The Board of Careers Choices Dewis Gyrfa (CCDG) is responsible for the governance and compliance with the corporate governance code.
The Board's role is to satisfy that an appropriate governance structure is in place to ensure that the company operates within the policy framework set by Welsh Government.
Meet the Chair
Erica Cassin was appointed Chair of the Careers Wales Board in February 2022 and has been a board member since September 2020.
She has over 20 years experience in human resources, including roles as human resources Director for large private sector employers in UK healthcare, pharmaceutical and financial services sectors.
Erica is skilled in leading organisational change and transformation, culture change, talent and leadership development.
She has led and worked with large, diverse teams, fostering a culture of high engagement, inclusion, empowerment and collaboration
When asked what Erica would like Careers Wales to achieve, she said:
I am passionate about social mobility and enabling people to reach their full potential - I would love for Careers Wales to continue to inspire, advise and empower people from all sectors of our community to go beyond perceived boundaries and fulfil their potential, particularly those from more disadvantaged, deprived or harder to reach areas.
I also hope we continue to have a focus on the future needs of a prosperous Wales and help people build the skills and career paths needed to fulfil those needs so businesses in Wales can grow and thrive on home-grown talent."
Erica's qualifications are:
- Fellow of Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development
- Post-Graduate Certificate in Personal and Business Coaching
- Bachelor of Science (BSc Honours) Industrial Economics
Erica's other roles:
- Non Executive Director (NED)- Milford Haven Port Authority
- Mentor - Social Mobility Foundation
- Trustee - Self Management UK Limited
Meet the Board
Aled Jones-Griffith has been a Board Member of Careers Wales since January 2023.
Aled has worked in the further education sector for fifteen years. He was a faculty director at Coleg Menai and an Assistant Principal at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor. In 2018, he was appointed as Principal for Coleg Menai and Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor.
Before his career in further education, Aled held managerial posts in a variety of sectors. These included the role of Chief Executive of the Nant Gwrtheyrn National Language Centre for four years. During this time he delivered a lecture to the Smithsonian Society in Washington DC on the History of the Welsh Language. He also served as a member of the BBC Audience Council for Wales over two terms.
As well as his role as Principal, Aled has responsibility across Grŵp Llandrillo Menai for Adult and Community Learning. He also represents the Grŵp on the Creative Wales Film and TV Skills Stakeholder Group and the Creative North Wales Steering Group.
Aled is an avid sports enthusiast. He has held various roles in his local football club. He enjoys seeing young people achieving their potential and goals in all aspects of their lives. He makes it his priority to ensure that they have opportunities and support to achieve success.
Andrew Clark has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since August 2021.
Andrew Clark is a Chartered Accountant and has extensive experience of working at board level.
He is also experienced in public policy and operational delivery relating to adult education, training and skills in Wales.
When asked what Andrew would like Careers Wales to achieve, he said:
The provision of up to date and pertinent careers advice to anybody in Wales who needs that help."
Andrew's qualifications are:
- Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Andrew's other roles:
- Independent member of the Audit Risk and Assurance Committee of Audit Wales
- Governor of Coleg Gwent
- Member of the ICAEW strategy board for Wales
David Hagendyk has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since February 2020
David Matthews has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since March 2021
Emma Richards has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since November 2014 and is a Non-Executive Director and member of People Matters Committee.
Emma has skills and experiences in project and change management, leadership development, inclusive workplaces, gender equality, working in third and private sector and managing funded projects (including EU Funds).
She wishes to continue to support the organisation to meet the needs of a changing economic landscape and workforce, address inequalities through its focus on addressing stereotypes and reach those in most needs of its services. Emma wants to continue to support, empower and develop the people within Careers Wales to be the very best at what they do.
When asked what Emma would like Careers Wales to achieve, she said:
I firmly believe Careers Wales work is fundamental in growing the knowledge, skills, economy and confidence of Wales. Now, more so than ever, improving the awareness and knowledge of opportunities, raising aspirations and addressing inequality is vital to empower everyone, at all stages in their careers to reach their full potential."
Emma's qualifications are:
Member of the Institute of Leadership and Management (MInstLM)
Emma currently works at Chwarae Teg leading the Agile Nation 2 project which supports women’s selection, retention and progression in the workplace by working with women to build leadership capacity and businesses to create inclusive workplaces. She is responsible for leading the development, delivery and continuous improvement of all programme activities, ensuring delivery is on target, compliant and within budget.
