Meet Our Learn Team

At Learn by Design we are proud to employ over 40 of the most enthusiastic and dedicated individuals when it comes to raising aspirations in young people. We are all passionate about encouraging bright careers and challenging perceptions that restrict a wealth of learning potential.

Meet some of our Learn Team:

Louise Curd – Director of programmes, Learn by Design


Louise is the strategic link between Learn by Design and programme contract specifications. She performs quality reviews and observations with the Learn by Design team through-out the contract delivery period.

Louise has worked within education, at Derby College, for over 24 years with 15 years of this being in leadership and management roles in further education. She is a qualifieded teacher with her main specialist areas being in the teaching of Design and Mathematics. She has been an external verifier for a number of awarding bodies and has carried out quality assurance roles including internal verification and observations of classroom practice for over 15 years. She joined Learn by Design seeking a new challenge that centres on inspiring young people. Her experience of project management is extensive, and she is known for bringing organisations and people together to deliver effective solutions to client specifications. She has a track record of delivering creative solutions that are high quality and delivered within set KPI’s. Her most recent large scale project management role was taking the development of Derby Manufacturing UTC from concept to reality, including public relations, curriculum design, student recruitment and delivery of the build on time.

Mike Ridler – Learn Team ManagerMike

Mike Ridler is the designated project lead for the HS2 primary schools workshop delivery at Learn by Design. This role ensures that all aspects of the project are delivered to our expected high standards within set time frames and cost principals.

Prior to attending university in 2001 Mike spent a year as a gap year teaching assistant in a primary school in Bristol. He then completed a split degree in Chemistry and Sports Science at Loughborough University. Whilst completing this course he also worked part time for Sport by Design (now the By Design Group) as a casual education communicator. Upon completion of his degree he joined Sport by Design as a full time education communicator where, as he and the business grew, he fulfilled a range of jobs across the company, culminating in him managing Consult by Design. In 2010, Mike moved to join his wife, whose career had taken the family away from the Midlands, and he set up Energise7, an education outreach company which worked mainly in the world of science festival workshop delivery and scoping studies/content creation for academic organisations associated with STEM. In 2012 Mike returned to university and completed a PGCE in secondary science with Chemistry specialism before teaching Secondary Science at schools on the Wirral. Mike then returned to the By Design Group and is currently the Manager of Learn by Design. During his time with the By Design Group and Energise7 his teaching experience has enabled Mike to work with all age groups from reception through to adult learners. He has delivered in the classroom, produced content, worked with SEN and NEET groups, has liaised with a raft of commercial and educational organisations and understands both the ‘on the ground’, curriculum relevant, and managerial/administrational requirements of education outreach, and has particular expertise in work of this nature across the STEM agenda.

Jenny Ruth Wakini Kihara-Boyd  STEM Communicator

JenJenny is one of the key STEM delivery Communicators who delivers workshops within schools.

Jenny is a qualified and experienced teacher, with a BEd (Hons) from Crewe and Alsager College in Science and Physical Education. She has taught for over 20 years in both Secondary and Primary schools as well as delivering a wide range of programmes for the By Design Group, including many different STEM workshops, working across the full compulsory school age range and working with NEETs. She has taught both Science and PE to GCSE level and all Year groups in KS2. During her school career she wrote and set up a new secondary school PHSE programme and whilst heading up ICT at her school, led it to be the first in Derbyshire to gain the ICT Accreditation Mark. At both Secondary and Primary school level she served time as a governor (at the Primary school in her position as Deputy Head). Outside work Jenny was a nationally ranked junior middle distance runner and played hockey for Surrey, Cheshire and Derbyshire, is a talented artist and has a passion for all things technological .

Jack Hammond – STEM communicator

JackJack is a key workshop delivery member of staff on the HS2 primary schools project.

Jack has been working with Learn by Design as a STEM communicator, following a career change from being a technical support advisor within the IT sector. He has extensive experience of working with young people not only within his current role at Learn by Design, but also through his out of work activity, as a sports coach. He has worked in both primary and secondary settings and brings fun and energy to his sessions to inspire the young people with whom he works. He has excellent customer service skills which enable him to work well with both project clients and school personnel effectively.

Cristina Plant – STEM communicator

Cristina Cristina is a keen Science Communicator and Zoologist, with an active interest in all forms of education – both formal and informal, who joined Learn by Design in 2016.

Feeding her passion for public engagement, Cristina is the current chair of the British Science Association’s Derbyshire Branch, leading the design and delivery of various events, from science busks to public talks and pub quizzes. Prior to joining Learn by Design, Cristina has also developed and facilitated school workshops, family activities and student events for such as Derby Museums, National Museums Scotland, the National Stone Centre and the University of Derby. To keep herself engaged, Cristina also enjoys exploring the great outdoors, snapping beautiful landscapes and dabbling in all things creative!’

