Birmingham City University and Partners National Apprenticeship Week Event

Date: Thursday, 10th February, 2022

Time: 2pm to 3:30pm

Price: Free of charge

Location: Online/Live stream

Organised by:

Birmingham City University Logo

Supported by:


Join us with leads from Arcadis, Bakkavor, BBC, Design Buro, The FSE Group, National Express and NHS Trust as they share their experiences on apprenticeships.

Professor Peter Francis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham City University, will lead a question panel of experienced apprentice employers’ helping you to better understand the essential points on apprenticeships. 

In our webinar we’ll cover: the routes to onboarding new talent, equality diversity and inclusion in the selection process, optimisation of levy, lifelong learning and the seamless pathway to higher level skills.

Why you should attend this webinar

The employer panel includes representatives that offer a wealth of experience covering multiple sectors benefiting from apprenticeships:

  • Arcadis
  • BBC
  • Bakkavor Group
  • Design Buro Architects
  • FSE Group
  • National Express
  • NHS


This event is being produced by Birmingham City University (BCU), with support by the Birmingham Metropolitan College, Solihull college and University Centre, South and City Birmingham College and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of technology. 

The aim of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology (GBSIoT)* is to support performance of businesses and their supply chain to meet their customer demand and maintain business through the current economic environment.


Photo of Professor Peter Francis - Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Birmingham City University

Panel Chair:

Professor Peter Francis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Birmingham City University

Industry: Manufacturing

Speaker: Cathy Hough, Group Early Careers Manager, Bakkavor Group

Industry: Architecture

Speaker: Helen Whinray, Director, Design Buro Architects

Industry: Transportation

Speaker: Lee Sandford MSc AAE FIMI, Engineering Training Manager, National Express

Industry: Built Environment

Speaker: Colin Buckle, Project Manager and Chartered Civil Engineer, Arcadis

Photo of Catherine Sumner, Scheme Manager, BBC Academy

Industry: Engineering

Speaker: Catherine Sumner, Scheme Manager, BBC Academy

Industry: Healthcare

Speaker: Helen HurstDirector of Midwifery, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust

Industry: Business

Speaker: Andy Moss, Head of Funds, Midlands, The FSE Group

Photo of Professor Peter Francis - Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Birmingham City University

Professor Peter Francis

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Birmingham City University

Professor Francis has overseen an array of key projects during his career including responses to the Teaching Excellence Framework, the development of a package of Degree Apprenticeships and business transformation programmes on Technology, People, and Student Outcomes. In his current DVC role at Birmingham City University, he provides strategic leadership holding responsibility for subject portfolio, academic partnerships, student performance and planning, support for students, and all aspects of recruitment.

Cathy Hough

Group Early Careers Manager, Bakkavor Group

Cathy Hough joined Bakkavor, as Group Early Careers Manager, in January 2020. Prior to that, she had spent most of her career working in the Further Education Sector where she undertook a number of roles, gradually working her way up from Trainer/ Assessor to Director of Workforce Development for a number of large FE Colleges. Between 2018 and 2020, she was heavily involved with End Point Assessment, as a bid writer for several accredited EPA organisations, and speaking at events around the UK to spread the word about the positive impacts and benefits of Apprenticeships for employers to sustain the talent pipeline.

Helen Whinray

Director, Design Buro Architects

Helen joined Design Buro in 2001, and joint purchased the practice in 2019. She has over 25 years’ experience in Architectural Practice. Since joining Design Buro she has specialised in healthcare design and is trained as both an Architect and Architectural Technologist. Helen also applies her enthusiasm for high quality design working on healthcare projects across the country as a Design Quality Accredited Assessor facilitating Design Quality Indicator workshops. Design is of particular interest to Helen, and she strives to ensure quality in all aspects from overall design to final details. Helen does this successfully by developing projects from initial strategic stages with the client, to realisation and matching client’s expectations, ensuring a quality solution, which is patient/ user led and accessible to all.

Lee Sandford MSc AAE FIMI

Engineering Training Manager, National Express

Lee has worked for National Express for 21 years in multiple roles, across both operations and engineering. As part of his current role, he is involved in recruitment into, and the development of, Bus and Coach Engineering Technician apprentices into National Express. This journey has lead him to become a key stakeholder in the creation of the National Express Engineering Training Academy in partnership with South and City College Birmingham where the company now has around 40 students undertaking their apprenticeship.

Colin Buckle

Project Manager and Chartered Civil Engineer, Arcadis

Colin has 22 years in the civil engineering sector. His current work involves projects of various sizes from £5m to £150 for both national and local client. However alongside his day job he also providers support and guidance to young professionals progressing in careers including civil engineering, project management, surveying and ecology.

Photo of Catherine Sumner, Scheme Manager, BBC Academy

Catherine Sumner

Scheme Manager, BBC Academy

Catherine leads the Broadcast Engineering and Operational schemes for the BBC, She helped develop the current apprenticeship standards in this field with academic and industry partners, becoming the chair of the trailblazer group a year ago. She works closely with Birmingham City Uni on the BEng and MSc early careers and staff apprenticeship schemes. Her broadcast career started at ITN, followed by a move to the BBC on a Studio Manager training scheme (sound operator). She worked at the World Service on English and foreign language output, in studios, out on location, and as the training lead. When MediacityUK was built, she moved back home to the north west and started a Deputy Operations Manager role overseeing the operational teams working on the BBC Radio 5 live output. A short secondment to the BBC Academy exposed her to the world of apprenticeships and she was delighted in 2017 when I became the Scheme Manager. Catherine is currently experiencing life as an apprentice by undertaking the L5 HR Consultant Partner apprenticeship herself!

Helen Hurst

Director of Midwifery, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust

Following qualification as a nurse at the beginning of her career, Helen then moved into maternity services where she practised as a midwife before taking on the role of midwifery sister on a labour ward. To date she has already over 32 years’ experience in the NHS, becoming a head of midwifery in 2015, then director four years later. A member of the Chief Midwifery Officer for England’s Senior Advisory Group and the new chair of West Midlands Directors and Heads of Midwifery Group, Helen is passionate about reducing health inequalities and ensuring equity for all staff.

Andy Moss

Head of Funds, Midlands The FSE Group

Andy joined The FSE Group in May 2020, as Head of Funds for the Midlands, focusing on delivering the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. Andy previously spent 34 years with Lloyds Bank, building a strong network in the finance community across the Midlands region. He has led teams across the SME sector, where he specialised in manufacturing and for the last 3 years, working with large corporates.