Association of Employment and Learning Providers

For immediate release – Thursday, 28 May 2020

AELP CEO Announcement

It was announced today that Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), will be leaving AELP in mid-August to take up a new role within the skills sector.

Current chief operating officer, Jane Hickie, has been promoted to become AELP’s managing director as part of a new structure which the AELP Board has put in place to address the challenges that Covid-19 has presented. Her appointment recognises the crucial part that she has played in AELP’s development over recent years.

Jane Hickie will be supported in her position by a more hands-on approach taken by the recently strengthened AELP Board with the formation of a Policy & Funding Group of board members and other experts, chaired by AELP board member, Stewart Segal. Mark Dawe will sit on this group and Simon Ashworth as AELP’s chief policy officer will continue as the senior management lead for policy and funding matters.

AELP chairman Martin Dunford OBE said:

“The Board and I acknowledge everything that Mark Dawe has achieved for AELP and our members including the fact that AELP’s profile has never been higher. We wish Mark every success in his new role and we are delighted that he will still be lending his experience and expertise to AELP’s new Policy & Funding Group.

“Before Mark informed of us of his desire to move on, AELP was already considering the best way of responding as an organisation to the entirely different landscape that now faces us because of the pandemic. Many of our provider members, including board member organisations, have delivered employment delivery contracts for various government departments and other public bodies, and we expect AELP members to be very active in helping unemployed people back into work as well as continuing to provide skills training under apprenticeships, traineeships and other programmes.

“We are very confident that AELP has a strong set-up in place, both in terms of a powerful board membership and a highly effective and responsive senior team which has developed while Mark has been chief executive. Jane Hickie’s promotion reflects her personal hard work and the positive changes which we have seen within the organisation over the past four years. The Board believes strongly that members’ interests will continue to be well represented and that high quality services will remain the norm for members.

“AELP members look forward to working closely with the government and the devolved authorities in supporting the employment and skills initiatives which will support the economic recovery. AELP made a well-received submission last week outlining the approaches that could be taken.”

Mark Dawe’s new post will be chief executive of The Skills Network and Mark Dawe said:

“While I leave behind a great dedicated team and many incredible members at AELP, it certainly isn’t goodbye, and the memories will last for a lifetime! Indeed there is still much for AELP and me as CEO to do for the next three months. I am obviously very pleased to remain actively involved with AELP as a member and to participate in the new policy group.”

“It has been a fantastic journey for AELP and its members during a period for me that started a year before the apprenticeship levy’s introduction, has included many challenges whether they be AEB procurement, apprenticeships standards and assessment development, non-levy funding, or through to the battle for survival during the Covid crisis.

“There is never an easy time to leave a role like this but the opportunity to be part of the transformation of education delivery was too much to resist. I want to thank the AELP chairman, Martin Dunford, the AELP Board, the amazing AELP team, its members and stakeholders who have all supported AELP throughout the time I have been CEO, through a period of total transformation, and they have all made AELP what it is today. AELP has established the importance of apprenticeships, work based learning and independent training providers at the heart of employers and government thinking, although we will never have to stop reminding them of that!”

New AELP managing director Jane Hickie added:

“I join Martin and the AELP Board in wishing Mark well in his new role and the AELP staff will undoubtedly miss his very positive approach which has helped drive the organisation forward. A strong team at AELP is part of Mark’s legacy and this will give me great confidence in leading the organisation during the immediate post-pandemic period.

“We also have a fabulous set of members, patrons and sponsors who have demonstrated incredible resilience and flexibility over the last three months in keeping such a high percentage of apprentices and learners in training. Despite the obvious challenges, there are great opportunities ahead and much to look forward to.”


Contact Aidan Relf on 07710 305182

Notes to editors:

1. About AELP
AELP principally represents the independent training providers who train 7 out of 10 apprentices in England. In its membership, it also has colleges, universities, local authorities, academies and employers who deliver apprenticeships and other skills programmes. Many provider members additionally contract with various government departments and devolved authorities for the delivery of employment programmes, adult education, offender learning and ESF programmes – for more information, see:

2. About AELP’s Board
AELP’s board members are:

Martin Dunford OBE
AELP Chairman and Chief Executive of Skills Training UK

Mark Dawe
AELP Chief Executive

Ian Bamford
Chief Operating Officer at Paragon Skills

Sharon Blyfield
Head of Early Careers and Apprenticeships – Business Partner, Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP)

Charlotte Bosworth
Managing Director of Innovate Awarding

Rob Foulston
Chairman of REMIT

Debbie Gardiner MBE
Director at DSG L&M Consultancy Services

Jon Graham
Chief Executive of JTL

Nichola Hay
AELP Vice-Chair and Chief Operating Officer at Estio Training

John Hyde FIH CBE
Executive Chairman of HIT Training Group

Alex Khan MBE
Chief Executive of Lifetime Training Group

David Marsh
CEO of Babington

Brenda McLeish
Chief Executive Officer of Learning Curve Group

James Norris
Assistant Principal for Commercial Development at Walsall College

Alan Ovenden ACMA
Director of Apprenticeship Services at Babcock International

Stewart Segal
CEO of Aegis Management Services Ltd

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