Team talk

Meet the team


John Clark, Head of Learning and Assessment Services

John joined 1st4sport in 2017 as Head of Learning and Assessment following his role as the Product & Services Manager at a specialist employer-recognised awarding organisation providing vocational qualifications and apprenticeship components to the engineering, manufacturing and building services sectors. John has worked with the various UK regulatory bodies, the Department for Education, Skills Funding Agency and UCAS.John#3

Previously in his role as Business Support & Quality Manager John and his team worked closely with higher education institutions, awarding bodies and training organisations, endorsing their generic initial teacher training (ITT) qualifications for the lifelong learning sector in England and Wales, and those for Skills for Life practitioners in ESOL, literacy and numeracy in England.

John has successfully led the implementation of a quality management system and gained ISO 9001:2008 certifications at the first attempt and in a manner which enabled all staff to be involved and fully contribute their knowledge of specialist areas.

John has always had a keen interest in a wide range of sports from football, badminton, motor racing and skiing to running and has successfully completed the London Marathon five times and the Great North Run a total of seven times. He recently completed his Level 2 Power Boat Handling course.

He started training at a local Tae Kwon-do club and when John was awarded his blackbelt several years later, he opened three clubs where he taught, coached, inspired and mentored his students on their own journey to reach their goals.

Every black belt, every expert and every master started as a white belt. Never doubt what you can achieve, if you have any interest in the Martial Arts then take that first step!

Paul Smith, Compliance and Risk Team Manager

paulsmithPaul has been working at 1st4sport Qualifications since 2006 where he joined as a Qualifications Development Officer and then quickly progressed to the position of Qualifications Development Manager. He is particularly proud of the qualifications he helped to develop for the Outdoors Sector and ‘Using Sport to Tackle Youth Crime’ both are areas in which he has previous experience. Before working here worked for a national charity designing and running personal development programmes for disaffected young people in Manchester and Rochdale.

Paul then moved on to the role of Incidents and Investigations Manager, responsible for dealing with incidents, complaints and appeals and managing the investigations that are needed for the Awarding Organisation to meet Ofqual requirements. This role has now developed into his current post: Senior Compliance and Risk Manager and encompasses incidents, risk and all things regulatory

At present he is a Level 3 Coach in Kayaking and Level 2 Coach in Open Canoeing as well as being a qualified climbing instructor, ski-boat driver and lifeguard. He previously held instructing qualifications in Archery, Orienteering, Powerboating and Jet Skiing. Paul also used to play slow-pitch Softball in Division 1 of the Manchester Softball League, go climbing and was even known to Heli-board in the Canadian Rockies!

At the moment fatherhood has limited his involvement with sport, apart from chasing after his four young children and playing Wii Sports!

Holly Martin, EQA Manager

Holly joined 1st4sport in 2017 as the compliance and Risk Officer and quickly progressed into the role of EQA Manager. In the role, Holly has been responsible for the overhaul of our EQA approach, introducing our risk based approach to EQA ensuring the EQA intervention and support is focused on those centres who will benefit from additional advice and guidance receive it more regularly. 

away from the office, Holly is a keen athlete and competes in both the 100m and 200m sprints during the summer months. She is also beginning her coaching journey for athletics, gving something back to the sport she has loved for so long.

Julie Trees, Exams Coordinator

Julie Trees joined 1st4sport in January 2019 Examinations Coordinator, responsible for working on the ACTIVTECH qualifications, developing the systems to support these more efficiently. Julie comes from working within a secondary school environment, having moved from teaching to coordinating exams. She is  enjoying the challenge of coordinating exams from a different perspective and the difference in the day-to-day noise has made a refreshing change for her.

Away from work, Julie can often be found with a racquet in her hand on her local court. She is a keen tennis fan. She loves nothing more than to play tennis at her local club and when that’s not possible, she is happy to just

Liam Binks, Centre Support and Compliance Coordinator

Liam has joined the team, moving from the Coachwise Customer Service Team to 1st4sport. He is responsible for centre recognition and qualification approval and also providing support to the Compliance and Risk Team Manager on any incidents and investigation that are in progress.

Liam is a keen Leeds United fan, attending both home and away games whenever he can – which is practically every game!

