ACT Strategy Board Members

We are extremely passionate about the work we do, and we are  committed to making a lasting and positive change to making a positive difference to people’s lives by providing excellent learning programmes.

To help us achieve this, whilst also ensuring we act in the best interest of our learners and the communities in which we and they live and work, we have a very talented Strategic board.

Their role is to scrutinise, challenge and support the work of ACT’s Board of Directors whilst examining the use of public funds and considering whether the best possible outcomes for learners are being achieved.

Our Strategy Board members include:

Heather Ferguson ACT Strategy Board Heather Ferguson

Heather is the Community Board representative who currently works for Age Cymru and heads up a number of sector-leading projects. Prior to this role, she was a Student Partnership Consultant for National Union of Students Wales as part of the Wise Wales project.  Wise Wales is a collaboration of sector organisations working to develop meaningful partnership between educators, students’ unions and students across Wales.

Heather also previously worked at Cardiff and Vale College as the Learner Involvement and Inclusivity Coordinator, during which time she was the founding chair of the Learner Voice Practitioner Network in Wales.  She also served as the sabbatical President of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Students’ Union.

In addition to her experience within the education sector in Wales, Heather is a qualified cognitive behavioural therapy counsellor.  She also recently completed a Masters research project at University of South Wales which focussed on clinical perfectionism and performance anxiety.


David Reeves ACT Strategy boardDavid Reeves

David has worked for companies such as Ford, Black and Decker and GEC Hotpoint and also managed three manufacturing companies. David is a past-president of Cardiff Bay Rotary Club, has been a Parent Governor in Primary and Secondary Education, and a Governor in Coleg Glan Hafren for five years.  David has also most recently chaired the CAVC/Cardiff Council Joint Committee for the newly established Eastern High School. 


Danny Saunders ACT Strategy Board Professor Danny Saunders, OBE (Chair)

Danny retired from the University of Glamorgan in 2012 where he was Head of the Centre for Lifelong Learning. Danny's current activity involves writing case studies about widening access projects, developing work based learning, identifying lifelong learning catalysts amongst older age groups, and developing new learning pathways into higher education. Danny is an Emeritus Professor at the University of South Wales Trinity Saint David. He also continues his involvement in Higher Education through managing QAA reviews, external examining, conference organising, and PhD supervision. Danny is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and in 2010 received the OBE for services to Higher Education in Wales.


Silviana Rizea ACT Strategy Board Silviana Rizea

Silviana is the Sabbatical Officer for the Cardiff and Vale College Group and is currently studying towards a BTEC Science Level 2. Silviana first came to the UK from Romania when she was 13 years old and speaks 3 languages. Silviana is an IT specialist, and has used her skills to set up a club in The Parade to help her peers to develop their IT skills. This year, Silviana became a Student Digital Leader and, because of this opportunity, has to date passed two out of three Microsoft Office Specialist Exams. 


Margaret Foster

Margaret joined the NHS in 1974 as a Graduate Management Trainee, and worked in a number of Health Authorities and trusts in South Wales for 38 years. Margaret was appointed Chief Executive of the East Glamorgan Trust in 1995 and led the organisation through three mergers until her retirement from her role as Chief Executive of Cwm Taf Health Board, a provider of integrated health services to the local population.

Currently, Margaret chairs the NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, which provides an extensive portfolio of back office functions for NHS Wales on a collaborative basis, including education commissioning for NHS Wales.

Margaret is currently a member of the Welsh Public Service Staff Commission and previously held the role of NHS Equality Commissioner for Wales. She has held a number of non-executive roles on boards including Skills for Health, Career Choices Wales, University of South Wales and the Principality Building Society.

Stephen Murphy ACT Strategy Board Stephen Murphy

Stephen is a chartered accountant who qualified in 1987. After 2 years working in corporate finance for a “big 4” firm, including a 9 month secondment to the Welsh Development Agency, Stephen has spent most of his working life in various manufacturing industries as diverse as industrial thread, metal castings and semiconductors. His career has included experience as the group controller in a highly acquisitive public company, CFO of a start-up (which then listed on AIM), and restructuring and divestment of a large private company facing funding challenges. Currently, Stephen lives in his hometown of Barry, and is a CEO of a private foundry business in the UK.


Susan Hatch ACT Strategy board Susan Hatch  

Susan has worked in the field of education and training for more than 10 years and joined ACT almost 7 years ago to work as an Internal Quality Assurer (IQA) for the Health and Social sector.  Susan has specialised in health and social care for the past 30 years and worked with the elderly, as well as children / adults with learning disabilities, , physical disabilities and mental health issues.  With her broad knowledge of this area, Susan prides herself on ensuring a high standard of delivery in work based learning.  Having grown up locally in the area and attending Barry College as a school leaver, Susan is looking forward to bringing her own first-hand experience of further education and vocational training in the workplace to the board. Susan is currently the Staff Council Chair at ACT and is proud to represent the staff at the newly formed governance board for ACT.


Julian Baker ACT Strategy Board Julian Baker

Julian has worked in a number of  high profile Learning & Development and coaching roles, notably more recently for the John Lewis Partnership. He has a passion and commitment to helping leaders develop their own coaching style, supporting and seeing the success of them bringing a coaching culture into their areas of responsibility.

Having worked as a Senior Leader, Julian is empathetic to the demands placed upon modern day leaders. With the experience and skills he brings to his coaching and facilitation relationships, he is able to use a number of development interventions including 1-1 coaching, team, holistic and action learning to support development.

Julian has worked in a variety of sectors and has a passion in supporting people to become their very best; having initiated and demonstrated successful outcomes in  a number of ILM, City & Guilds and Apprenticeship qualifications in a variety of Public and Private bodies, as well as being a qualified assessor. 


John Taylor ACT Strategy Board Mr John Taylor CBE DLit CCMI

John was appointed to the Electrotechnical Joint Industry Board in 2016 where he serves as the Chair of their Major Contractors’ Committee. He had been the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ACAS for 12 years. His previous posts include CEO of the South Wales Training and Enterprise Council, the Development Board for Rural Wales, and the Rural Development Commission. He also worked for the former Department of Employment and its agencies in several roles, including Director for the Midlands Employment Service and Private Secretary to the Minister of State for Employment. A former German Marshall Fellowship Scholar to the USA, his previous Non-Executive appointments include a Legacy Adviser to the Rio Olympics, Chair of the Careers Service for Wales, Chair of the Workers’ Educational Association for England and Scotland, Deputy Chair of the University of West London, and independent member of the NHS Partnership Board.


Leah Howell

Leah has been working at ACT since 2015 and was appointed as the Learner Representative in 2018. Leah has a real passion to make a difference to learner’s lives and particularly enjoys working with those who are vulnerable or facing barriers to learning.  Leah is a hairdresser by trade and a very creative person, whose interests include culture, travel and seeing as much of the world as possible!

Newsletter sign up
ACT is the trading name for Associated Community Training Limited | Company No. 02292330
ACT Training © 2016 Designed and Developed by Spindogs
Euro social fund Wales

The Apprenticeship, Traineeship and Jobs Growth Wales Programmes, led by the Welsh Government, are supported by the European Social Fund