Helen White has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since April 2021.
Helen is the Chief Executive of Taff Housing Association and she has a strong background in housing.
Helen has expertise in strategic leadership at both executive and non-executive levels, and in both the private and public sectors.
She also has extensive board member experience with a range of organisations and companies. Helen is a fluent Welsh speaker.
When asked what Helen would like Careers Wales to achieve, she said:
To support people across Wales to achieve their ambitions."
Helen's qualifications are:
- Bachelor of Arts BA (Hons)
- Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing (UK)
Helen's other roles:
- Chief Executive Taff Housing
- Board Member TPAS Wales
- Board Member Tec Quality
- Board Member WCVA
James Harvey has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since February 2022. He is a technology leader and entrepreneur.
James’ skills include creating clear, long-term goals. These help companies get the most from their investments and become as efficient as possible.
James is passionate about giving people of all ages the opportunity to learn and develop new skills. He is keen to help nurture talent.
When asked what James would like Careers Wales to achieve, he said:
“I want to see everybody in Wales given the support they need to find a rewarding career in their chosen field. I believe that there should be a range of entry opportunities for any industry. I would like to see education and training opening these doors for as many people as possible.”
James' qualifications are:
- Bachelor of Science Information Technology
- Certified Agile Educator
James is the Chief Executive Officer of SkyAcademy. An organisation dedicated to:
- Removing technology skills gaps
- Creating the next generation of talent.
Joni Ayn Alexander
Joni Ayn Alexander has been a Board Member of Careers Wales since January 2023
Joni is the assistant director for membership at Advance HE. Advance HE is a global charity based in the UK that supports higher education to be the best it can be.
She has a strong background in tertiary education and media.
Joni's skills include leading strategic change and communications both in executive and non-executive roles. She has diverse experience working at board level.
Joni focuses on developing people and organisations fit for future generations. This is what drew her to Careers Wales.
When asked what Joni would like Careers Wales to achieve, she said:
Through inclusive and innovative support, I want to see Careers Wales collaboratively raise the ambitions, abilities and opportunities for the people of Wales."
Joni's qualifications are:
- Bachelor of Arts Journalism
- Master of Arts International Journalism
- Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Dr Kate Daubney
Dr Kate Daubney has been a Board Member of Careers Wales since December 2022. She has worked in education for 30 years. This included 20 years in careers education and employability development. Her research and practice focuses on how individuals make progress on their career journeys.
Kate's expertise is in two key areas which are particularly relevant to Careers Wales’ clients:
- How can we enable individuals to make progress on their career journeys?
- How can we enable individuals to identify and articulate the value of everything they learn and do to enable them to access the jobs and careers they want?
She has developed an approach to describing the transferable skills developed in both pre-18 and post-18 curriculum that helps close the gap between education and work.
Kate advises a number of universities in the UK and internationally on how to implement this approach.
Kate has been the head of two UK university careers services. She is currently Director of The Careers Group federation of university careers services.
She is a keen runner and took part in the Rhyl Half Marathon in 2022. She enjoys walking on the North Wales coast and reading.
When asked what Kate would like Careers Wales to achieve, she said:
I am really excited about how Careers Wales can work with the framework in Curriculum for Wales. The cross-cutting theme of Careers and Work-Related Learning and the clear language of transferable skills in the Four Purposes open up significant opportunities to enable young people to explore and achieve their goals.”
Kate's qualifications are:
- Bachelor of Science (BSc Honours) Mathematics and Music
- Master of Arts in Sociology of Contemporary Culture
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Music
- Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
- Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Digital Education
- Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts
- Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
- Freelance Careers and Employability Consultant
Liz Harries has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since November 2017 and is the Chair of People Matters Committee and provides advice and counsel in relation to Workforce and Organisational Development.
Liz retired following 43 years experience within the National Health Service (NHS) in clinical, managerial and Workforce and Organisation Development roles, latterly leading on strategic workforce planning, role re-design and cross sectoral workforce modernisation. She has travelled the world for 18 months volunteering to help in a range of roles, ranging from sheep farming and grape picking to helping run a youth hostel off the barrier reef.
