Operational Team

Our mission is to facilitate employer engagement to enhance the aspirations, opportunities and career prospects of enthusastic and commited young people.


Di Vernon

Founder & Chief Executive

After eight years working in the third sector, Di created EmployabilityUK – a new education charity. 
In her previous role, Di was responsible for developing Career Academies UK’s regional strategy and delivering the national programme. Having built a team of regional managers and taken the programme to all parts of the UK she then went on to become Director of Business Development.

Di has more than 25 years of corporate business experience from BT and O2, including delivering BT’s education and community programme in the Midlands. Di has held a number of volunteering roles including 6 years as a Special Constable with West Midlands Police and is a Parish Councillor.


Daljit Ghai

Operations Director

A vastly experienced operational expert, Daljit possesses demonstrated experience of strategic business growth in the corporate environment. He has managed operations across multiple sites throughout Europe and Asia. Daljit also supports SME businesses as a consultant, to increase efficiency and maximise profits.

A keen contributor to the local community, Daljit has previously volunteered at the Citizens Advice Bureaux and is currently a Board member for the Independent Monitoring Board at a local prison. He has also previously been a local Parish Councillor, having served a term of 4 years.


Krystyna Nosek

Programme Director

Krystyna is responsible for EmployabilityUK’s programmes. She has extensive experience in student development and of leading large teams. With 23 years’ experience working in the Higher Education sector, she has developed a wide range of employability skills modules and workshops for outreach activities and work-related skills.

Krystyna is a trained Mentor and enjoys coaching young people of all ages. She has worked with youth organisations for over 30 years and is a long-standing supporter of the Crohns and Colitis UK group in the Wolverhampton area.


Pippa Smith

Programme Manager

Pippa has worked in a wide variety of Senior Management roles within a career extending over 30 years. Bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience with a deep understanding and commitment to the development and realization of individuals aspirations.
Pippa’s most recent role was with Carillion, taking responsibility for the provision of training across all levels within Carillion Services including Facilities Management, Soft Services, Service Delivery Leads, and Supervisory tasked based training. Including the provision, development and delivery of bespoke and specific programmes targeting business need gaps and employee’s progression.


Sara Aslett

Business Manager

Sara is Chartered Marketer and business practitioner with over 12 years marketing and business development experience in both the private and public sector. Working predominately within the West Midlands, Sara has worked with SME’s, blue chips and start-up businesses in the region, supporting them with their business growth plans. Sara is delighted to be joining the charity and shares its ambition of inspiring young people to reach their potential and grow.


Melissa Cordingley


Before joining EmployabilityUK, Melissa worked as a Branch Manager in both the travel and retail industries. After taking a career break to raise her family she returned to work as a studio manager to a Midlands-based photographic business. Mel has a wealth of experience in supporting mid and senior-level managers and developing and implementing business processes and systems. Formerly as a volunteer for the charity at a range of workshops and events, her ‘can-do’ attitude has helped make EmployabilityUK the success it is today. When she is not working, Mel enjoys caring for and riding her horse, long walks in the countryside with her dog and caravanning with her family throughout the UK.


Lydia Ruston

Marketing Officer

Lydia is a Marketing with Consumer Psychology student currently studying at a Birmingham City University. Understanding the difficulty of gaining valuable work experience as a student, Lydia is keen to help increase engagement and awareness of the opportunities Employability UK has to offer. She is eager to gain experience in the Marketing sector and learn as many new skills as possible. Lydia is looking forward to strengthening her abilities whilst simultaneously supporting a charity that focuses on encouraging students to be the best possible version of themselves.

Lydia is passionate about making the most of opportunities and gaining as much experience as possible whilst being a student. With a marketing focused degree, she enjoys all the things social media and in her spare time, she loves to walk her little dog Monty!

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Our mission is to facilitate employer engagement to enhance the aspirations, opportunities and career prospects of enthusiastic and committed young people.


Keith Fraser

Chair of Trustees

Keith is a Board Member for the Youth Justice Board England and Wales and an independent member of the Ministry of Justice Race and Disparity Board. He was a police officer for 32 years, serving in both the Metropolitan and West Midlands Police services. In his last role, Keith was a Superintendent with West Midlands Police. With a degree in HR, Keith operated at a strategic level in policing, and managed significant portfolios, hundreds of staff and multi-million-pound budgets.
Keith is passionate about helping young people and is delighted to be involved with a charity that shares the same commitment to raising the aspirations of young people throughout the West Midlands and beyond.