Jill Holland – STEM communicator

Jill Jill began working for Learn by Design in November 2016, having previously spent five years in the renewable energy industry.

Jill obtained a degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia which allowed her to study many different environmental topics, such as energy, hydrology, physics, meteorology and natural hazards. The final year of her degree focussed around climate change, and included the scientific principles behind our changing climate and the politics, history and governance of global warming. After graduating in 2011, Jill spent a year designing solar photovoltaic systems for a solar installation company, before moving back home to the Midlands where she began working with a renewable energy and training company in Nottingham. Alongside honing her own knowledge of renewable energy, she developed the training side of the company; this involved leading groups of students on International work experience and training placements designed to encourage women and ethnic minority students into Science and Engineering careers. She is excited to be working with Learn by Design and having the opportunity to meet young people throughout the country, demonstrating to the next generation the fascinating and varied topics, exciting opportunities and the intriguing, fast paced nature of STEM industries. Jill currently live in Shardlow, Derbyshire, with her fiancé Alex and their cat Lily, where she enjoys baking, playing the piano and growing vegetables!

Bob Boyd – School Education Engagement Manager

Bob On leaving school in Cambridgeshire Bob taught PE at the local comprehensive school and then studied at Borough Road College, in West London, for three years, obtaining a Teaching Certificate in PE and Geography (with Merit). He was then head of PE and Games at Kingham Hill School, officer in the CCF and boarding house tutor. After five years he moved to King Edward’s School in Surrey, as Head of a large PE and Games department and resident boarding house tutor. Whilst there he obtained a BA (Hons) in Geography and History as an external student of London University. After ten years he was appointed Deputy Head at Leighton Park School to set up and run a new age 11 – 13 section of the school as well as teaching PE, Games and Geography. Five years later Bob became Head of Gosfield School in Essex, an age 4 – 16 school at which he successfully opened a 6th form. Whist there he was secretary of the E. Anglia Independent Schools Association and became an ISJC School Inspector. He left after five years to move to Derbyshire and return to his first love – teaching! After two years he was asked to return to management and was appointed Head of Hounslow College, West London, but a year of commuting from Derbyshire proved uninviting and he returned to teaching, both primary and secondary, before joining the By Design Group as Education Manager, in 1999, for an exciting career ‘swerve’! Throughout his career Bob has played and coached sport - he won the English Schools discus and captained the England Schools team, played soccer, rugby, cricket and continued to throw until his early sixties, whilst he has coached teams and Individuals at school, club, county, national and International level.

Joanne Long – Senior admin coordinator Learn by Design


Joanne will be the contact interface between Learn by Design and the schools, as she will contact schools a couple of days prior to the delivery session to check final arrangements and to appraise the school of the name of the communicator who will be attending. Jo performs this role on all Learn by Design contracts with schools. She has worked within admin and call centre operations throughout her 12 year career building up extensive customer service and client management skills. She is an excellent communicator. Jo also coordinates staff logistics, DBS checks and collation of evaluation information from programmes. She is an effective problem solver who works well under pressure.

Michelle Lewis – Education Communicator


A highly motivated and accomplished Senior Manager in possession of enthusiasm and adaptability, with the ability to communicate well with all levels of organisation and work effectively both as part of a team and alone. I am an experienced problem solver and negotiator with excellent listening and assessment skills and a keen interest in helping others to develop their skills and their working practices so that performance may be enhanced.

In my last role, Regional Head of Engineering Strategic Competency & Resource Management, I had direct responsibility for ensuring standardization, alignment and improvement of our business and engineering processes across the region to enhance engineering performance worldwide. Developing the strategies that took the business forward in key areas and working with individual teams to ensure that strategic initiatives were implemented in a cohesive manner. The role included ensuring that the communication and implementation strategies for these initiatives were devised and delivered in a manner that was relevant for the audience, working collaboratively with teams at every level of the organisation and coaching senior leaders to enable the cultural change that many of these initiatives required.

Helen Lillie – Quality Assurance Manager


Helen has worked in education, spending over 32 years at Derby College before moving on to new establishments taken with her not only many years of teaching experience but also 25 years of leadership and management in further education. She is a qualified teacher with her main specialist areas being in the teaching of Business, Management and Enterprise and has delivered many lessons in both Secondary and the FE sector. She has been instrumental in ensuring quality compliance supports improvements in performance of learners and teachers.  She supported the move from graded observations to non-graded observations of classroom practice seeing a positive impact on staff being supported and has been an observer herself for over 25 years. She joined Learn by Design seeking a new challenge that continued with her passion for supporting and inspiring young people who were at risk of dropping out of education. She supported improved teaching, learning and assessment to ‘Good’ at two recent Ofsted inspections and continues to work with shaping teaching, learning and assessment in her new roles at Learn By Design and a local East Midlands College.