Meet the Managers
Terry Sandford, Commercial Manager

Regional Commercial Manager

Terry Sanford

 

Terry joined Acacia Training in 2008 and is a qualified Life, Business and Executive Coach, who believes in developing people and organisations and helping them communicate more effectively. Running his own company for 10 years and being the past Chairman of the local Chamber of Trade and Commerce, he understands the importance of these qualities in creating a successful workplace.

Terry is passionate about training and in particular helping young people in the transition between education and work and is dedicated to helping keep local talent in the area by training them locally in the workplace.

Heather

Regional Quality & Compliance Manager

Heather Gibbs

Heather joined Acacia Training and Development in August 2009 as the Quality Assurance Manager. Previously Heather worked for a multinational Employability and Skills Training Provider in a national quality assurance and training role. Over the years Heather has gained a wealth of knowledge in learning and development, HR, office and estates management, quality improvement and lean processes. Heather was the Taunton Centre Manager for 18 months from  December 2013, then provided maternity leave cover as Workforce Learning & Development Manager in Somerset Care for 12 months before returning to her role in Quality Assurance within Acacia.

 

Heather is responsible for quality assurance throughout the Company including maintaining the Company’s quality standards for Matrix, IiP, Centre of Excellence Endorsed Provider with Skills for Care, and the current Ofsted grading of Good. Additionally Heather is also responsible for the Admin and Support teams, offices and training centres, and estates management.

Fiona Hargreaves

Regional Programme Manager

Fiona Hargreaves

 

Fiona joined Acacia Training and Development in 2010 as an Assessor and QA Assistant. Since that time she has had variety of roles which has given her broad understanding of Acacia, the value that our staff and colleagues bring and what we offer to our wider community.
Fiona has a wealth of experience in the Training sector and has worked with Apprenticeships and Work Based Learning since qualifying as an Assessor 1997. She previously worked for a large FE College in Northamptonshire as Faculty Manager for Engineering and Construction holding responsibility for the delivery of the Apprenticeship provision.

Fiona is responsible for the delivery of Apprenticeships across Acacia and is passionate about supporting and developing people to reach their full potential.

Duncan McAusland

Regional Business Development Manager

Duncan McAusland

Duncan has a wealth of experience within the education and training sector. For the last 7 years Duncan has been a Business Relationship Manager for the largest apprenticeship provider in the South West, Cornwall College Group. His responsibilities included leading a team to work with employers across the South West in the development of apprenticeship programmes, implementing the new Apprenticeship Standards and creating bespoke training programmes to suit the needs of businesses across the South West.

Sophie

Finance Manager

Sophie McKeever

After gaining a degree in Business Studies and taking an accountancy conversion course at the University of the West of England, Sophie worked for nearly ten years in audit and tax roles before moving into the industry. Sophie joined Acacia Training and Development in 2004 as an Accountant, progressing later to her current position of Finance Manager.

Meet the Directors
Hazel eLearning speech

Operations Director

Hazel Lessiter

Hazel has worked for Acacia Training for over 17 years. Initially employed as the Key Skills Co-ordinator, Hazel has been promoted through the ranks and is now line managing the business. With a high focus on quality and customer service, Hazel has helped to shape the company as it has evolved over many years.

Sue

Executive Director HR and Organisational Development

Sue Andrews BA (Hons) FCIPD

Sue joined the Somerset Care Group in 1993, becoming Group Head of HR and Training ten years later and shortly after being appointed as Director of Somerset Care’s training company, Acacia Training and Development. In 2012 Sue was admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (FCIPD) before being promoted to Executive Director of HR and Organisational Development in July 2015.

Sarah Hicks

Chairman

Sarah Hicks

Sarah joined the Somerset Care Group Board of Directors in October 2016. Sarah is Head of Private Patients and Commercial Support at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. Sarah has been a senior manager in the leisure industry, and led the turnaround of the historic Fox’s woollen mill after its acquisition by Deborah Meadon, investor and entrepreneur known for her appearances on BBC’s Dragon’s Den. Sarah has an MBA from Exeter University.

MBE, DL, Chairman

Angela Dupont

Angela was appointed to the Acacia Training and Development Group Board of Directors as Non-Executive Director in September 2017. Angela brings with her a wealth of experience of chairing large organisations, including Yeovil District Hospital, and Devon and Cornwall Housing Association. Angela was awarded an MBE in 2011 for services to healthcare.

Jane

Chief Executive

Dr Jane Townson MA (Oxon), MSc, PhD

Dr Jane Townson MA (Oxon), MSc, PhD, was appointed as Chief Executive in June 2015, after joining the Somerset Care Group Board in April 2011. Jane’s earlier career was spent working in bioscience and agribusiness and since 2005 she has been a Non-Executive Director and Senior Independent Director on the Board of the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, gaining significant experience in clinical and social care governance. She also runs her own business, providing consultancy and professional training services for organisations and individuals on the link between nutrition and health and wellbeing.

Roger Davies

Non-Executive Director

Roger Davies

Roger joined the Somerset Care Group Board of Directors in October 2016. Roger has a background in care, housing and support services for older people. His most recent executive position was as Chief Executive of Methodist Homes (MHA), one of the UK’s largest charities and foremost providers in the sector. Roger has also played a prominent role in establishing organisations such as Care England, Your Care Rating and Associated Retirement Community Operators.

Richard Ring

Non-Executive Director

Richard Ring

Richard joined the Somerset Care Group in July 2016. Alongside his role on the Board of Directors, Richard is Chief Financial Officer and Retail Operations Director for the apetito Group, which deliver meals to care homes, hospitals and people living in their own homes. Richard is also the Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President for apetito Canada.

Executive Director of Finance

Gary Ridewood

Gary joined the Somerset Care Group on Tuesday 5 September 2017. Gary is a Chartered Accountant, ACA, who has worked in the commercial sector for 26 years, after graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Economics and Accountancy from Loughborough University.

Gary has worked in a diverse range of sectors, including technology; retail, including international supply chain; distribution; wholesale; financial services; business services; recruitment; business process outsourcing; construction; and manufacturing. In these roles, he has gained experience within fast moving acquisitive and entrepreneurial environments and, as a Finance Director, he provided strategic input at Board level.