Lynn England

Vice Chair of Trustees

Lynn has over 30 years’ experience as a teaching professional and a senior manager in an 11-18 Academy in Walsall, West Midlands. Lynn is a school governor and an assessor for initial teacher training. She has worked as a supporter and ambassador for various education charities and has also been responsible for the development of a number of Enterprise courses for delivery in schools.

Lynn supports a range of charities and enjoys antique hunting, the arts and watching motorsport in her spare time.


Neil Makin


Neil retired following a career in the food manufacturing sector, and with 25+ years operating at Board level with Kellogg’s, then Cadbury in human resources and change management; public affairs and corporate responsibility. He has extensive experience of education and the public policy arena from a range of external appointments including the Birmingham Careers and Education Business Partnership and Young Enterprise. More recently Neil has served as a school governor and is currently a Governor of Sandwell College. He is an Honorary Ambassador for the charity Teach First.

He remains passionate about encouraging Education and Business to work together to engage and inspire young people everywhere.


Diane Burdett


Diane has over 25 years in senior brand marketing roles in a wide variety of sectors and has more recently been working in NFP.  She has significant experience in developing brands and will be focusing on supporting the charity’s growth and development. Diane will provide strategic marketing oversight for the charity, which will complement her marketing consultancy work in the NFP sector and her other trustee role for Coventry outdoor arts charity, Godiva Awakes Trust. Diane also supports women in the marketing industry through the NFP she co-founded, Women Unltd.  With a degree in psychology and many years of senior business leadership roles, she is passionate about supporting young people into the workplace.  Diane is a keen traveller, with a home in Spain, and loves spending time with friends and family.


Tony Barnett


Tony is pleased to join the Board of Trustees of EmployabilityUK with a specialist lead on Safeguarding and Duty of Care. Following a long career in education, with roles from the classroom to senior management for both Wolverhampton and Walsall Borough Councils, Tony was instrumental in implementing the Sports Council ‘Action Sport’ programme to local schools for groups not predisposed to participation. He went on to establish community education in schools. On retirement, Tony was engaged as a management consultant for challenging schools and pupil referral units. Despite his extensive work for a range of charities, Tony still finds time to enjoy travel. DIY, walking and watching most sports.


Paul Broadhead


Paul recently retired from Rolls-Royce plc after a career spanning 34 years, the majority of which was spent in leadership roles in engineering, programme management, supply chain, procurement and business systems; Most latterly developing & leading Rolls-Royce’s community investment and education outreach strategy, partnerships and delivery.

Paul remains extremely passionate about ensuring every child & young person has the opportunity to be the best they can be. To dream big and have a chance of achieving those dreams.

Paul is a STEM Ambassador, and is a Trustee with Enterprise for Education (E4E Derby) and Foundation Derbyshire Community Foundation and is a governor with Wyndham Primary Academy.

Born in Yorkshire, made in Sheffield, Paul enjoys sport, travelling and walking (with their 3 English pointers).

Patrons & Ambassadors

Our mission is to facilitate employer engagement to enhance the aspirations, opportunities and career prospects of enthusiastic and committed young people.


Paul Cadman


Paul is a strategic leader with extensive experience in leading business transformation, P&L/growth strategy, B2B/B2C operations, restructuring and performance improvements to optimise efficiency, productivity and profitability in highly competitive commercial settings.

As a persuasive communicator, Paul is able to cultivate strong and sustainable stakeholder relationships and build robust teams within the range of sectors which include automotive, recruitment and e-commerce. He is an Ambassador for a wide range of initiatives and charities and brings expert support and influence to drive EmployabilityUK’s growth strategy.


Ninder Johal


Former President of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and current Board member of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, Ninder Johal is a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands.

He brings a wealth of knowledge as a business professional to EmployabilityUK. Skilled in negotiation, business planning, coaching, sales, and customer relationship management, Ninder is a strong business development professional with an MBA focused from Aston University. Ninder‘s knowledge of the region’s business landscape is without parallel.

Ninder said “I’m extremely impressed at how EmployabilityUK is using innovative methods to address important business and education needs. 80% of small and medium-sized business leaders say that children leaving school are not work-ready (70% of college graduates and 50% of university graduates). I am delighted to be supporting EmployabilityUK as they lead the way in making important changes to address this.”


