Operational Team

EmployabilityUK designs and delivers bespoke employability skills programmes to meet the needs and expectations of students, teachers, parents/carers and businesses.


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.


Debbie Smith

Operations Manager

Debbie has over 30 years experience in business management, commercial development and service improvement. For the last seventeen years Debbie was a senior manager in various roles within Children’s Services in both the public and private sector.
She has travelled the length and breadth of the UK transforming local services for Children and Young People. She also contributed to a working group established by the Department for Education to explore more effective methods to recruit and retain foster carers.


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.

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Our Patrons & Trustees

EmployabilityUK designs and delivers bespoke employability skills programmes to meet the needs and expectations of students, teachers, parents/carers and businesses.


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.”


Keith Fraser

Chair of Trustees

Keith has recently retired after being a police officer with more than 27 years’ experience, with both the Metropolitan and West Midlands Police Forces. In his last role, Keith was a Superintendent with West Midlands Police. With a degree in HR, Keith operated at a strategic level and managed large areas of business, 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.


Joanne Clarke Gordon


A Criminal Justice & Criminology Graduate with a successful background in legal finance, Joanne’s career spanned the UK, Middle East and Asia managing credit, revenue and compliance for some of the world’s largest International law firms. Joanne has supported numerous charities undertaking positions with West Afrika Ministries as the Child Sponsorship Coordinator and the New Testament Church of God as District Youth Secretary for the Handsworth district of Birmingham. Joanne is also co-founder of a CIC called The Decision Factory.
She has a passion for music and is a singer/songwriter but her real desire is to support young people to thrive and achieve their goals.


Justin Southwick

Trustee and Senior Social Media Advisor

As an operational leader in a range of management roles, Justin is passionate about raising standards and encouraging young people to excel and achieve their ambitions and potential. With a working interest in technology and social media, Justin brings a wealth of knowledge of marketing techniques to EmployabilityUK with a strong strategic influence.

Justin spends his downtime supporting a range of charities and introducing technology to his two young sons.

Student Reps

EmployabilityUK designs and delivers bespoke employability skills programmes to meet the needs and expectations of students, teachers, parents/carers and businesses.


Martyna Adam

Whitley Academy Sixth Form

Martyna is studying Psychology, Biology and Mathematics A Levels at Whitley Academy Sixth Form in Coventry. Martyna was part of the Employability Skills Programme pilot in 2016 and said it is a pleasure to have been chosen to take part in the programme.

After finishing her A Levels, Martyna hopes to go to university to study Psychology. During her school education, she was an active leader of the school council, particularly focusing on the charity sector. As a school, they raised funds for many charities by organising events such as cake sales. Primarily, due to her work to organise the Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Appeal in 2014, Martyna won a scholarship from ‘Free the Children’, partnered with Virgin Atlantic, to Rajasthan in India for 3 weeks in the summer of 2015. During the scholarship, she visited rural communities and helped build a classroom for a primary school.
Alongside her studies, Martyna has a part-time job as a receptionist and class assistant at a study centre. She is also an active member of the Pathways to Law programme at Warwick University. In her spare time, Martyna enjoys reading books and listening to music.


Fletcher Ransberry

The Blue Coat School

Fletcher Ransberry is currently an upper sixth student and the Deputy Head Boy of The Blue Coat School. Having applied to study politics at university, Fletcher hopes to pursue a career in business before entering politics. He plays an active part in campaigns within his party and hopes one day to take up a career in parliamentary politics after a career in journalism or brokerage. Fletcher is a speaker and an award-winning comedy magician with a depth of experience in performing all over the world for a huge variety of audiences.

Advisory Team

EmployabilityUK designs and delivers bespoke employability skills programmes to meet the needs and expectations of students, teachers, parents/carers and businesses.


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.


Stef Nosek

Communications Advisor

Since graduating from University in 2010, Stefanie has worked in Higher Education in various roles including Quality Assurance, Data analysis and Course Management. She also works freelance as a Copywriter and has completed an Award in Direct and Digital Marketing in her spare time.
Stefanie has worked with young people since she was at School, working as a mentor at a Study Centre, in outreach activities at University and contributes to events in her local community.


Jennifer Cotterill

Special Projects Advisor

Jennifer has over 11 years of professional and business experience. She has extensive experience in bid and project management and communications. After completing an MSc in Psychology, Jennifer is a Learning and Development Advisor for a leading construction consultancy and is responsible for providing learning and development solutions across 11 UK offices. She has been involved in the delivery and assessment of development centres and has a particular interest in applying psychological research to business.

Jennifer has supported EmployabilityUK in a range of projects and has a passion for supporting young people to develop their vocational skills so they have the ability to succeed in the modern workplace.