Jim Farmery

Sector Development Manager

Wakefield Council

Jim leads on a development programme for Wakefield Council focussed on growing the number of creative and technology businesses in Wakefield with emphasis on key strategic sites in the Civic Quarter of Wakefield, Rutland Mills and the partnership with Tileyard Studios and Production Park in South Kirkby. Jim’s previous role was Director of Business Investment of Creative England, a £10m national programme investing in creative businesses working in TV, film, games and digital media across the country. Jim started his technology career at J Sainsbury plc, moved to Pace Micro Technology in Digital TV technology and subsequently to the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward for ten years in economic development.

Michelle Whaite

Founder and Director

Leaders-Ship Training Solutions

Michelle Whaite is the Founder and Director of the Leaders-Ship Training Solutions, specialising in values based, people-centred leadership development. She has delivered keynote speeches, seminars and workshops in the North and South of England, Switzerland, Spain and in the USA. For the last 12 years, she has hosted regular on and offline Business Mastermind Groups sharing sales, marketing and leadership strategies to help business owners connect with impact leading to more influence in the workplace. She holds a First Class Degree in Business Management with Leadership and a Level 6 Diploma from the Chartered Management Institute (The CMI) and shares leadership principles that helps develop the leader within. Michelle is an accredited John Maxwell International Speaker, Trainer And Coach. Currently, Michelle is the only Leadership Game (Assessment Tool) Facilitator in Wakefield and looks forward to bringing this fantastic diagnostic tool to local business owners, schools and colleges to help with staff development and team building. Similarly she enjoys working with our young future leaders as a Barclays Life Skills Facilitator and regularly gives guest lectures at Universities in Yorkshire on how to become a person of influence using effective storytelling at interview. Michelle was involved last month with the #JMTGYI (John Maxwell Team Global Youth Initiative) set to reach 500,000 youths across the world sharing the YouthMax program to help students understand how to turn a loss into a win.

Ian Wainwright

Assistant Principal

Commercial Development and External Relations, Wakefield College

Originally from Leeds, Ian has studied and worked in a number of places in the UK and beyond, beginning his career in the USA working for a car rental company. Ian is very pleased to be back in his native Yorkshire since starting with Wakefield College in August 2011 where he works as Assistant Principal for Commercial Development and External Relations. Outside work, Ian has two children who take up most of his spare time. Ian is a keen traveller, speaks passable German, and likes to get outdoors when he can.

Ross Bennett

Commercial Director

Engaging Education

Ross Bennett is the Commercial Director and one of the founding partners of Engaging Education. He established the organisation as part of an after school project during Year 10 of Secondary School, where his passion for business and education was ignited.

Alongside a team of twenty other students, Ross developed a series of storybooks which aimed to engage children and improve literacy skills.

Ross is committed to improving the life chances of young people. This is evidenced through his positions as Chair of the Hull Youth Enterprise Partnership, Vice-Chair of Governors at Goole Academy and Governor at the Freeston Academy. He has also advised Lord Young for his Parliamentary Report; ‘An Education System Fit for an Entrepreneur’ and was actively involved in the promotion and development of HRH the Duke of York’s IDEA Programme (aiming to develop digital skills in the younger generation). Crucially, Ross understands the challenges faced by academies, schools, multi-academy trusts and the people within. He has a proven track record of working alongside Principals, CEO’s, Senior Leaders and students to develop and implement communication strategies – utilising a wide range of media.

Ross graduated from Loughborough University with a 2:1 degree in Management Sciences (BSc) honours and has since helped to develop Engaging Education into a successful, innovative creative studio solely focussed on the education sector.

Annette Valentine

Employer Support Manager

Tomorrow’s Engineers

Annette is the Employer Support Manager for Tomorrow’s Engineers covering Yorkshire and the Humber. Annette’s role is to foster collaborative partnerships and encourage employers in the region to join the Tomorrow’s Engineer’s network; supporting and working alongside them to inspire the next generation of engineers and help build the local talent pipeline.

Before joining EngineeringUK, Annette was the Business Development Manager and Government Account Holder for the Nuclear AMRC; part of the wider AMRC Group attached to the University of Sheffield. Her role involved helping companies win new contracts and grow their business in the nuclear sector by working with them to develop their capability and sectoral knowledge.

Prior to this, Annette was with the Regional Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward for 9 years, leading, developing and delivering a range of projects and programmes across the region; many of which were focused on the development of workforce skills in key sectors like engineering.

Conrad Burdekin

How to Engage Children to Write:

Practical, engaging methods to ensure that primary school aged pupils (especially boys!) will not only write, but will WANT to write!

My name is Conrad Burdekin and I am a local writer, storyteller and poet. For the last decade I have been visiting Primary Schools in our area to help inspire children to write and to think more creatively. I have visited well over 200 schools and am frequently invited to return to many of them.

I believe that every child has the capacity to be creative and, through my stories, poems and workshops I am able to unlock that creativity within the pupils with whom I work. I will share examples of how I have been able to do this and how I believe that my workshops can enhance pupils’ Primary School experience.

I also train student teachers, newly qualified teachers, and established teachers, as well as running creative workshops within the business sector.

I have written five books for children – four of them poetry books and one a rhyming picture book – and am currently working on my sixth book.

Please feel free to visit my website at www.conradburdekin.com or contact me on conrad.burdekin@sky.com to find out more.