National Conference Speakers Presentations and Videos 2022

Leaders in our industry and some well-known faces provided their insight and expertise into factors that impact our sector and shape the future of education, with a particular focus on developing green skills and enhancing sustainability. Please see below to find out more about our speakers and their presentations.

Phil Wilkinson

CEO, Ascentis 

Group CEO at The Ascentis Group and Chair of the Board of Corporation at Nelson and Colne College Group. A member of the Institute of Directors, Phil has an M.Ed in Educational Studies, M.Sc. in Human Biology and BSc (Hons) in Biology – and is a qualified teacher. Phil’s experience in FE includes previously being a lecturer, Head of Division, Head of Faculty and Assistant Principal at FE Colleges in the North West.

Liam Carr

Sustainability in Curriculum Coordinator, NCG

Liam Carr has 20 years experience in the education sector. Starting his career in education as a science teacher, Liam went on to teach internationally in India before returning to the UK to take up a role in Newcastle and until recently, led the access to higher education team at Newcastle College. As Sustainability in Curriculum Coordinator for NCG Liam works across 7 colleges, provides staff training to embed sustainability within curriculum areas, works with employers and stakeholders in the sustainability sector and coordinates student led environmental projects.

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Beej Kaczmarczyk

Director, e-Memoir

Beej is well-known in the education sector and has an excellent reputation for his skills as a consultant and trainer, and as an expert in education policy, management, teaching and learning, funding and finance. He has held senior management roles in schools, FE colleges and in the private sector with Network Training, Tribal Education, EDI and Pearson Education. 

In 2015, he became a director of the Learning Curve Group to establish and grow their professional development and improvement services. He is the chair of the Chesterfield College Group and also a director of e-Memoir, a web based CPD provider, and former chair of The White Rose College of Beauty and Complementary Therapies.

With experience of addressing large conferences, as well as delivering in-house staff development for education and training providers, he has developed a well-earned reputation for engaging with a wide range of audiences with energy and humour. As one attendee said recently of Beej, “He puts the FUN into FUNDING!

Charlotte Bonner

National Head of Education for Sustainable Development, Education & Training Foundation

Charlotte has over fifteen years’ experience working in the sustainability and education sectors leading transformational engagement and development programmes.

She is currently the National Head of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at the Education and Training Foundation where she is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of their ESD work as well as being the policy and advocacy lead for sustainability.

Prior to joining the ETF she was a keystone of NUS’ sustainability work, most notably project managing the UNESCO ESD prize winning Green Impact programme from its inception. She is one of the co-founders of Students Organizing for Sustainability International and led on their partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme. She’s previously held senior teaching associate positions at the University of Bristol and was a sustainability consultant prior to her tenure at NUS.

Alex Houghton

National Account Manager, Ascentis

Alex joined Ascentis in March 2021 and is the National Account Manager for Ascentis. Alex supports our centres nationally and leads the Account Management and New Business team. He enjoys talking to the Ascentis centres throughout the UK, discussing our range of qualifications and seeing how best they can support the centres learners.

Kedijah Eaves-O'Connor

Project Manager at Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK)

Kedijah currently works as a Project Manager for Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK). Her work mostly consists of engaging students and young people with sustainability and climate justice through various types of programmes, projects and campaigns. 

Kedijah studied BSc Environmental Science at Manchester Metropolitan University, which is where she found her love for environmental education through the Carbon Literacy Project. Kedijah then studied MSc Environmental Leadership and Management at the University of Nottingham, specialising in climate change. Her dissertation centred around environmental education, and how increasing student knowledge/inciting behaviour change can help the University of Nottingham to socially adapt to climate change.  

Kedijah enjoys long walks in nature with her family, reading and collecting books of different genres and cooking delicious vegetarian and vegan meals.

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Sam Kendall 

Education Manager, Eden Project

Sam leads all of Eden’s work with schools, young people and their teachers and has done so since 2010. She’s been a member of Eden’s Education Team since the project opened in 2001, establishing Eden as a must-go school visit destination for schools across the UK and maintaining a focus on high quality teaching and learning across Eden’s learning programmes – at Eden and online. Her passion is sharing Eden's mission; to connect people with the living world and with each other to create a sustainable future for all, with children, young people and their teachers. Following a first degree in Natural Science at Jesus College, Cambridge, she qualified as a primary school teacher, with science specialism, in 1997 and worked in schools in Bristol, Cornwall, Karachi and South Africa prior to joining Eden in 2001. She has recently completed a MSc in Environment and Human Health.

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Konnie Huq 

TV Presenter

We are delighted to welcome Konnie Huq as our headline speaker at this year’s Ascentis National Conference. Whilst you probably know her as the longest-serving female presenter on from Blue Peter, you may not be aware that she is passionate about saving the planet. Konnie is keen to promote a culture where it is cool to recycle and we will look at how to get that message across through environmental education. Konnie’s keynote will focus on sustainability and consumerism - what the future holds. 

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Leicester Adult Skills and Learning Service Speaking about Ascentis English & Maths Stepping Stones

Ascentis has a fantastic suite of English and Maths Stepping Stones qualifications which enable learners to focus on specific skills, build their confidence and progress onto further learning. This testimonial video features Leicester Adult Skills and Learning Service who outline the benefits to them and their learners of using these qualifications.

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The City of Liverpool College Speaking about Ascentis Access to Higher Education

Access to HE with Ascentis - We Make a Difference. Watch our Testimonial and hear how it makes a difference to learners and the opportunities it brings.

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Best Practice People Speaking about Ascentis Short Online Qualifications

The Ascentis Short Online Qualifications are delivered in many centres across the UK and help to support learners’ Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare. Listen to Ascentis Customer, Best Practice People talk about how effective the Ascentis Short Online Qualifications are and how they successfully aid their NEET learners, improving skills and confidence in turn helping them secure employment.

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