Structure of Trust and associated Groups


Daniel Locke-Wheaton
Mr Daniel Locke-Wheaton
Rachael Grant
Rachael Grant
Attendance and Welfare Officer
Michael Coulson
Mr Michael Coulson
Subject Leader for English Literature

Wider Trust Membership

Neil Scott
Mr Neil Scott

Chief Operating Officer, Aston University

Position: Chair of Governing Board/Trustees

Neil Scott is the Chief financial Officer for Aston. He has previously held executive-level positions at Staffordshire University, Wyvale Garden Centres plc, Marston, Thompson & Evershed plc and the Ford Motor Company. He joined Aston from the University of Hull where he was Chief Finance Officer.


Neil holds a number of external board appointments. He is Chair of Trustees at Familyfund, Chair of Governors at Aston University Engineering Academy and a non-executive director at Gridedge Limited (an energy management company). He is a Director and Treasurer of the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and a board member of the British Universities Finance Directors’ Group. He also directs a number of spin-out companies, and is an associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Paul Harper
Dr Paul Harper

Head of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, SEAS, Aston University

Paul started his research career at Aston in 1994 as a PhD student studying high speed optical telecommunications in the early days of what would become the world renowned Photonics Research Group.

After graduating in 1997 he continued this work at Aston as a Post Doc. In May 2002 along with co-workers, he left the university to form a spin-out project Marconi-Solstis to commercialise his research work. Paul was a Senior Development Engineer on this project working on system design, test and field installation. Following the first field deployment of their 1.6Tb/s 3000km system he continued with Marconi as Photonic System Test Manager.

Paul is a founding member of AUEA's Pre-opening Board and has chaired AUEA's Disciplinary Board since 2012.

DOI: - None

Peter Hazzard
Mr Peter Hazzard

Senior Associate, Cundall

Peter Hazzard, Associate Director at Cundall

Peter is a Chartered Mechanical Design Engineer with 29 years of engineering consultancy experience covering services design from inception to completion on a wide range of projects, in the commercial, education, residential, retail, leisure, transport and defence sectors. Currently Peter is focusing his career on providing excellent designs in the education sector. He has delivered seminars on the experiences he has gained from the use of the DCSF’s Carbon Calculator, and on how to achieve zero carbon schools by 2016. He was heavily involved in Birmingham BSF, of which AUEA was one of the delivered schemes, and is currently involved in a number of school projects under the ESFA’s Priority schools building programme (PSBP). He has also been involved with many other further education college and university projects. Within Cundall he has a particular interest in delivering innovative low energy design solutions and champions Best Practice initiatives and improving the quality of project deliverables.

Peter graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 1996 with a BEng(Hons) in Building Services Engineering.  In 2005 he undertook a distance learning MSc in Energy and Sustainable Building Design at DeMontfort University, graduating in 2008 with distinction. He is a Member of CIBSE and is a Chartered Engineer.

DOI -  Director at Cundalls which provides M&E Consultancy. Cundalls provided M&E contract for original AUEA Build in 2012 and subsequent advice and guidance linked to M&E since 2012. Cundalls have tendered for M&E contract for AUEA new extension in 2022.

Richard Billingham
Richard Billingham

Director of HR and Organisational Development, Aston University

Richard Billingham is the Director of HR and Organisational Development at Aston University.  He has extensive experience working with leaders and organisations, across public and private sectors, both in the UK and internationally, to bring about change.  

He has previously held a number of executive level roles focusing on leading complex workforce and culture change. He joined Aston from Bristol City Council where he was Director of Human Resources and Change.

Richard has previously been a Chair of Governors at a local primary school. He is recognised by friends and colleagues as an out and out, total enthusiast (and cricket fan)! He is passionate about working with organisations and people, to help them become the very best that they can be.  

DOI - Trustee of the Aston University Pension Scheme

Richard Toy
Richard Toy

CEO of Auctus Management Group Limited

Richard has worked with the recruitment and people training and development sector since 1987, including 10 years as Regional Director for Adecco before moving to Carillion Plc to launch SkyBlue which he grew to a £118M turnover in 9 years within the rail and civil infrastructure sector. In May 2012, Richard set up Auctus Management Group, purchased Rail Safety Solutions Ltd (RSS) who are a rail contractor and safety critical labour provider, then formed Auctus Training Solutions Ltd to meet the skills gap in the rail sector training apprentices, NEET’s, unemployed, ex-offenders and armed forces leavers.

As a local entrepreneur, Richard has extensive knowledge in setting strategy, driving change management processes, business development and leading multi-million pound companies.

DOI: Richard is Chief Executive Officer for Auctus Management Group LTD including RSS Infrastructure and INFRA Skills Ltd of which AUEA purchases services and work experience places via the DFE T Level Capacity Delivery Fund. 

Aman Gill-Knobbs
Mrs Aman Gill-Knobbs

Director of Operations College of Engineering & Physical Sciences Aston University

Director of Operations, Aston University

Vice-Chair Governors Learning and Progress Forum - Aston University Engineering Academy

DOI: Employer nominated Trustee - AUPS (Aston University Pension Scheme)

Antonio Fratini
Dr Antonio Fratini

Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering, School of Life and Health Sciences

Dr Antonio Fratini,
Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of the Department of Mechanical, Biomedical and Design Engineering.

