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 the Learn Team:

Louise Curd
Director of Programmes

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

Louise has worked within education for over 24 years at Derby College, with 15 years of this being in leadership and management roles in further education. She is a qualified teacher with her main specialist areas being in the teaching of Design and Mathematics. She joined Learn by Design seeking a new challenge that centres on inspiring young people. She has a track record of delivering creative solutions that are high quality and delivered within set KPI’s.

Mike Ridler
Learn Team Manager

Mike Ridler is the designated project lead for the HS2 primary schools workshop delivery at Learn by Design.

Mike completed a split degree in Chemistry and Sports Science at Loughborough University. Upon completion he joined Sport by Design (now By Design Group) as a full time education communicator from which he progressed to managing Consult by Design. In 2010 he moved away and set up Energise7, an education outreach company. In 2012 Mike went back to University where he completed a PGCE in secondary science with Chemistry specialism. He then returned to By Design Group and became the Learn team manager.

Jill Stopher Clark
Senior Education Communicator

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. 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 or 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.

Cristina Plant
Senior Education Communicator

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 Derby Museums, National Museums Scotland, the National Stone Centre and University of Derby.

Bob Boyd
School Education Engagement Manager

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 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 tutor. Whilst there, he obtained a BA (Hons) in Georgraphy 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 successfuly opened a 6th form. Whilst there, he was secretary of the East Anglia Independant Schools Association and became an ISJC School Inspector. He left after 5 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 in West London. Unfortunately a year of commuting from Derbyshire proved uninviting and he returned to teaching both primary and secondary before joining 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, national and international level.

Jenny Ruth Wakini Kihara-Boyd
Education Communicator

Jenny is one of the key Education Communicators who delivers workshops within schools.

Jenny left Crewe and Alsager College with a BEd (Hons) in Science and Physical Education. She has taught for over 20 years in both Secondary and Primaru schools, as well as delivering a range of programmes for By Design Group. During her career, Jenny has set up a new secondary school PHSE programme and whilst being Head of ICT at her school, she led it to be the first in Derbyshire to gain the ICT Accreditation Mark. She has also served time as a Governor and Deputy Head Teacher. Outside of work, Jenny was a nationally ranked junior middle distance runner and played hockey for Surrey, Cheshire and Derbyshire.

Paige Griffin
Education Communicator

“Variety is the spice of life! I live by this and have subsequently tried my hand at a variety of things including tae-kwon-do, musical instruments and baking.”

A recent Childhood Studies graduate with a high 2:1 Honours Degree from Nottingham Trent University, Paige has joined Learn by Design as an Education Communicator. She has always had a passion for working with children and helping them to develop.

Paul Hollingsworth
Education Communicator

From managing his own business, Paul has developed effective organisational skills.

During Paul’s years as a Senior Actor/Stage Manager at Leicestershire Youth Arts, he was responsible for overseeing the design and construction of stage sets, props and costume. He was also responsible for the logistics of a touring theatre company, producing daily reports for management and liasing with school staff, coordinating and tutoring children. Those who know him professionally and socially consider him to be patient, flexible, good humoured, supportive and motivated.

Joanne Long
Senior Administrator Coordinator

Jo is the contact interface between Learn by Design and schools. Her main roles include staffs logistics, booking in workshops and contacting schools a few days prior to their workshops to check final arrangements and the appraise the school of the name of the Education Communicator who will be attending. Jo performs the role on all 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. She is an effective problem solver who works well under pressure.

Jade Rowley 
Operations Administrator

Jade joined Learn by Design in September 2017 having graduated from the University of Nottingham with a 2:1 BA (Jt Hons) degree in English and Philosphy. After becoming passionate about schools outreach through various volunteering projects at university, she is working towards a career in this area. Through working at Learn by Design, although her role is mainly administrative, Jade has had the opportunity to work across various workshops and delivery programmes as an Education Communicator, helping to build her skills in her desired career area. Jade’s day-to-day tasks as an Adminstrator include liasing with schools to offer and book a range of programmes, recruiting STEM Ambassadors to support workshops and collating evaluation reports from both students and teachers.

Leanne Fagence
HR and Finance Assistant

Leanne has been working with Learn by Design since August 2017. She has 14 years experience within Admin, HR and Finance through working in hospitality and running hotels throughout the UK. Lea loves the variety that her role offers, keeping her on her toes and open to new challenges.

Emma Wallbank
Digital Marketing Manager

Emma has worked as a Graphic Designer for over 20 years starting out as an apprentice working for the Tamworth Herald CIN newspaper in 1997, providing graphic design for titles such as the Sutton Observer, Tamworth Herald and Lichfield Mercury. Moving her skills towards the ever growing mobile and online technology innovation, Emma furthered her design career within a digital marketing company which utilised her brand awareness and graphic design skills in a design agency environment. Emma has produced logos, print, websites and design projects for well known brands such as Nescafe, Funky Pigeon, Black Sheep Brewery and Purple Bricks. She designed the initial visual proofs and branding ideas for Purple Bricks new venture whilst producing design files for their website creation.

Ebony Smith
Marketing and Graphic Assistant

Ebony joined Learn by Design in August 2017 after completing a Level 2 NVQ Marketing Apprenticeship. After finishing secondary school, Ebony found herself a job working in a Co-operative store, where she gained her customer service skills, along with learning about organisation and deadlines. She then continued to expand on her skill-set as a production operator at Jaguar Land Rover for 2 years.

In 2014, Ebony decided to go back into education through an apprenticeship where she was employed by Warwickshire County Council and seconded to Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. She worked for 17 months on a project called Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme before moving to Learn by Design to further her skills in marketing and graphic design.

James Silcox
Programme Director – Big Bang Near Me Midlands Region

James has been involved in event management for over 10 years and has been the Programme Director for the Big Bang Near Me Midlands Programme on behalf of Learn by Design for the last 5 years. His role involves the planning and delivering of large scale regional events alongside the support and coordination of a number of local and @ school events across the region. James has a passion for providing young people with opportunities to learn what the world can offer them and showing them how they can make their own unique mark on it.

Michelle Lewis
Progamme Lead – iRail and Big Bang Midlands

In Michelle’s last role, Regional Head of Engineering Strategic Competency & Resource Management, she had direct responsibility for ensuring standardisation, alignment and improvement of 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 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.