September 13th 2018 | University of Strathclyde, Technology & Innovation Centre


Jamie Hepburn MSP

Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills

Jamie Hepburn is the elected Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth constituency - representing the area he lives in with his family. First elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2007 to represent the Central Scotland region, Jamie was elected to represent Cumbernauld and Kilsyth in 2011, and re-elected as the area's parliamentary representative in 2016.

Barry McCulloch

Senior Policy Advisor, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

Barry McCulloch is the Senior Policy Advisor for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland – the country’s largest and most influential direct-member business organisation.

A passionate advocate of the importance of small businesses in the economy, Barry has a keen interest in entrepreneurship, transport, education and skills, City Deals and employment. He represents FSB on the Joint Skills Committee of Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB).

Barry’s career has predominantly focused on local and national economic development across the public, private and third sectors, having previously advised think tanks, quangos and economic development bodies.

A graduate of three Universities, Barry lives in the Southside of Glasgow and is a keen cyclist in his spare time.

Gillian McBride

Process Capability Lead and Former Apprentice, Diageo

Gillian started an engineering apprenticeship with Diageo at the Kilmarnock ‘Johnnie Walker’ factory and at that time, she was the first female engineering apprentice in Diageo.  Throughout her apprenticeship and beyond she has been sponsored by Diageo through higher education, gaining an HNC in engineering systems and a BEng in Engineering Management.  After becoming time served and working on the factory floor as a maintenance electrician for a couple of years, she moved into the Process Capability team where she was responsible for testing and approving component and pack changes whenever they were requested, such as during brand change projects, material supplier moves and capex delivery.  She then moved to the Leven site where she was the Deployment Manager on the Gordon’s gin redesign project, the operational lead for the replacement of two production lines with one high speed line and the introduction of a new Gordon’s gin pack. In her current role she manages the Process Capability team at Leven, a team of technicians working across four production halls.  

Rosie Wilkins

Scotland's Apprentice of the Year 2017

My career in hospitality started at The Torridon Hotel, I joined the team as a seasonal member of staff, but after being asked if I would like to join the Scottish Apprenticeship in Hospitality I decided to stay. It is a three year programme and I have worked my way through four different departments to now be the Front of House supervisor. I really enjoy what I do and have discovered my passion for the hospitality industry. Of all four departments front office has been my favourite, and I am now studying my SVQ level 3 with a focus on this. My ambition is to become a general manager. I feel very privileged to have started my career at The Torridon and to have been part of such an amazing apprenticeship scheme, I have learnt from the best and have been fully supported and inspired throughout my apprenticeship.

Suzanne Sherry

Early Careers Manager, Arnold Clark

Suzanne Sherry has been with Arnold Clark since 2010, joining the Group after 19 years in corporate banking. Initially recruited in an administration role, she’s progressed through the business and now leads the company’s Early Careers team as Early Careers Manager.

Suzanne is a passionate advocate of young people and apprenticeships and has been a leading force behind the Group’s apprenticeship programme since September 2013, when she became Work Experience Coordinator for the Group.

Her team works closely with secondary schools in 32 local councils to promote work experience opportunities at Arnold Clark. In 2018, Suzanne led a company-wide rebrand of apprenticeships and spearheaded the launch of an interactive mobile apprenticeship experience that travels across the country promoting apprenticeship opportunities at Arnold Clark. Over the years, she’s forged and fortified partnerships with organisations including the Prince’s Trust, Developing the Young Workforce and Skills Development Scotland. She derives great satisfaction from giving young people their first opportunity in the working world and is motivated by helping them secure a bright future.

Suzanne lives with her partner Alan and has a little girl, Gracie. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with friends and family, going to the cinema and reading.

Susan Mackay

Managing Consultant, SQW

Susan is a Managing Consultant at SQW, one of the UK’s leading economic and social research firms. She has 15 years’ research and consultancy experience, focussed predominantly on building the evidence base to inform investment in skills, careers and employer-led skills initiatives.

Susan managed delivery of the first set of Regional Skills Assessments, as well as updates to the evidence base for a series of sectoral Skills Investment Plans, all on behalf of Skills Development Scotland and partners. Other recent work includes in-depth research into young people’s experiences of education and training and an evaluation of the Developing the young Workforce Regional Groups, both on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Elsewhere, Susan is managing delivery of a Best Practice Programme for the National Careers Service in England and the provision of Evaluation Services to the Careers and Enterprise Company, which aims to improve young people’s transitions from education to employment through increased exposure to employers and the world of work.

Prior to joining SQW in 2013, Susan worked for SDS where she led the development of the first Evaluation Strategy for the organisation. She previously worked for Slims Consulting specialising in economic and labour market analysis for sectors and regions.

Dr Gill Stewart

Director of Qualifications Development, SQA

Gill Stewart is the Director of Qualifications Development within SQA with responsibility for the development of qualifications and services to meet the needs of schools, colleges, training providers and employers. Gill has led a number of successful large scale developments in education and skills, including vocational reforms and international projects. Currently Gill is working with SDS in a range of projects in the skills area including developing Foundation Apprenticeships and the future shape of National Occupational Standards.

Previously Gill worked in the University sector. Gill holds a BSc (First Class) from Edinburgh University, a PhD from the University of Glasgow and a range of leadership qualifications including the IoD Certificate in Company Direction.