Antonio has an Electronic engineering background, who then further specialised in Bioengineering and Health Care Services Management. He successfully coordinated various research projects with industrial and academic international partners (e.g. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, TSEM SpA, University of Naples Federico II etc.) and has a long track record of internationally recognized research. 

DOI: None

Sarah Plumb
Sarah Plumb

Parent Governor

Having spent 15 years working for the local authority, Sarah successfully completed a midwifery degree at the University of Birmingham and subsequently practiced as a midwife for the NHS. For reasons close to home, Sarah developed a keen interest in mental health issues and subsequently returned to university in 2015 to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health. She then re-trained as a Specialist Midwife for mental health.

Whilst very challenging at times, the role gave Sarah tremendous experience in dealing with patients that have been experiencing difficult times in their lives, and a deep understanding of many of the causes and treatments. Part of this role involved working with other support agencies including Social services as required. The role gave Sarah an important level of knowledge and experience in liaising and dealing with many different Health Professionals.

During 2017 Sarah decided to complete a Mental Health First Aid Trainer course to put her in a position to be able to train and develop others. This training has broadened her knowledge and skills, and importantly helped develop a clear understanding of the effects that poor mental health can have on an employee whilst at work, and their effectiveness in their role. Training in the workplace is imperative and Sarah is passionate about helping to change people’s perceptions, broaden their knowledge, and reduce the impact that mental health issues can have on an employee’s contribution in the workplace. In addition to running her own business, she is also an Associate Trainer for the British Safety Council.

In addition to training, Sarah is the Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead at a large school in Worcestershire. She is responsible for the training of staff and parents, as well as supporting the students on a daily basis. The roles primary responsibility is to ensure the school meets the children’s Mental Health and well-being needs, and to liaise with community mental health teams as required.

Sarah continues to work as a Specialist Midwife in Perinatal Mental Health and as a Community Midwife when time permits.

Sarah is a mother of two and in her spare time she exercises with Be Military Fit and will be running for a Charity at the London Marathon in 2021.

DOI: None

Lee Harvey
Lee Harvey

Parent Governor

Professor Lee Harvey has been researching higher education issues since the early 1990s. Lee is the founder and current editor of Quality in Higher Education.  Lee was Professor at Copenhagen Business School until 31st December 2010. Prior to that he established and was Director of both the Centre for Research into Quality at University of Central England in Birmingham (now Birmingham City University) and the Centre for Research and Evaluation at Sheffield Hallam University. He was also Director of Research at the Higher Education Academy. Lee has wide experience of social research as a research methodologist and social philosopher. He has a teaching qualification alongside his masters in information technology and doctorate in sociology. His research areas include social research methodology, social philosophy, higher education policy, quality culture, employability, student feedback and learning and teaching. He is widely published with over 35 books and research monographs and over 120 articles in international journals, books and compendiums. He has been a quality advisor to institutions across the world. He was formerly a parent governor at Lordswood Girls School. 

DOI - None

Mandy  Ross
Mandy Ross

Associate Non-Voting Governor and SEND Link Governor

Mandy is a BACP registered counsellor and is a successful writer and integrative counsellor. Mandy combines her writing and counselling skills in workshops and courses in creative wellbeing.   

DOI - None

Jim Wade
Mr Jim Wade

Governor - Secondary Education/UTC Expert

Jim is recently retired from his role as Principal of The JCB Academy in Staffordshire a post he took up in January 2009. 

 The JCB Academy opened for its first group of learners in 2010 with the key mission of ‘Developing the Engineers and Business Leaders for the Future’.   The work of the Academy in developing an industry-led curriculum based around solving engineering problems has been praised by many across both education and industry.

Prior to this appointment, Jim was Principal of South Molton Community College.  In his last inspection before moving to The JCB Academy, South Molton was judged as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and granted Leading Edge status.  He has also worked as a school improvement partner, mentor and consultant headteacher.


Jim has always been involved in technical and vocational education.  He started his teaching career with involvement in the Certificate of Pre Vocational Education back in the mid-1980s and was a deputy at Somerset’s first Technology College.  He is passionate about the role technical education plays in developing life chances for young people.

DOI:  Jim is a trustee of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, which acts as an affiliation body for UTCs and to whom AUEA pays annual membership. 

Julie Ottley
Mrs Julie Ottley

Clerk to Governing Board

Executive Assistant for Governance at Aston University

DOI: None

Alison  Davies
Mrs Alison Davies

Director of Finance - Aston University

Alison Davies is Director of Finance for Aston University.  She has previously held a variety of finance roles at Cadbury, National Grid, RAC and Alliance Medical before joining Aston University in July 2017.  She has a breadth of experience in financial reporting, governance and controls, working both in the UK and internationally.  She is chair of the British Universities Finance Director Group’s National Tax Group.


DOI - Alison is Vice-Chair of Leadership & Finance Forum and Chair of Pay Review Board for AUEA.