Jo Saunders, Learning and Assessment Team Manager

josaundersJo joined 1st4sport Qualifications in 2007 as a Qualification Development Officer and quickly progressed to the role of Qualifications Development Manager. In 2015 she was promoted to Senior Qualifications Development Manager, overseeing the Qualifications Development Team and the planning of qualification provision aligned to customer demand and market need. This role has now evolved to reflect the addition of learning, endorsement and end point assessment services to our offer.

Jo finds her job very rewarding and has enjoyed the challenge of working with some of the smaller governing bodies over the years to develop their coach education provision from inception to UKCC endorsement. Jo also enjoys building relationships with the various coach education teams and working together to ensure coach education remains current, engaging and effective. In her other areas of qualification development and provision, Jo has relished the challenge of learning about unfamiliar subjects and the opportunity to develop her knowledge further.

Away from 1st4sport, Jo is a keen netballer. Her love of the sport started at the age of nine, and she has played more or less continuously since then, with the ‘pinnacle’ of her career when she played at county level at school. Jo now plays 2–3 times a week for two clubs. One is Shipley Netball Club who play in the West Yorkshire league where she has held various roles over the years including team captain, committee member and website officer. The other is the Old Grovians Netball Club – a team of ex-pupils/players from her secondary school that she helped to set up in 2007, though she has now taken a playing-only role while the ‘younger ones’ take on the responsibility.

As a mother of two, Jo can also often be found at the local swimming pool, encouraging her daughters’ love of the water; at the local park, doing endless loops chasing them on trikes/bikes/scooters/roller skates; at a soft-play centre, climbing around (obviously to keep an eye on the children, not for her own enjoyment); or, occasionally, collapsed on the sofa, having a well-earned rest!

Joe Foley Corah, Qualifications Development Manager

Joe has been with 1st4sport Qualifications since 2007 where he started in the customer Service Team. Joe progressed to Senior Customer Service Representative before an opportunity to join the Learning and Assessment Team arose. Initially starting as an Assistant Qualifications Development Manager to cover a period of maternity leave, Joe displayed a real aptitude for qualification development and relationship management and as a result was promoted to Qualifications Development Manager permanently. 

Joe works with some of the larger governing bodies we partner with including the FA, the ECB and the BHA, managing these relationships well to ensure continued collaboration.

Away from the office, Joe is an avid horse racing fan and a keen footballer .

Bethan Daniel-Thomas, Qualifications Development Manager

Beth started in the 1st4sport Qualifications team in April 2018 and came from a background of coaching, tutoring and managing post-16 education programmes. She currently manages our sports performance suite, a number of coaching qualifications and community development offer. 

Beth’s love of sport began with Basketball so was very pleased to learn she would be working with Basketball England on their qualifications.

In Beth’s free time she enjoys running (but not fast), dog walking and evenings out with friends!

Kristian Hargreaves, Qualifications Development Manager

Kris joined the team in August 2018 having spent a period of time working for a National Governing Body as their Workforce Development Manager where he was pivotal in creating and launching their eLearning platform. This experience is being capitalised on in his current role where Kris is helping to guide 1st4sport into the 21st century using the knowledge gained previously to support our move to our own ‘e’ offer. As well as being our lead for technical development, Kris also looks after a range of qualifications including our ACTIVTECHs, coaching, instructing cycle training and our fitness and personal training provision.

Away from the office, Kris is a keen footballer, and is an active player for Thackley AFC and the first team coach for Leeds Trinity University. He was Highly Commended for this volunteer role in the Leeds Sports Awards 2019, receiving an award to reflect the time and commitment he has dedicated to Leeds Trinity.

Stephen Warburton, Qualifications Development Manager

Stephen arrived in September 2018, coming from a lead IQA and centre manager role, covering many angles in terms of qualification delivery, staff and training resources, working with different awarding organisations, outside of sport. He is using this experience to provide real insight into how centres would view our resources and helping to refine these to ensure they are as user friendly as possible. Responsible for our education and training suite, spectator safety, first aid and a range of coaching qualifications, Stephen is implementing his knowledge into resource design and format, to further improve the quality of the resources provided to our customers.

With a young son at home, family life keeps Stephen busy, but he manages to squeeze in a few music gigs as and when he can.

