Our People

Skilled professionals from a variety of backgrounds.

Our experienced trainers range from chief executive officers and strategic leads in local authorities, to national training managers and specialised development managers.

Read more about them below.

Head of Ambition Quality & Training

Rachel Smith

Rachel is a skilled trainer with over twenty years of experience working within the voluntary sector. She has worked at a national level for over a decade, supporting local and regional organisations in strategic development. Rachel oversees quality development and has authored a range of programmes that have been accredited through the Institute of leadership and Management. She specialises in individual and team development using MBTI profiling.

Our Associates

Kevin Franks

Kevin has over 20 years’ experience in statutory and voluntary youth and community work. He has extensive experience in project management for participation work, multi-agency delivery, income generation and organisational development. He is an Honours Graduate in Informal and Community Education, holds both a Professional Certificate in Management Studies and a postgraduate diploma in management and his training experience includes devising and delivering a range of training for managers and practitioners in the youth sector.

Neil Gardiner

Neil has wide third sector experience, including working as Chief Executive in both a rural community development and a mental health organisation. With postgraduate management qualifications (M.B.A.) his work as a trainer and consultant has focused on strategic development, monitoring and evaluation, service development, research and governance. He is an Associate of Charities Evaluation Services, an Assessor for the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation Approved Provider Standard and delivers training for the BBC ‘Children in Need’ grant programme.

Paul Woodhead

Paul has over thirty years' experience of working as a practitioner and manager within statutory and voluntary sector settings including 20 years as a senior manager with Save the Children UK. For the last four years Paul has worked as a freelance consultant, undertaking a development and advisory role for a large national agency and a range of evaluation and support work for smaller voluntary organisations.

Rebecca Norton

Rebecca is a skilled trainer with experience in a range of settings. Rebecca has worked with many organisations from wide-ranging backgrounds and can happily adapt her training style to meet the needs of the group. She prides herself on making training engaging and fun.

Heike Horsburgh

Heike is a well-reputed senior manager and consultant with over 25 years’ experience of leading and developing learning organisations. Heike has supported many organisations to gain confidence, knowledge, skills and qualifications in the delivery of high-quality youth and community work practice and strategic management. Heike currently creates bespoke organisational training and delivers formal qualifications working within various awarding body criteria.

Nicole Williamson

Nicole is a qualified and experienced trainer, youth and playwork practitioner and psychology graduate and has worked in the voluntary sector for over 15 years. Nicole has authored and delivered a range of programmes for practitioners across the sector. Nicole’s specialisms include Child Protection and Leadership and Management and within her role as a qualified teacher, assessor and IQA lead she oversees the quality assurance processes, awarding body status with a range of awarding bodies.

Matt Lent

Matt has worked in the youth and education sectors for more than 20 years. Qualifying as a Community and Youth Worker in 1995 he has worked in a wide variety of settings, including with the homeless community at The Big Issue Ltd, with young people in Foyers and residential support centres, leading on street based youth work initiatives, as the Director of wide reaching local youth and community services. For over four years Matt was the Director of a national education charity specialising in youth participation and active citizenship, and in 2008 he founded Treetop Training and Education Ltd, providing a range of high-quality accredited training, consultancy and project management services to the voluntary and statutory youth and education sectors.

Becky Hedgcock

Becky has over two decades' experience engaging with the voluntary sector, starting out as a volunteer. She has progressed through numerous roles and has extensive management experience. Utilising a sound knowledge base of practical experience, she has delivered and developed training with a wide cross section of young people and volunteers to full-time staff, local, regional and national organisations within the voluntary and corporate/public sectors. Her speciality is in leadership and project/club development.

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