Meet the team
To ensure we are able to deliver great apprenticeships – working alongside some of the UK’s best businesses – as well as providing a variety of business solutions, we have brought together a team which brings with it a wealth of experience and creativity across a number of key areas.
* = Board member
# = Member of the executive team
The Executive team and Board
Non-executive director *
Sally Dicketts has spent her whole working life in education. The first eight years were spent in schools, holding the posts of Head of Business Studies, Head of Careers and Head of Fifth Form.
Subsequently, she has worked continuously in the further education sector, spending four years at Hackney College and then joining Milton Keynes College as Director of Curriculum and Learning Strategies. Sally progressed to become Director of Marketing and Development and then Principal and Chief Executive of the College between 1996 and 2003.
In October 2003 she became Principal of Oxford and Cherwell Valley College and in 2013 Chief Executive of Activate Learning.
Sally is a member of the City & Guilds Learning and Assessment Policy Committee. She is a Board Member of ACM and AoC. She chairs the Communications Gateway Practitioners Panel and the Women’s Leadership Network, is a member of the Oxfordshire Management Club, All Souls group and is a leading thinker for the National Education Trust. She sits on the Oxfordshire Business First, Oxford & Cherwell Strategic Partnerships and 14-19 Strategic Partnership.
Commercial Director #
Mark Eighteen joined us in 2015 as Commercial Director to drive apprenticeships and training solutions in the Thames Valley and London.
Mark has worked in learning and development for 15 years. Prior to Activate Apprenticeships, he managed the south region at Key Training providing apprenticeships. In 2010, Key Training placed less than 200 apprentices but by 2014, they were placing 1,000 young people into apprenticeships per year.
In addition, Mark also ran WWP (the commercial division of Key), delivering a variety of IT and leadership and management training solutions to the corporate market.
Chief Executive Officer * #
Pablo is our co-founder and Chief Executive since January 2014, having created our vision and plans as an adviser to the Activate Learning group.
He saw the opportunity to create a new kind of training provider, combining the the best of Activate Learning’s educational pedigree with exceptional flexibility for business, clients and learners.
Pablo has previously specialised in leading successful transformations, including two start-ups and a merger. He was a founding director of learndirect, where - over 12 years - he helped transform the government idea of accessible and rigorous online learning into the UK’s largest training company, which is now in private ownership.
He is also a non-executive director at Ixion Holdings and Deputy Chair at WorldSkills UK - the national flagship for excellence in apprenticeships and vocational careers.
He is a Cambridge University graduate and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Rory joined our Board as Chairman in May 2015. He has been a Bursar at Magdalen College since March 2014. He previously was a Partner and CFO of Bridges Ventures, a private equity firm specialising in social impact investment, and an investment banker at Schroders and Morgan Stanley.
Rory graduated in Economics from Trinity College, Cambridge, and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. For eight years to 2013, he was a non-executive director of Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, latterly as Vice-Chairman, and chaired the hospital’s Finance and Investment Committee.
Rory continues to serve as a Trustee and a member of the Investment Committee of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity, which manages an endowment of over £500m and supports innovative healthcare in South East London. Until March 2014, Rory was also Chairman of TEG Group, an AIM-listed environmental technology company.
Chief Operating Officer #
Fiona leads the planning and delivery of work-based training across Activate Apprenticeships, utilising the complex funding requirements to deliver apprenticeship programmes, alongside seeking alternative bespoke employer-led training schemes.
Fiona has spent over 15 years within the work-based learning arena, working in a variety of operational roles, most recently as Head of Operations within Babcock International. Her experience includes managing delivery within a variety of employment sectors where she has utilised resources to bid for, win and deliver innovative projects.
Examples include Future Jobs fund, bespoke training for external businesses and delivery to the unemployed, demonstrating experience in engaging national, local, private and public sector businesses.
Malcolm has worked as a consultant in business and marketing strategy since 2001. His range of clients across multiple industries includes: Tesco, HP, 3663, LINPAC, Dennis Fire Engines, Zambian Ministry of Health, Telindus, Pierhouse and Corgi. His main area of expertise is helping companies focus on what's important to their customers and implementing joined up marketing plans that support the organisation's business objectives.
Prior to his consulting work, Malcolm had over 20 years of hands-on marketing and business experience. His final full-time role was Director of Enterprise Marketing EMEA at Compaq. Prior to that, he held UK, European and worldwide roles with DEC, some of which were based in Switzerland and the USA.
His one page plan methodology has been widely used to help organisations create, communicate and implement their plans.
Malcolm has always been a strong supporter of education. It started with supporting Young Enterprise at DEC in the 1980s, continuing when he was vice chairman of the Berkshire branch of the Institute of Directors (IoD) where he helped Reading University create their Entrepreneurship programme. He also arranged for Reading students to attend IoD events for the first time and do joint events with the University.
After completing a small marketing project at ATG Training, Malcolm joined the Board as Vice Chairman and also did a spell as interim CEO. He joined Activate Learning as a Governor in July 2016.
Malcolm’s vision is joined up education, where all stakeholders work together through every stage of a student's education.