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.

Louise Curd
Director of Programmes
Louise has worked within education for over 26 years, 15 years of this being within leadership and management roles. She is a trained teacher with her main specialist areas being in the teaching of Design and Mathematics. She joined Learn by Design, when seeking a new challenge after leaving her role within the Further Education sector. Her experience of project managing complex programmes of work is extensive. Large-scale project management roles she has undertaken have included curriculum design and development at Derby College, site development and management at Broomfield hall agricultural college and the development of Derby Manufacturing UTC from concept to reality. All projects have involved, public relations, curriculum design, student recruitment and delivery of the build projects.
Mike Ridler
Learn Team Manager
Mike leads our Learn by Design delivery team. He will ensures that all aspects of our projects are delivered to our expected high standards within set time frames and cost principals. He completed a degree in Chemistry and Sports Science at Loughborough University. Upon completion of his degree he joined Learn by Design 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 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. Mike has recently returned to By Design Group as the 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.
Helena French
Senior Education Communicator
Helena is a creative science communicator who started working for Learn by Design in March 2018. After graduating from the University of Nottingham in 2016 with a 1st in BSc Neuroscience, Helena went on to complete MSc Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Management, graduating the top of her class. Whilst studying she developed a keen interest in public engagement through designing and delivering various science activities. Currently the events coordinator for the British Science Association Nottingham Branch, she organises numerous events including the monthly science public lecture series and the popular Science in the Park event held a Wollaton Hall.
Jared Patel
Education Communicator
Jared joined Learn by Design after graduating from Loughborough University with a BEng (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering in 2017. Key Modules he studies within this were Stress and Structural Analysis, Electrotechnology, Control Engineering, Thermodynamics. He is passionate about sport and physical exercise. He played competitive table tennis for ten years reaching the highest national level, representing England in various British and International Open Tournaments including the European Junior Table Tennis Championships in Russia, Euro Minis (U12) and Cadet Six Nations (U15) in France and in the Austrian, Luxembourg and Hungarian Opens. Training as an international athlete taught him a lot about perseverance and hard work and is largely responsible for his strong work ethic. Jared is also an accomplished public speaker and was recognised for this when he became his Regional Rotary Club Public Speaking Winner in 2009.
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.
Stephen Frew
Education Communicator
A Traditional Food Technologist and Manager who included health and safety and environmental management in his day-to-day responsibilities. Stephen worked with robots, chemicals, irradiation, ozone, bacteria control and ice gems just to name a through across the UK in the high-risk food industry. Because of experience of living in the real world with impairments Stephen made the move from Operations manager to developing new skills and knowledge about disability awareness, accessibility and inclusive design. Stephen is passionately involved with training and coaching which includes Dementia Awareness training, Spinal Games, Limb Power Games, Children with Disabilities Games, shooting demonstrations at the Paralympic day at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and coaching junior rifle shooters. On a more personal note Stephen trains with Disability Shooting Great Britain and is focusing on the Paralympics. Stephen’s interests are photography, cooking, wheelchair activities including hand cycling and tennis and playing the Digeridoo. His favourite colours are pink and orange unless you are talking about leather as that is always brown.
Eleanor Mallinson
Education Communicator
Eleanor joined the Learn by Design team at the start of 2017. She brings a passion and dynamism to the team due to her creativity. She trained at Midlands Academy of Dance & Drama. She is a Midlands-based actor and has been working professionally for over the last 5 years. She works as an Education Communicator for Learn by Design as well as working as a singing and musical theatre teacher.
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.
Joanne Long
Senior Administrator Coordinator
After many years of a PE teacher at a variety of schools, Bob 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.
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.
Lisa Amos
Finance Manager
Lisa has 21 years experience in accountancy, with 11 of those years working for Learn by Design. She handles all things finance from payroll to budgets and is known for her hard-working, professional and reliable nature. Lisa is fantastic at managing a busy schedule and tackles every obstacle thrown at her. She is also ready to help anyone in any way she can, which is how she has built such a strong rapport with many of Learn by Design's clients. Lisa is MAAT qualified and has ran her own very successful accountancy business for the last 10 years along side her role at Learn by Design.
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
Senior 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, where she had to opportunity to work with BBC Countryfile, BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire, Warwickshire Country Parks and lead wildlife charities, RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts before moving to Learn by Design to further her skills in marketing and graphic design.
Amelia Clark
Social Media Marketing Assistant
After graduating from Derby University with 2:1 in BA (Hons) Creative Expressive Therapies in July 2017, Amelia then went on to complete her Digital Marketing Apprenticeship (Level 3) in September 2018. Her passion for creativity and artistic skills is something learnt from her degree and has helped her within her marketing role. Gaining knowledge and confidence in using social media in digital marketing on a daily basis from her apprenticeship led her to becoming the Social Media Marketing Assistant at Learn by Design.
Michelle Lewis
Programme Lead - iRail & 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.
Helen Peden
Event Operations Executive
Helen is an accomplished event manager through all aspects of event programming, planning and delivery, with a portfolio including events for 20 delegates to exhibitions in excess of 20,000sqm with over 250 exhibitors. With expertise in technology and automotive environments, Helen has worked with some major brands, including Peugeot, Kuehne + Nagel, BBC and Stagecoach Group. With over 15 years’ experience in the industry, Helen brings a plethora of skills to the Big Bang team with the core objective of evolving the Big Bang programme to be the most innovative and exciting in the UK.
Charmaine Springer
Big Bang Administrator
Charmaine has over 18 years administration and management support experience. Starting her career path in the late 90’s with the Birmingham City Council Race Equality department at the age of 16 years old, she moved on to work within various departments, before leaving her final departmental work with the Perry Barr Constituency Office to further her own education. As an advocate for young people and community development, Charmaine is passionate about bringing success for young people, innovating and inspiring them to further themselves in education and become successful within their communities. She’s worked amongst City Leaders, Councillors and Officers of the Community for the advancement of community cohesion, opportunity and development. After completing her degree in Theology for Education, she worked with young people aged 16 years old and above at the Birmingham Metropolitan College in Sutton Coldfield, teaching A-Level Religious Studies, before securing a position supporting the Big Bang Team at Learn by Design. She now enjoy working behind the scenes to bring about something great for young people!