Two impressive new board members have been unveiled by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE).

Jane Hadfield and Mark McClennon have been appointed by the Secretary of State for the next five years. Both have impressive track records with supporting IfATE’s reforms that are putting employers, who understand the economy’s skills needs best, in the driving seat with shaping apprenticeships and technical education.

Jane has chaired a number of IfATE’s employer-led Trailblazer groups for health and science, which design and update apprenticeships, along with the T Level Employer Panel for Health, advising on T Levels for the sector. She is the National Lead for Apprenticeships and Talent for Care with NHS England (formally with Health Education England). Her successes were recognised when she won the Annual Apprenticeship Conference (AAC) Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Apprenticeships in 2020 for outstanding work rolling out programmes for health services across the country. She previously held multiple senior leadership roles in NHS Trusts.

Jane is employer co-chair of the influential St Martin’s Group, which represents employers and awarding organisations who support high-quality and employer-led skills training. She has also chaired the Business and Management Advisory Board for Bristol Business School, with the University of the West of England (UWE), which recently awarded her an Honorary Doctorate for widening access to education, and innovation and entrepreneurship in leadership.

She said: “I have been involved in skills for many years, with extensive insights from industry and employer perspectives, and I value above all, partnership working and collaboration with all actors towards our shared vision and goals. I am passionate about widening access and participation and ensuring opportunities are available at all levels. The cornerstone for IfATE is employer leadership, using our insights to ensure training is agile for current and future skills needs, and I will continue to amplify their views. I am delighted to have this opportunity and though we have achieved a lot, there is more to do to ensure we have the sustainable, world class system we aspire to.”

Mark McClennon started as chair of IfATE’s digital route panel in January 2019, seeing it as an opportunity to help define the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed by the next generation of digital learners and leaders. He also played a leading role developing IfATE’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which is helping to make all skills training more inclusive, along with our Digital Framework used to promote digital content in apprenticeships and technical qualifications.

As Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Burberry, he leads with how the luxury fashion brand embraces digital and more traditional technologies across the globe. Prior to this role, Mark worked at consumer goods giant Unilever for 29 years. In January 2007, he became CIO of Unilever’s North America division and, from January 2011, led the global digital transformation of all of Unilever's consumer-facing technology.

In June 2023 Mark was awarded an MBE in the King’s first birthday honours for services to further education and apprenticeships.

Mark said: “It has been a great privilege supporting IfATE’s employer led reforms, which are transforming apprenticeships and technical education for the better and making sure we keep pace with the economy’s fast evolving digital and wider skills needs. This world class skills system that we are building has to work for everyone and I’m committed to making sure people from all backgrounds reap the benefits. I relish the opportunity to take all this to the next level as a board member.”

Baroness Ruby McGregor Smith, IfATE chair, said:

“Jane and Mark are outstanding examples of employers who have helped IfATE transform the skills system for the better. I’m delighted that they have been appointed to the board and am really looking forward to working with them. Their expertise and passion for apprenticeships and technical education will be of huge service with further establishing a skills system that must keep pace with the economy’s needs and support people from all backgrounds into successful careers for generations to come.”

Jessica Leigh Jones and Dayle Bayliss have stood down as board members.

Baroness McGregor Smith added:

“We would also like to thank Jessica and Dayle for their valued contributions. We wish them the best for the future.”