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Meet Our Team


Philip Burch

Founder and Director

Philip Burch

Philip has had a lifelong association with work-based, vocational learning in catering establishments in London, Paris and the West Midlands. He discovered early in his working life that through the further education system he could help students find their niche in catering. This not only gave him a buzz, but gave students a real sense of pride and achievement which they gained in vocational aptitude, practical skill and confidence: turning second chances into real successes.

His career led him into operational and strategic management in the FE sector developing people, students, systems and the curriculum. His own professional achievements validate taking a skills-based route into a satisfying and successful career. Philip led the successful Aimhigher project in Northamptonshire for 7 years.

From these fundamental principles Philip is a founder Director of the similar organisation “Aimhigher Northamptonshire Ltd”, a not for profit company working with young people in schools, colleges and the workplace to support their progression to the next level of learning.

His passion for progression among disadvantaged groups is also embodied in the principles of The Progression Trust where he is Director of Compliance and Quality.

Philip sees the potential for ‘second chance’ principles to be realised through the both organisation’s activities. He believes that providing an awareness of appropriate educational and vocational opportunities and the aspiration to capture them, young people will develop and apply a positive, systematic approach to their journey through education, training and work which will provide benefits for them.

Telephone: 07896 746035


Ann Comerford

Director

Ann Comerford

Ann originally came to Aimhigher at the start of the project in May 2003 and was the Project Administrative Officer. Her role was to support the Co-ordinators and the Development Officers in the planning and organisation of events both internally and externally, maintain diaries and calendars and to control all the financial processes for the project. She was also responsible for HR for the team and was the lead on communications for the project. The role and the range of responsibilities grew as did the project over the years and Ann remained with the project to its close at the University of Northampton in October 2011.

Ann has a strong sense of value for the ethos of the Aimhigher project and the work it undertakes and was determined that there should be an opportunity for this work to continue. She wants the new Aimhigher Northamptonshire Ltd to have the opportunity to succeed for the young people of the future. She is aware that we are operating in difficult times, but we have a good brand, a range of services to offer together with qualified and capable staff as part of the team. She knows that we need to support and overcome a range of obstacles to ensure that our young people can progress to their next level of learning, and yes it can be done.

Working with our Partners is also a valuable part of the work we do and being able to work collaboratively on some of our projects has proved and will continue to prove to be invaluable. We are grateful to those who have support us in the past and are continuing to support us now, but also to those who are new contacts, welcome and we look forward to new and exciting ventures.

Telephone: 01536 413435 or 07521 153701

Email: office.aimhigher@gmail.com


Helen Aouina

Associate

Helen Aouina

Helen has worked in the education sector for over 10 years. Her work has ranged from being a Teaching Assistant in Primary Schools to more recently being appointed as a Careers Guidance Counsellor in Secondary Schools. However much of Helen's experience in supporting young people has come from working in student facing roles at two large FE colleges; she was the Aimhigher Co-ordinator and Personal Tutor for Engineering students at Milton Keynes College and a Student Services Executive at Tresham College. A key position that Helen has held is that of Development Officer for FE and WBL at Aimhigher Northamptonshire where she was responsible for raising awareness and aspirations in relation to alternative routes into Higher Education. Once the official government-funded project had ended in 2011, Helen continued to work with Phil and Ann on a freelance basis and delivered on the successful Enable NEET project. Helen completed the Information, Advice and Guidance NVQ Level 4 in 2011 and has been putting this valuable qualification into practice ever since.

She believes in seeing and bringing out the best in people, and supporting them to achieve their full potential so is therefore very well-suited to her career in working with young people.


Mary Richardson

Consultant

Mary Richardson

Mary began a long teaching career in Derbyshire and has taught in Northamptonshire for 26 years. She held a variety of leadership and management roles in schools, most recently as Director of 6th Form, Director of Vocational Faculty and Principal Director as part of the College Leadership Team. Her involvement in a wide range of post-16 initiatives has included developing links between the A level curriculum and work experience and curriculum development which has focused on post -16 vocational and work related areas. Her success was externally validated by two Ofsted inspections which judged her leadership as ‘very good’.