Elisha Maguire, Learning Development Manager

In 2015 Elisha graduated from the BA (Hons) Sport Development with Coaching Programmes at Northumbria University. Shortly after graduating she began her career with England Netball as a community development coach/tutor and has worked across several regions within sports development, coach education and project management. Elisha is a qualified netball tutor and coach educator and has developed local netball infrastructures to sustain participation and workforce quality standards. Elisha has also coached at all levels of the netball pathway from grass roots to performance academies. One of her notable successes at England Netball was implementing the Walking Netball programme and delivering this within the community.

Prior to joining 1st4sport, her role as a Regional Manager at Sport Works in Newcastle channelled her knowledge and skills into a coach education and management field. Elisha previously managed sport and educational provision for young people in the North-East and worked closely with a range of awarding bodies including Pearson EdExcel, ASDAN, Sports Leaders UK and the National Open College Network to provide a range of nationally recognised qualifications within Sport, Leadership, Health and Leisure. Further to this role, she provided CPD training and direct line management to the delivery workforce, whilst leading the development of new, innovative programmes in line with national funding streams to support both clients and families through the disability and inclusion offer.

During her time at University, Elisha represented the University in BUCS as a netball player with the responsibility and role as team captain and University Netball Officer. Since graduating she has stayed connected to BUCS as a performance coach for Sheffield Hallam University Netball Club where she coached the team to league promotion.

Outside of work Elisha enjoys country breaks, socialising with friends and is a keen netball player, coach and official. Elisha sits on the committee board to my local club and on the North Yorkshire coaching and performance group. She is looking forward to heading up the U13 North Yorkshire Netball Academy this season as this is where her love for netball and passion for coaching first began.

Janine Allen-Agar, End Point Assessment Manager

Janine has taken on the challenge of End Point Assessment Manager for 1st4sport. End Point assessment is a very different area of business for 1st4sport, and Janine is busy creating the resources and infrastructure we require to ensure we offer an exceptional service across the Apprenticeship Standards we have approval to assess. coning into a completely new role, Janine is enjoying the opportunity of being able to build this area from the ground up, working alongside other members of both the Learning and Assessment Team and the Compliance and Risk Team to pool resources, knowledge and experience.

Janine’s background is in graphic design, further education, work-based learning development and delivery, but, more recently, the focus has been on internal quality assurance for apprenticeship standards. In her spare time, she enjoys playing her acoustic guitar and experiencing the countryside both on foot and on two wheels with her motorbike.

Nicola Cartwright, Customer Service Manager (Learning)

Nicola joined 1st4sport Qualifications in 2000 after completing a degree in Sport and Exercise Science. After starting out in the FA qualifications team, Nicola moved on to become Head of Business Support.

Her 1st4sport Qualifications highlights have included working with the people she has met and the interaction she has with her clients, building up good relationships and delivering a service that has a positive impact. She enjoys the good team spirit within 1st4sport Qualifications and the fact her role is so varied with new challenges often being sent her way.

After retiring from football which she had played since an early age Nicola now plays tennis for her local club. She is also a member of a running club and completed the London Marathon in 2017

Debbie Livesey, Senior Customer Service AdvisorDebbie#1

Debbie  joined 1st4sport Qualifications in August  2015 as a Customer Service Advisor and looks after our football qualifications. 

Debbie finds helping recognised centres and learners responding to their queries very rewarding and enjoys working with the people in her team.

Away from work, Debbie has two daughters and four grandchildren, all of which are very sport-orientated.  Debbie’s youngest daughter plays rugby league and her eldest daughter used to manage her son’s rugby team and two of her granddaughters are involved in dance.

When Debbie gets time to unwind, she enjoys relaxing at her caravan and holidays in the sun.

Julie Duffy, Customer Service AdvisorJulie#1

Julie joined Coachwise in July 2015 as a part time Customer Service Advisor working across a range of sports including Weight Lifting and Archery.

Away from work, Julie has two grown up children and a precious granddaughter.  Both of her children are involved with sports and have represented Yorkshire at Football and Table Tennis – her daughter  also represented England Schools at Table Tennis and had the privilege of been part of the baton relay team carrying the Commonwealth Torch!

Together with family and friends, Julie arranges many fundraising events for charity, in particular Wheatfields Hospice. In 2015 they raised over £7,000 and are hoping to raise over £10,000 in 2017. 

Julie enjoys spending time with her family and socialising and is a keen supporter of Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos, 

Also in the Customer Service Team are Mandy Bahia, Rebecca McGuire and Ryan Picken.