Ravi Bains

Brand Ambassador

Ravi is one of the UK’s leading social care entrepreneurs and renowned sector experts. He is a shining example of how hard work and community values can lead to business success. His goal was to fulfil the unmet care needs in his local community, inspiring Ravi to create Sevacare in 1998 – A domiciliary care provider.

Now known as Grosvenor Health and Social Care and encompassing a number of brands it is now the largest family-owned care company in the UK with offices throughout the Midlands.

In his role as brand ambassador Ravi will help EmployabilityUK by fundraising, providing mentoring and raising the charity’s profile through his network of business contacts.


Young Ambassadors

Our mission is to facilitate employer engagement to enhance the aspirations, opportunities and career prospects of enthusiastic and committed young people.


Adam Ahmed

Young Ambassador

Adam is a versatile and ambitious student who fuses a background in proffesional screen acting/Performing Arts and Sport Science. He has delivered performances with Birmingham’s leading Performing Arts Theatre ‘Round Midnight’. He also starred EUK’s Inspiring Young Birmingham launch video.

Adam says “Along my journey, I want to relate and demonstrate to the youth that it’s possible to break away from their negative lifestyles, also to encourage them to pursue anything and everything that provides them with purpose”.

His hobbies & interests include Basketball, modelling, reading and music.


Simran Kaur

Young Ambassador

Simran is currently studying towards a bachelors honours degree in marketing at Birmingham City University. She is a highly-motivated, ambitious, and proactive professional in all areas of her work. Simran is a confident communicator who is also a self-starter with the dedication and motivation required to succeed in demanding projects. She has been volunteering for the charity for more than six months as a marketing officer, undertaking a range of special projects. Simran has contributed significantly towards our goal of inspiring young people into FE, HE and Apprenticeships and to motivate the future workforce. As a young person herself, Simran was able to offer insight into how to engage our younger audiences. Her long term goal is to progress in to a career within the media and marketing industry and have a meaningful impact.


Erin Jones

Young Ambassador

Erin is a recent Business Management graduate, who has first-hand experience of the struggles faced by young people when seeking work opportunities in today’s job market. Erin is keen to help raise awareness of how opportunities offered by EmployabilityUK can benefit young people, as well as highlight to organisations the benefits of hiring students and graduates.

Having completed a placement year within the marketing function of a leading financial services company, Erin is excited to further develop her marketing experience, whilst supporting a cause close to her heart. With two years’ experience as the Social Media Officer for Coventry University Netball Club, Erin has experience of engaging young people through social media, and looks forward to utilising this with EmployabilityUK. Erin is passionate about equal opportunities for all. She recently presented a paper on workplace gender equality at BAM Conference 2020, and has also initiated a campaign which raised over £1,000 for an organisation supporting young people who are likely to face racial injustice.

Advisory Team 

Our mission is to facilitate employer engagement to enhance the aspirations, opportunities and career prospects of enthusiastic and committed young people.


Pam Bates

Safeguarding Lead

A leader, coach and nurse Pam has extensive experience in healthcare and business. She has recently completed a 5 year role of Safeguarding and Prevent lead for a major pharmaceutical company and has experience of auditing services and developing Policies and Procedures for various settings. Pam has completed her Black Belt lean six sigma qualification and has had several training roles within her varied career, she currently runs her own business, Pam Bates Consultancy, specialising in both Safeguarding and Lean processes.


Desna McAll

Founder Director

Desna was Vice Principal at Cirencester College, where she was responsible for developing employer partnerships and a range of employability and enterprise programmes. Desna pioneered a range of business/education initiatives and built a suite of employer-led initiatives and activities for students.

She then worked as an Associate of the National Skills Academy in Financial Services, and an assessor for the Institute of Customer Service.

Now fully retired, she is a registered speaker for Dogs for Good and enjoys the challenge of tough charity fundraising treks, worldwide travelling, and relaxing with her dogs and horses. Dogs for Good is a UK-based charity, training and providing accredited assistance dogs to people with physical disabilities and children with autism.


Nigel Vernon

Marketing Lead

Nigel has 25 years experience in the creative marketing sector, working on national and international brands such as FedEx, Volvo, Vauxhall, Saab, Boots and Walkers Crisps, to name but a few. In 2003 Nigel took a career break to fulfil an ambition to design and build his own home. He then started a successful photographic services business which is now in its fifteenth year. As a volunteer, Nigel applies his creative and photographic skills to create the majority of the images and marketing material for the charity, helping to reduce our marketing budget.

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