The Centres


Our Plymouth Training Centre supports this area. With over 20 years experience in providing government funded training, the Plymouth centre boasts an extensive range of work based QCF qualifications and Apprenticeships. Short courses are also available.


Our Taunton Centre supports these counties. The Taunton Centre has a full range of Training Courses, and offers work based QCF qualifications and Apprenticeships..


This area is supported by our Exeter Centre. This new centre will serve the needs of employers in Devon. The Exeter Centre has a full range of work based QCF qualifications and Apprenticeships.


We can deliver Apprenticeships, Traineeships and work-based training in all areas in Cornwall in the sectors of Health & Social Care, Business Skills and Childcare. Our Business Manager, Teresa Copping, will be happy to assist you with any queries you might have such as hiring an apprentice/ trainee, funding or training for your staff.

Meet the Directors

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.


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.

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.


Non-Executive Director

Chris Davies CBE DL

Chris was appointed to the board in April 2008, having worked as a Director of Social Services for both Somerset County Council and Cardiff City Council and as a former President of the Association of Directors of Social Services. In 2010 Chris was appointed as a Deputy Lord Lieutenant for the county of Somerset. Chris became Chairman in January 2012.

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.

Sarah Hicks


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.

Jo Wren

Executive Director of Development

Jo Wren

Jo was appointed to the board in the new role of Executive Director of Development in February 2017. Having graduated from university with BSc (honours) in Consumer Product Management, her career has spanned product, brand, category, shopper and retail marketing working within SME’s (small and medium-sized enterprises) through to Global enterprises to deliver changing consumer needs established through key insights. She has held senior positions with some of the country’s most established FTSE 100 businesses.

Hazel eLearning speech

Operations Director

Hazel Lessiter

Hazel has worked for Acacia Training for over 10 years. Initially employed as the Key Skills Co-ordinator, Hazel has been promoted through the ranks and is now line managing the centres. With a high focus on quality and customer service, Hazel has helped to shape the company as it has evolved from the amalgamation of three separate training companies. Prior to her employment with Acacia Training, Hazel worked freelance as an assessor, internal verifier and training co-ordinator with several local training providers in Plymouth.

Meet the Managers
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.

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 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.

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.


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.


Quality Assurance 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. Heather was the Taunton Centre Manager for 18 months from until December 2013. Since relocating, Heather has returned to her role as Quality Assurance Manager.