The UVAC team consists of a small group of highly committed and enthusiastic individuals who share a passionate belief in the value of higher vocational learning. Some of the team members are based at UVAC’s office – situated within the University of Bolton – whilst others work from locations around the UK. For direct contact information plus short biographies and job descriptions follow the links below:
- Professor Graham Baldwin, Chair
- Dr Mandy Crawford-Lee, Chief Executive Officer
- Karen Jones, Finance Associate
- Rebecca Rhodes, Associate Director
- Adrian Anderson, Senior Associate
- Dr John Lanham, Associate
- Dr Stan Lester, Associate
- Professor Elizabeth Cleaver, Associate
Professor Graham Baldwin - Chair
Vice Chancellor, UCLan
Graham is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire having previously been the Vice-Chancellor of Solent University, Southampton for five years. Prior to joining Solent, he also worked at the University of Central Lancashire in a number of senior-management roles, culminating in the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor. He also had a mid-career secondment into the nuclear industry where he worked as the National Skills Research Director for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
He is Chair of the Maritime Skills Commission, Chair of the Lancashire Innovation Board, Deputy Chair of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), the Treasurer of Million Plus, the Association for Modern Universities, and sits on the Board of the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. He has extensive Board experience and sat as a member of the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership as well as previously chairing the Board of Kendal College and the boards of various charities and companies with a range of functions from a dental clinic to scientific consulting.
He has a First Degree in Sport Studies from the Madeley School of Physical Education, a Master’s Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough University and a Doctorate in Exercise Physiology from the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Wales, Bangor. He is a qualified teacher of Physical Education with a PGCE from the University of Wales.
He is an Honorary Professor at Hebei University and a Visiting Professor at the National Academy of Education Administration in Beijing. In 2014 Hebei Province, China conferred on him the title of ‘Outstanding Foreign Expert’.
A lifelong sports enthusiast, Graham played rugby until injury forced him to retire and turn to the gentler pursuit of cycling, which he still does today.
Dr Mandy Crawford-Lee - Chief Executive
Having worked extensively with government departments, providers in further education, higher education institutions, awarding organisations, professional bodies and public and private sector employers, Mandy has developed effective business and commercial partnerships. Mandy specialises in research, leadership of strategic projects and in skills policy advice, development & implementation including advocacy and lobbying. Higher and degree apprenticeships and higher technical, professional education and skills are her fields of interest. She is also an Associate Editor of UVAC’s official journal, Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning (HESWBL) and has helped grow the journal from 3 issues a year to 5 and more than 40,000 downloads each year, as well as guest editing special issues on higher and degree apprenticeships.
Having worked with UVAC since 2012, both inside and outside of Government, Mandy became its director of policy and operations in 2017 and, in October 2021, its first female chief executive. UVAC, on behalf of its ~80 university members, has been championing Degree Apprenticeships since their introduction, and the value of vocational education for over twenty years and is regarded as the most authoritative voice on all strategic and operational aspects of higher and degree apprenticeships in England. In 2023, Mandy achieved her DProf on the theme of ‘discursive shifts in apprenticeship reform 2011-2021’.
E: [email protected] T: 07763 820713
Karen Jones - Finance Associate
Karen has been a freelance book-keeper since 1997, and has worked for UVAC since 2006. The longest standing member of the team, her primary role is the accurate maintenance of UVAC’s financial accounts. Karen is a very experienced book-keeper, providing financial services to a portfolio of local businesses. Karen also provides valuable admin support to UVAC, particularly in relation to member services and the annual conference. Prior to becoming a freelance book-keeper, Karen was North West Regional Accounts Manager for Shell UK.
E: [email protected] T: 01204 903357
Rebecca Rhodes - Associate Director
Rebecca is UVAC’s long standing associate and supports delivery of our extensive web-based technical support programme, described and appreciated by members as ” terrific sessions – they are beacons in the darkness”. She works extensively with employers of all sizes in the public and private sector on their apprenticeship and skills programmes and also with employers and universities to set up or expand their apprenticeship delivery.
Members will know that Rebecca worked previously for the Skills Funding Agency. There, among other activities, she led the expansion of apprenticeships into higher education, establishing a new network of 40 Higher Education Institutions, chaired the HEI Operational Group and was responsible for all the SFA apprenticeship funding policy aspects of the apprenticeship reform programme. This included the development and implementation of the trailblazer apprenticeship funding model, the first co-investment model for apprenticeships, and accountability for setting the funding levels and caps for each apprenticeship standard. Rebecca leads on policy relating to quality and funding in apprenticeships and technical education.
E: [email protected] T: 07720 888149