Graduate Futures Team

Meet the Graduate Futures Team

Graduate Futures is not a combined careers service however the support to Northumbria students on London campus is provided though our partnership with QA.

Andrew Haxell
Andrew Haxell

Assistant Director, Graduate Futures:

Andrew joined Northumbria as Head of Careers and Employment in the summer 2014. A Modern History and International Relations graduate from St Andrews University, he worked initially for eight years in the banking sector as a graduate trainee in corporate banking for Bank of Scotland in Nottingham, then responsible for the Bank’s graduate recruitment and graduate training programme – based in Edinburgh – before joining Newcastle University as a trainee careers adviser. He worked at Newcastle in a variety of Careers practitioner and management and leadership roles for over 14 years. Since joining Northumbria Andrew has led the development of the University’s careers and employability support offer to students and graduates, including the creation in 2020 of the Graduate Futures service, bringing together Careers, Placements and Enterprise support roles and activities in a new structure to support the employability objectives in the University Strategy.

Alejandra Vicencio
Alejandra Vicencio

Head of International Mobility:

Alejandra leads the International Mobility Team, who are responsible for sourcing and managing all aspects of study abroad and exchanges, including opportunities for Northumbria students and staff, different streams of funding (such as Erasmus, Turing Scheme, and Santander) and the relationships with overseas universities and national agencies. Alejandra is an English Literature graduate from Universidad de Chile in Santiago, where she founded a Spanish language school in 2004. She is also a Northumbria MSc International Development alumna. Ale has been working in international relations and development for 20 years in several countries, and at Northumbria since 2013, initially in charge of International Partnerships and more recently of International Mobility in Graduate Futures. She also Northumbria in international networks such as EAIE, NAFSA and ACU. Ale is also a mentor and Chair of the Mobility Advising Expert Community at EAIE.

Lesley WilsonLesley Wilson

Head of Employability Partnerships:

Lesley is Head of Employability Partnerships, leading a team of Employability Partnerships Advisers, Coordinators and Administrators to deliver embedded employability education across the institution. The team work in partnership with faculty, department and programme colleagues to create and deliver targeted activity within programmes to improve the employability outlook and graduate outcomes of Northumbria students.

A modern languages graduate from Newcastle University, Lesley has a range of management and project leadership experience within the private and higher education sectors. This work has most recently focused on careers and work based learning within higher education, partnering with academic colleagues, employers and students on curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular employability activity.

Graham BatyGraham Baty

Head of Enterprise Development:

Graham leads the Enterprise Development Team. An experienced enterprise educator and business advisor, he is responsible for the delivery of all enterprise and business start-up support activities, as well as advising academic colleagues on the development of enterprise in the curriculum. Graham is a double graduate of Northumbria University, with an undergraduate degree in Business Management and a Masters in Human Resource Management and Development. Prior to working in the area of knowledge exchange within Higher Education, Graham worked in the electricity supply industry for over 10 years.

Nita LearNita Lear

Head of Career Planning:

Nita leads the Career Planning team which includes Careers Advisers, Employability Coordinators, Administrators and our two Placement students. We deliver customer-focused support to students and recent graduates to ensure each student has a career plan and is supported to develop their skills and experience, including employability and career management skills. Additionally, the team provides targeted support to widening participation students to reduce gaps in progression. We lead the one to one, central one to many, online and student engagement activities.

After graduating from the University of Manchester with an Economics degree, Nita worked in a marketing/sales role for a plastics company. She then studied a Postgraduate Diploma in Information Management at Northumbria University whilst working at Sunderland University Library. This led on to roles in research, writing and ultimately becoming an editor for business information resources. She joined the University in 2001 as a Careers Information Officer, took on the new role of Careers Information Manager in 2014 and became Head of Career Planning in January 2020.

Victor OttawayVictor Ottaway

Head of Placements and Internships:
Victor is Head of Placements and Internships, with responsibility for employer engagement and the administration associated with work experience opportunities.

He will also be the first to tell you that his remit and that of his team is much wider than just practice placements (e.g. Nursing, Physiotherapy, Education), non-practice placements and funded internships. It also covers large graduate recruiters, opportunities with small businesses and charities, part-time work and embedding employers in the University’s employability and course activities.

Prior to joining Northumbria, Victor worked across the North East region in the public, private and voluntary sectors and has a background in the management and delivery of funding and contracts especially those supporting unemployed people to address their barriers to the labour market.

Working for Northumbria University in Sandyford Building is in many ways bringing Victor full circle as he is a Northumbria Graduate who regularly attended Sandyford as a student.

Ann SmartAnn Smart Careers Adviser:

Ann is a Careers Adviser in the Career planning team. She has extensive professional experience in Higher Education and is actively involved in the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services.

Ann has worked at Northumbria in a variety of roles which encompassed Careers Guidance, Careers Service Management and Leadership as well as Employer Liaison work. Previously she led adult guidance services for individuals and businesses for County Durham and had a range of roles working with public and private sector organisations including Training and Enterprise Councils, research work for Open College Network and developing one stop shop guidance and enterprise support services. She is a Philosophy and English graduate, has a Masters in Guidance and Counselling, an MSc in Information Systems and a Postgraduate qualification in Business Administration as well as qualifications in Psychometric assessments.

