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 Board
Debra Williams has been the Chair of the Careers Wales Board since April 2016. A board level professional operating at both Chair, Non-Executive and Executive levels, Debra has tangible expertise in transforming business through leadership, E-Commerce distribution channels and creating profitable disrupter models. She has overseen considerable change during her time at Careers Wales including launching and achieving the strategy set out in Changing Lives to provide a more flexible organisation that supports an all age service across Wales.
When asked what Debra would like Careers Wales to achieve, she said:
Careers Wales is the only place to get impartial advice. Your career is unique to you, I want to see Careers Wales as the place people of all ages come to when they need impartial and confidential advice and guidance on all aspects of their journeys."
Qualifications and Achievements
Debra's qualifications include:
- Information Management Award CRM Winner 2000
- Welsh Woman of the Year (Innovation) 2006
- Top 200 Business Women 2007
- FastTrack 25 Business Award 2014
- Life Time Achievement Award 2014
- Doctorate (Hon.) – Swansea University 2015
- Ty Hafan business ambassador 2017
- High Sheriff 2020
Debra's other roles:
- Trustee - Alacrity Foundation - 2016 to current
- Non-Executive Director (NED) – Milford Haven Port Authority (MHPA) -2018 to current
- Audit & Risk Committee
- Remuneration Committee
- Non-Executive Director (NED) – Principality Building Society - 2019 to current
- Technology Committee
- Governance & Nominations Committee
- Chair – Local Democracy & Boundaries Commission - 2020 to current
- Non-Executive Director (NED) – Co-op Insurance - 2020 to current
Erica Cassin has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since September 2020.
She has over 20 years experience in HR, including roles as HR 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 include:
- 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
Professor Susan Maguire
Professor Susan Maguire has been a member of the Careers Wales Board since 2017 and is the Chair of Performance and Impact Committee. She has invaluable knowledge and expertise in youth transitions and has experience of working as a Careers Adviser in schools, further education and higher education.
In an academic career spanning thirty years, Sue’s research activity has focused on youth transitions, and specifically the challenges faced by disadvantaged and disengaged groups of young people. This has included leading large-scale, multidisciplinary studies, which have measured the use of innovative policies aimed at incentivising young people’s participation in education, employment and training (EET). She has advised policymakers both nationally and internationally.
When asked what Professor Susan would like Careers Wales to achieve, she said:
To help shape the lives of citizens across Wales through an exemplary offer of quality careers guidance and work support provision."
Professor Susan's qualifications include:
- Bachelor of Arts (BA Honours)
- Diploma in Career Guidance;
Professor Susan's other roles:
- Honorary Professor at the Institute for Policy Research (IPR), University of Bath
- Associate Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE)
- Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Social and Economic Research (CASE) in Poland
Dr Taslima Begum
Dr Taslima Begum has been a Board Member of Careers Wales since February 2020.
Taslima is currently a Senior Lecturer in Computing at Cardiff School of Technologies in Cardiff Metropolitan University. She has over 16 years of experience working in higher education and further education across the subjects of Design, Computing, Media and Arts and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Her previous roles include working as a User-centred Design Researcher for PDR – a world-leading design research consultancy, a Senior Lecturer in Interactive Media and a Visiting Lecturer in Creative industries with the University of South Wales.
She has worked on a number of funded pan-Wales collaborative research projects with various private and public sector stakeholders, published academic papers and reports and supervised 2 PhD students to completion.
Her doctorate with Plymouth University studied design and technology through a cultural studies lens and her current teaching and research are focussed on technology, culture and design.
When asked what Dr Begum would like Careers Wales to achieve, she said:
To help bring about greater service accessibility and equitability to all members of society in Wales including those dispossessed and marginalised or on the periphery and to bring minority needs and voices to the table thereby further evening out representation in both our service users and deliverers."
Dr Taslima's qualifications include:
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
- Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE)
- Master of Arts (MA)
- Bachelor of Arts (BA Honours)
- Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
- Member of the British Computing Society(MBCS)
Dr Taslima's other roles:
- Senior Lecturer in Computing at Cardiff School of Technologies, Cardiff Metropolitan University
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Dr Simon Thomas Dancey
Dr Simon Thomas Dancey has been a member of the Careers Wales Board as a Trustee since August 2020.
Dr Dancey is originally from Barry and has three daughters.
The focus of Dr Dancey's work has always centred on developing research, policy and programmes designed to improve the lives of young people in some of the most marginalised contexts. He is the former CEO of Creative and Cultural Skills, the UK Skills Council for the cultural sector and was previously Global Director for Cultural Skills and Research at the British Council and British Council Director for Wales.
He has worked in the cultural sector for over twenty five years, initially as a professional musician, promoter and community activist (as Director of Community Music Wales) and subsequently at the highest levels of leadership and governance, as a CEO and research academic. He brings an extensive background in strategic leadership, management and assuring the impact and financial performance of charities and companies, alongside a passionate commitment to social justice and to Wales.
Dr Dancey has a PhD in International Policy, exploring the role of culture for social and economic transformation in the UK, Brazil and Colombia. He has worked as a cultural policy advisor to culture ministries around the globe, from Canada to Myanmar; Bangladesh to Singapore, with a focus on employability skills, internationalism and conflict resolution.
When asked what Dr Dancey would like Careers Wales to achieve, he said:
To be the best careers service not just in the UK but internationally."
Dr Dancey's qualifications are:
- PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
- BSc Econ (Joint Honours) - Bachelor of Science, Joint Honours Dip Soc - Diploma in Social Studies
Dr Dancey's other roles:
- Chair, Rubicon Community Dance Wales
- Former Trustee Arts Council of Wales
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 reaching 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 Richards' 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.
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 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 OD 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 Harris' qualifications are:
Master of Science in Human Resources Management (MSc HRM)
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner and Trainer
Registered General Nurse (RGN)
Liz Harris' other roles:
- Part Time post in NHS as a Patient Advice and Liaison Officer
- Princes Trust Mentor (voluntary)
- Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP)Consultancy
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 Price's qualifications are:
- Certificate in Further Education and Training (Cert Ed)
- Masters in Educational Management
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 Thomas' qualifications are:
- Bachelor of Arts (BA)
- Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
- Master of Science (MSc)
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 White's qualifications are:
- Bachelor of Arts BA (Hons)
- Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing (UK)
Helen White's other roles:
- Chief Executive Taff Housing
- Board Member TPAS Wales
- Board Member Tec Quality
- Board Member WCVA
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 in 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 Smith's qualifications are:
- LLB (Honours)
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 Coughlan's qualifications are:
- Bachelor of Science Information Technology
- Masters of Sciences Artificial Intelligence
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 Clark's qualifications are:
- Financial Conduct Authority
Andrew Clark's other roles:
- Independent member of the Audit Risk and Assurance Committee of Audit Wales
- Governor of Coleg Gwent
- Independent member of the Audit Risk and Assurance committee of the AQA Examinations Board
- Member of the ICAEW strategy board for Wales