More recently Mary worked for Aimhigher Northamptonshire firstly as the Northampton Co-ordinator. One of Mary’s particular concerns was that there was little in the way of careers education within the school curriculum and she was delighted to have the opportunity to develop some materials to help practitioners in schools. During her time with Northamptonshire Aimhigher, Mary has produced many resources and has developed presentations on a wide range of topics related to careers and progression post 16 and post 18.

Over the last 3 years Mary has worked as an education consultant in many schools and colleges delivering revision/study sessions to students and parents in addition to her recent role in Northamptonshire as Retention Project Co-ordinator (post 17) and designing and delivering activities and events for the Work Related Curriculum in schools.  She is currently working part time as a careers consultant in a local secondary school in addition to her work with Aimhigher.


Paul R Cheesborough

Associate and Director & Co Founder Futures Placed

Paul R Cheesborough

Over the past 15 years Paul has been involved in many entrepreneurial enterprises encompassing IT, Logistics and Service solutions. His specialist knowledge of the business world, as well ashis understanding of people within the workplace, has given him a rich insight into employment and best practices that have led to many successful positions with industry sectors. “I’m passionate about inspiring people to realise their potential. I believe that with a focused approach, people can truly achieve anything"


Rhoda Lawes

Associate

Rhoda Lawes

Rhoda is an experienced youth and schools worker and has worked with young people in Northampton for over 15 years.

She has experience in both primary and secondary school settings and has delivered small group and pastoral support work in a number of Northampton schools. Rhoda also has a great deal of experience through her involvement in  the National Citizen Service programme (NCS).

Over the last 3 years Rhoda has been actively involved in a number of roles and last summer was both a Wave Leader and an associate trainer for the project. Alongside the schools work Rhoda is engaged in running several local youth clubs, running residential trips and working with us at Aim Higher delivering a number of different projects.

When not working Rhoda enjoys taking photographs, traveling and drinking coffee!


Rina Patel

Internal Verifier for AIM Awards

Rina Patel

Rina graduated in 2002 with a BA Hons in Human Resources.  She has worked as a Study Coach at Waltham Forest College were she was head hunted by Connexions.  She trained as a Personal Advisor with Connexions  specialising in teenage parents and teenage pregnancies, which involved working with a range of other support agencies. This role she was involved with in both London and Northampton.  She took the decision to become self employed in 2008 as an assessor, and careers advisor.  She is qualified as IQA, gained her PTLLS and in 2013 graduated with a PGCE

She is currently engaged as the Internal Verifier for Aimhigher's accrediated qualifications


Russell Cole

Associate and Director & Co Founder of Futures Placed

Russell Cole

As a previous owner of two successful recruitment consultancies, Russell has a background within the world of recruitment spanning over 17 years. He has a deep understanding of the recruitment “process” encompassing the many aspects required to help people find the right employment opportunities. “Recruitment is about understanding people’s needs and providing a service that works”.


Tony Richardson

Consultant

Tony Richardson

Tony graduated in 1972 with a BSc Hons in Civil Engineering from Coventry University.  After spending 10 years in the construction industry he completed a PGCE in Mathematics at Leicester University and started teaching in 1983, rising to Head of a large Mathematics Faculty and then to Assistant College Principal.

During his 30 years in the teaching profession Tony has taken 1000s of students through GCSE and Advanced level Mathematics qualifications, consistently producing outstanding results.  He has a dynamic and energetic approach to teaching.

In the last few years Tony has delivered master classes in Mathematics in many schools across the country and has also been involved in delivering motivational workshops for year 11, 12 and 13 students.


Keith Sproxton

Consultant

Keith Sproxton

Keith Sproxton has worked in Secondary Education in Northamptonshire for 30 years, primarily as a Drama and English teacher.

He has also had involvement in pastoral care, Inclusion, Key Skills, Citizenship and 6th form Guidance.

Now retired from full-time teaching, he has worked with Aimhigher since January 2012.


Amy Bridges

Associate

Amy has worked in the education sector for the past 6 years, within Secondary Schools, Further Education Colleges and Higher Education Institutions.  Her main experience came from working as a Guidance and Liaison Office and then as a Student Services Executive at Tresham College.  She is currently working as a Careers Guidance Councellor in Northamptonshire Secondary Schools. 

Amy is currently completing the Level 4 Diploma in Careers, Information and Advice at Northampton College and she has previously acheived a Certificate in Counselling Skills.