As a member of the Careers Wales Board Liz has encouraged and supported the management team and workforce leads to consider a more strategic approach to staff development and succession planning in the context of strategic business objectives. She also supported the development of an Operational Development Plan to underpin the vision for Careers Wales.
When asked what Liz would like Careers Wales to achieve, she said:
To ensure, through an understanding of the future priorities for employers across Wales, that the organisation excels in supporting individuals of all ages and capabilities to maximise their potential."
Liz's qualifications are:
Master of Science in Human Resources Management (MSc HRM)
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner and Trainer
Registered General Nurse (RGN)
Liz's other roles:
- Part Time post in NHS as a Patient Advice and Liaison Officer
- Princes Trust Mentor (voluntary)
- Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) Consultancy
Neil Coughlan has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since May 2021.
Neil Coughlan started as a Technologist and Consultant 30 years ago, and worked his way through sales, marketing and business management.
He is an entrepreneur, high performing business leader with significant commercial, people and technology experience from business start-up mode to accelerated growth of established businesses.
He is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for TiG + ThirdSpace, a cyber security service company.
When asked what Neil would like Careers Wales to achieve, he said:
I would like to help Careers Wales support the people of Wales in realising their potential, developing their ambition and resilience, and making Wales an economically stronger nation with inclusion and opportunity beyond privilege."
Neil's qualifications are:
- Bachelor of Science Information Technology
- Master of Sciences Artificial Intelligence
Richard Thomas has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since February 2020 and is also a member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee.
Following ten years working as an engineer and manager in manufacturing, Richard took up a career in education and has worked in a number of Welsh and English universities and colleges, in roles ranging from Lecturer to Assistant Vice Chancellor.
He is particularly interested in the relationship between educational institutions and employers, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education, the career and skills implications of Industry 4.0 and in the role that education plays in economic development.
When asked what Richard would like Careers Wales to achieve, he said:
I would like Careers Wales to provide meaningful opportunities for careers guidance for the people of Wales - whether they are young or older, whether they are yet to enter employment or are moving into a different stage of their working life - with a positive impact on the lives of individuals and the Welsh economy as a whole."
Richard's qualifications are:
- Bachelor of Arts (BA)
- Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
- Master of Science (MSc)
Tony Smith has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since September 2021.
Tony is a qualified accountant and has previously held a number of senior positions. Including finance, risk and audit, delivering commercial, financial and regulatory compliance across retail and financial services.
He is currently the Chief Governance Officer at Principality Building Society and a member of the Executive team there.
When asked what Tony would like Careers Wales to achieve, he said:
Getting those that want to work into work"
Tony's qualifications are:
- LLB (Honours)
Co-opted Board Member’s
Member of the Careers Wales Board as a Co-opted to Board Member’s
Mary van de Heuvel
Mary van den Heuvel has been a Board Member of Careers Wales since March 2021.
She has over 14 years’ experience of working in policy and public affairs in Wales and is knowledgeable about how Wales and devolution works.
She has experience as a disabled woman and has skills in amplifying the voices of disadvantaged groups. She is adept at influencing legislative and policy change in Wales.
When asked what Mary would like Careers Wales to achieve, she said:
I am passionate about Careers Wales being open and inclusive for everyone. As someone who has been made redundant twice in a year, I know first-hand some of the challenges people face and the support needed.
Mary's qualifications are:
- Post Graduate Diploma Public Affairs
- Master of Arts English
- Master of Arts Education Studies with English
Mary's other roles:
- Member of the National Education Union Cymru management team
- Member of the Advisory Group for Wales Neurological Alliance
- Panel member for the Access to Elected Office Fund for disabled people
- Mentor for people at university
Sue Price has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since January 2021 and is a co-opted member for the Performance and Impact Committee.
Sue brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Board to support planning, performance management, policy and challenges in the education sector.
Sue is currently the Principal at Coleg Cambria, having worked in the education sector in England and Wales for 30 years, including 12 years in the Civil Service as a Director in the National Apprenticeship Service and the Skills Funding Agency.
She has experience in post 16 funding, policy, strategy, performance management, careers and WorldSkills.
When asked what Sue would like Careers Wales to achieve, she said:
To provide a sector-leading service to its customers in Wales. To ensure all young people have access to exceptional independent advice and guidance to support their career progression and life chances."
Sue's qualifications are:
- Certificate in Further Education and Training (Cert Ed)
- Masters in Educational Management