Associates

Claire Buckland

What’s my background?

I have 20 years’ experience and expertise in work-based learning and specifically funding learning. My specialist expertise in Apprenticeships has been acquired from: working in independent training providers, a learning and development consultancy, FE Colleges and Universities; delivering and assessing apprenticeships; managing quality assurance; creating innovative programmes; developing strategies; creating new standards on trailblazer groups; mapping existing learning and development content to apprenticeship standards; applying for funding and working in partnership with governing bodies, funding bodies, awarding organisations and other strategic partners. so I know and understand the system from all sides – employers, providers and educators.

I have introduced higher and degree apprenticeships through partnering with employers in retail, manufacturing, security, automotive, logistics, leisure and public sector organisations. I have become a ‘go to’ person for guidance on the Apprenticeship Levy writing articles in HR Director magazine, Professional Manager Magazine; BBC interview for Inside Out and speaking at local and national events such as the World of Learning Conference and Exhibition. I was the first Higher Education Lead Independent Apprenticeship Assessor for the Chartered Management Institute, and I sit on the CMI West Midlands board as the Apprenticeships Champion. I have other Independent Assessor roles and was a judge on the Employee Experience awards this year.

 

What is my specialty?

I am an expert in all things apprenticeships. So, if you’re looking to:

  • Launch a new apprenticeship programme
  • Understand how to make more of your levy ‘pot’
  • Evaluate, assess or change your current apprenticeship provider(s)
  • Accredit or map your graduate programme across to a higher apprenticeship standard
  • Develop your own ‘earn whilst you learn’ degree apprenticeship
  • Utilise your levy funding to upskill your existing management population
  • Simplify or streamline your existing processes and programmes
  • Train or brief line managers on apprenticeships
  • Refresh your early careers strategy 
  • Develop your apprenticeships offer for employers
  • Outsource elements of your development programme design and delivery  

I would love to help you be successful and achieve your goals.

 

Life loves

  • Family - including my dog, Coco
  • Food - cooking and eating
  • Fresh Air - especially lakes and mountains

Pet peeves

  • Not doing what you said you would do - be honest and act with integrity.
  • People who can't be kind or pleasant
  • Litter - there's no excuse, find a bin!

 

 

Louise Buck

What’s my background?

After returning to education as a mature student when my daughters were 2 & 4 (now 28 & 30!!) I have worked for over 25 years in Higher Education in a variety of roles but always focused on helping students and graduates to realise their aspirations, building strong high performing teams and improving institutional processes and results. For the last 13 Years, I developed my career at Lancaster University firstly as Head of Careers, Alumni and Employer Relations in the Management School (LUMS) before becoming their first Director of Employability. During my time at Lancaster I ensured graduate employability became an integral part of the university experience and their graduate prospects league table ranking improved from 80th to 3rd in the UK.

 

What is my specialty?

I have a BA Hons in Business Studies (first), MBA (merit) and I am a ILM level 7 executive coach. I am also a MBTI qualified practitioner. I have lots of experience developing careers education for both on-line and face to face delivery and have been an external examiner for Manchester University, Staffordshire University and the University of Central Lancashire. As a Member of AGCAS and ISE I published articles in Phoenix and presented at many conferences as well as chairing and contributing to AGCAS task groups.

I have a vast knowledge of the internal and external HE environment and I am told I am successful because I am able to see the bigger picture, taking a targeted approach to develop employability strategies that are institutionally inclusive and that produce results. As a qualified coach and experienced leader I have an excellent track record working with teams to increase motivation and results. My coaching interventions with new or experience managers and leaders have been shown to increase their confidence, self-belief and performance.

I am excited to be working with Gradconsult and passionate to work with the team with institutions who are focused on improving their student and staff experience and their institutional results.

 

Life loves

  • Family & friends
  • Van life in my converted T5
  • The Great Outdoors

Pet peeves

  • Inequality
  • Unrealised aspirations
  • Waste

 

 

Santhana Gopalakrishnan

What's my background?

I came to the UK from Malaysia to study Economics and Politics at the University of Sheffield. I immersed myself in various aspects of the student experience as I wanted to get as much as I could from being a student in the UK, from volunteering with societies to part time jobs of making salads and breakfast sandwiches in the Students' Union. 

On a whim, I applied for an internship back in Malaysia with the Malaysian government, and I was assigned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This 4-month summer internship also included being part of the Minister's delegation to the United Nations' General Assembly in New York. It was there when I realised I was really passionate about improving the lives of people from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds, and I was willing to put myself out there but I didn't want to do it as a diplomat. I wanted to realise that passion within an environment that I loved: University. I returned to my studies, then successfully ran for election as International Students' Officer at Sheffield Students' Union. My work as a student activist has won me a number of national awards, including International Student Officer of the Year 2017/18, and International Student of the Year 2016/17, by the National Union of Students. 

I then joined the University of Sheffield as a Project Officer, delivering a mental health and wellbeing initiative, and planning and delivering a three-phase anti-racism education programme for all new students at the University as part of the University's Race Equality Strategy and Action Plan.  I am currently the Student Experience, Diversity and Inclusion Officer within Student Support Services where I continue to work on equality and inclusion initiatives and strategies.

 

What is my specialty?

I have lots of experience developing education and training around equality, diversity and inclusion, and wellbeing for both online and face to face delivery. I have also worked with external organisations such as the University of Edinburgh. I have an excellent track record working on particularly challenging projects that have had very successful outcomes. I enjoy having productive discussions with people of all backgrounds, and I have been told that I have a 'trademark' delivery style! I do believe I have a tendency to not 'sugar coat' issues as I find it is the best way to engage participants, and you will probably hear me relate a lot to my lived experiences, that may include my love for cats and dogs, or life as a third culture kid.

I am ecstatic to be working with Gradconsult, and would be excited to work with organisations who are committed to driving diversity, equality and inclusion, and feel empowered to challenge inequalities.

 

Life loves

  • Spicy food
  • Chonky cats and dogs
  • True crime documentaries

Pet peeves

  • People who have a fixed mindset
  • Internet cookies
  • Institutional racism