You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

Skills & Employability

Skills & Employability

The Skills & Employability service is committed to supporting, promoting and delivering high quality services for secondary school aged children on behalf of Kent County Council. We do this in order to raise aspirations and equip young people with the skills they need to reach their full potential in adult life.

The Education People hold the strategic and operational responsibilities in Kent for the ‘Raising the Participation Age’ (RPA) duties placed on local authorities by the government.

RPA Duties

  • Promote effective participation in education and training of 16 and 17 year olds in their area with a view to ensuring that those young people fulfil the duty to participate in education or training.
  • Make arrangements to identify 16 and 17 year olds who are not participating in education or training.
    Our experienced and skilled team bring together all the required pieces that make this happen.

KentMatters - January 2024

Meet the Skills and Employability Leadership Team

Rob has extensive experience in skills and employability services, having worked in this sector for over 30 years.

Rob started as a careers adviser working in local authority schools, then moved to the world of Education Business Partnerships. Here he set up the City Of Westminster work experience programme, then a business mentoring service, that operated in schools across seven inner London boroughs.

Rob moved to Kent in 2006 to set up the KentChoices website that quickly became an integral part of the post 16 transition process, it is still used by over 13,000 young people every year.

Working closely with education, training, third sector and local authority services he led Kent’s strategy to Raising the Participation Age for young people.

He is now the Lead for The Education People’s Skills and Employability Service that provides the local authority’s NEET strategy, NEET Support Service, NEET prevention, the statutory duty to track the destinations of young people, the KentChoices website and Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) support for schools through a partnership with the Careers Enterprise Company.

Rob focuses on building partnerships, analytical planning and challenging existing thinking to look for new ways to deliver high quality services.

David has worked for The Education People and Kent County Council (KCC) for the last nineteen years and has worked previously with different training providers. He has worked in the apprenticeship arena for over 20 years and has a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, Dave has been working with schools to understand how they can best use the levy. He has gained a range of experience in the welfare-to-work agenda, managing a variety of different back to work programmes including work experience, work tasters and apprenticeships across the county.

David leads on our employer engagement project, which involves working with employers across Kent and Medway to increase the number of opportunities available to local young people and developing the apprenticeship offer to promote the benefits of apprenticeships to schools, young people, parents and businesses. His role is to create and develop county wide opportunities for apprenticeships and work experience through employer engagement, partnership working, within KCC and other local authorities for the benefit of the local community.

David has also worked on several different trailblazer groups in the development of new apprenticeship standards. He is one of the directors of Kent Association of Training Organisations (KATO), working with the local training providers in Kent, to help support the development of the training available across the county. This is achieved by providing strategic overview and facilitating collaborative activities between education providers, training providers and employers to support the progression into the world of work.

Mike has worked for The Education People and Kent County Council (KCC) since 2007. He is currently the Principal Post 16 Lead, with previous roles including Deputy Area Lead for West and North Kent, ensuring that education and support services work well for young people in those districts.

In his current role, Mike strives to ensure that there are strong education opportunities for all of Kent’s post 16 students, but particularly more vulnerable learners. He sees his main job as knowing the right people and building partnerships to solve problems. He has extensive experience of large-scale projects in careers education, developing apprenticeships, supporting vulnerable learners and bringing employers into education.

Mike has also been heavily involved in supporting the Kent 16 to 19 review, 'Pathways for All'. He was involved in its inception, through the research phase and is now working on the implementation.

Previously, Mike has worked with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to ensure that education and training met the needs of Employers across the region. This involved working with Essex, East Sussex, Kent, Thurrock, Southend and Medway local authorities and central government to organise funding for education and capital projects.

Mike enjoys his job because he likes making systems work for the benefit of people and wants no young person to be left behind by education.

Brad is a professional youth worker, coach and supervisor, a teacher of lifelong learning and trainer with 20 years’ experience of working with young people at risk of becoming NEET.

He has led teams throughout London and Kent to provide excellent outcomes for young people and have worked with care leavers, unaccompanied asylum seekers and young people in the youth offending system to develop mindsets and skills aimed at identifying pathways to a brighter future.

Brad believes that everyone has the skills within them to be the best versions of themselves and tries to role model his own expectations in the people he works with.

He is incredibly proud to be the Strategic Careers Hub lead and is looking forward to seeing the Careers Hub grow and develop over time.

Tom has worked with young people for over 25 years. This has included working as a carer for young people with behavioural and learning difficulties, an LSA and then teacher in a special school, as a foster carer, careers adviser, Community Support PA, NEET Champion, team leader and a manager.

After leaving school with few qualifications, Tom worked in and ran a construction business but as the years progressed, he began to look for something more. After a chance stroll into a careers office, he spoke to a careers adviser who inspired him to go to university – something he previously felt was out of reach. From this point he realised the importance of/and huge positive impact that professional guidance can have.

Having gained a degree in Archaeology, he has since gained further higher education (HE) qualifications related to supporting young people, education and management. These include a post graduate certificate in education (SEN), a foundation degree, a level 5 qualification in management and leadership, as well as various HE certificates and diplomas related to supporting young people and staff.

He has also, in the past, volunteered as an education support worker for adults with special needs and as a Parish Councillor for 8 years.

Tom’s current role is to oversee operational management of staff, external stakeholders and contract commissioners of The Education People’s NEET Support Service (Delivered on behalf of Kent County Council). This role is wide ranging and very rewarding and involves partnership, project and strategic management. Tom likes to maintain his work with young people and often holds a small caseload which he enjoys and helps him to understand the changing of needs and culture of young people.

Owen has 10 years’ experience in the Skills & Employability team in various roles, starting his journey as an apprentice.

In his current role, Owen oversees the work of the KentChoices Development Manager and a team of Engagement Officers. He also chairs 'Participation Meetings' which are attended by secondary schools, colleges, training providers and other services attend.

Owen enjoys his role because he gets to work with a great team who strive hard every single day to help achieve great outcomes for young people. This motivates him to do the same and while there are constant barriers to overcome, Owen enjoys being in a role where he can help make changes to overcome these barriers.

In 2019, Robin took on the role of Young Persons Participation Coordinator and has been responsible for training all new members of his team; whilst still delivering the same high-quality service to the young people of Kent.

As a coordinator, Robin is responsible for making sure that team is focusing their efforts each month in the right areas to maximise the amount of young people they are contacting each month. The purpose of this is to find out what they are doing in terms of education, employment or training and offer support where necessary.

Robin is also responsible for the ‘September Guarantee’ data return, which starts in March and runs through until September. This is carried out to learn what students in Year 11 and 12 are planning on doing for the following academic year. From September, the team then switches to check if these plans have happened and support those who’s plans have changed.

A lot of this work revolves around doing data checks with schools and Robin is responsible for organising this and making sure that over 100 schools across Kent receive the correct data securely.

Robin also supports the young people of North Kent directly and understands that formal education isn’t the right route for everyone, as all young people have different situations and career objectives.

Robin holds a level 4 in Careers, Education, Information, Advice and Guidance.