Julia focused her career on HR and particularly Learning & Development.

Passionate about apprenticeships, Julia now has responsibility for Apprentice and Graduate development as part of her role as Skills Development Manager for Bentley Motors Limited.  A North West Apprentice Ambassador and Board member, as well as sitting on the Employers, Skills and Education Committee for the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, Julia is an advocate for developing the skills and knowledge individuals need to be successful in their chosen career path. 

 

Julia is delighted to support Fair Train in the drive to ensuring work experience is accessible to all.

Most memorable Work Experience:

After my work experience placement there was no doubt I could file paperwork!  That is all I did for a whole week at a local Council Office.  However a bad situation can always turn into a positive, and now having responsibility for work experience placements at Bentley Motors I strive to ensure that every single person who comes on a placement has a great experience.  No paperwork filing just lots of opportunity to learn, ask questions and find out as much as they can to make an informed choice about whether this is the career path they want to follow.

 
JOHN EVATT   Head of IT

John's career in IT began in 2005 at IBM as a computer engineer. After gaining valuable experience on several of IBM’s large support contracts, John also took on a teaching role at JBC Computers in 2008. This course trained former military personnel before their resettlement back to the UK so that they were ready for employment after military life. These skills included computing and server management, hardware/software installation and configuration, Cisco IOS, networking and Cisco protocols - and much more. 

 

John left IBM and JBC Computers in 2009 and became Managing Director of Coventry based company, Simple IT Support. Then, in 2012, he became M.D. of CloudexIT - specialising in business to business IT solutions.

 

John has now been Fair Train’s Head of IT for the past five years, supporting us in all aspects of our digital communications.

JOHN HIGGINS   Financial Controller
 

John has supported the finance and administration functions of Fair Train since March 2015. He is an accounting professional with over 40 years’ experience, both in general practice and in industry.

After testing the waters of a professional accounting office with a summer work experience at a small firm in Nottingham, John started his accounting journey with a one-year foundation course in Accounting at what is now Nottingham Trent University. He then went on to train with the same firm where he’d undertaken that Work Experience. During this period, John gained knowledge and experience in all aspects of the accountancy profession – taxation, auditing and company secretarial work for a wide variety of limited companies and sole traders.

John was headhunted by a former client to support the overworked Managing Director with the financial activities of the client’s Nottingham printing company as accountant and company secretary. During his time there, John became a member of The Association of Accounting Technicians and qualified as a member of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

In 2010, after nearly 25 years with the printing company, John made a life-changing decision to set up his own accounting practice, supporting the finance functions of a portfolio of local traders and charities, of which Fair Train is one.

Most memorable Work Experience:

Work experience wasn’t a “thing” in my time at school, but I knew that I had a love of numbers and, at that time, I had never known a poor accountant, so a career in accountancy was my aim. A school friend worked at a local firm of chartered accountants in Nottingham and he arranged for me to work there during the summer. The experience of working in that office that summer laid the foundations for a long and very enjoyable career in the accounting profession. It made me realise that this was definitely what I wanted to do and a career that would play to my strengths – but also that I had a lot to learn!

 
JACK PARSONS      Special Advisor: Digital Communications & Marketing

Jack Parsons is CEO of Big Youth Group. Himself only 23 years old, his mission is to change the world for young people (under 30), starting by creating 2 million career experiences in the United Kingdom. Then he'll take his mission global.

In 2017 Jack won accolades including "Young Digital Leader of The Year" and "Most Connected Young Entrepreneur" and was included in Grant Thornton's prestigious line-up of "The 100 Faces of a Vibrant Economy". Alongside running a business, he also serves on several boards that impact and support young people's lives.

A passionate believer in Fair Train and what it does, Jack is delighted to bring his business acumen, his outstanding knowledge of all things digital, his networks and his indefatigable energy to support us.

Most memorable Work Experience:

I remember on the first day of my work experience, the manager sat me down and said this wasn't going to be a Business Apprentice like I applied for, but a Sale Apprenticeship. When they were showing me round the office, they directed to me my desk and then pointed over at a much bigger desk with a lot of people around it and said that I'd be generating leads for the "big boys' table". That was quite some first experience of the workplace ... and a real eye-opener .. and why I'm very happy to champion high quality work-based learning.

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