Elaine McStravickElaine McStravick

Careers Adviser:

Elaine works as a Careers Adviser in Student Central providing career guidance to students across the university – through individual career coaching and group sessions. Although experienced in many career sectors Elaine focusses on the Faculties of Business & Law and Engineering and Environment and has specific responsibility for The Graduate School (postgraduate researchers).

Elaine has previously developed career coaching and guidance skills in a range of professional settings – including Higher Education, schools and adult guidance, recruitment and redundancy outplacement. Elaine has been self-employed and has a particular interest in business enterprise and student entrepreneurial skills. She works Monday to Friday.

Isabel Taylor Isabel Taylor

Employability Coordinator:

Isabel joined Graduate Futures in 2014 as an information co-ordinator and is now an employability co-ordinator in the Career Planning Team. She has previously worked in public libraries, business information, an engineering library, e-learning training and the Connexions Careers Service. She is an English graduate and has a Postgraduate Diploma in Library and Information Management from Northumbria. She is a Chartered member of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). As well as providing information and advice to students at Career Clinics, Isabel’s responsibilities include social media and marketing for the Service.

James PocklingtonJames Pocklington

Employability Coordinator:

James is a graduate of the University of Teesside and has been with Northumbria University since 2018. Prior to that, he spent 9 years in a support role at North Yorkshire Police. James is involved with student & graduate communication, collating information resources and creation of digital content.

Judith NewmanJudith Newman

Employability Administrator:

Judith is an Employability Administrator with extensive experience in Higher Education administration following her graduation from Northumbria University with a degree in Information and Library Management. Current responsibilities include being the first point of contact for students and graduates by email, promoting opportunities using social media, organising events, and maintaining and developing information resources.

Kathryn Saunders Kathryn Saunders

Careers Adviser:

Kathryn is a Careers Adviser in the Career Planning team where she supports students through careers guidance appointments and group sessions. She is committed to ensuring students have equal access to employment opportunities and also works to develop initiatives for Northumbria’s international students. Prior to joining Northumbria, Kathryn worked as a Careers Consultant at Durham University Business School and the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE). She also has experience working in Corporate Partnerships, Stakeholder Management, Public Relations and Recruitment for public, private and not-for-profit organisations including EY, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and WPP plc. Kathryn holds a PG Diploma in Career Education, Information & Guidance in Higher Education from the University of Warwick and a Master of Arts in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Edinburgh.

Laura Graham

Careers Adviser:

Laura is a Careers Adviser in the Career Planning Team supporting all students through individual careers guidance meetings and group sessions, with a focus on the faculties of Social Science, Art and Design as well as Health and Life Sciences. Laura joined the team in April 2022. Laura is a previous student at Northumbria University graduating in 2008 then continuing to Postgraduate study at Sunderland University where she trained in Career Guidance in 2009. Since then, Laura has been continuously employed in a variety of settings where she has been able to utilise and develop knowledge in careers coaching and guidance including at a charity, secondary school, recruitment agency and most recently in post-16 further education – working with a range of people from school leavers to adult job-seekers.

Margaret EvansMargaret Evans

Careers Adviser:

Margaret is a Careers Adviser in the Career Planning Team, where she focusses on supporting students through personal guidance and group interactions to help them develop the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to create and implement their career plans. She has a special interest in supporting disabled and mature students. Margaret also currently has a role in co-ordinating personal development opportunities for colleagues, drawing on almost twenty years of experience as a careers professional in further and higher education and prior experience as a trainer in the financial services sector. Margaret’s working days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Mark LeeMark Lee

Careers Adviser:

Mark supports students across all faculties in his role in the Graduate Futures service and started working at Northumbria University in December 2018. Trained to postgraduate level in Careers Guidance, Mark has worked in varied sectors in both operational and management roles across the UK and internationally. As a careers adviser, Mark has worked in multiple careers services in the North East supporting school-leavers, university students and adult job-seekers.

Mark also holds a BA(Hons) in Education and a teaching qualification and from this has led many careers education initiatives, winning awards for innovative career and student voice events and was shortlisted as an AGCAS Newcomer of the Year to university careers services, in the UK in 2020.

Rob MulliganRob Mulligan

Employability Coordinator:

Rob is an Employability Co-ordinator who has worked in a variety of roles within  Careers and Employment since joining in 1999. He graduated in English Studies from Northumbria University as a mature student and followed with a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Writing and MSc Information Studies. He has responsibilties for digital content and delivery of 1-1 careers information to students and graduates. 

Rob has worked in a number of roles from laboratory technician to industrial labourer. He ran his own business, a vegetarian cafe, for three years and has worked as a voluntary tutor of adult literacy.

Violet DuffyViolet Horn

Employability Coordinator:

Violet is an Employability Coordinator working in the Career Planning team. Violet coordinates and delivers a range of careers events for Northumbria students and graduates. She is also responsible for developing information, digital and marketing resources for a student audience. In addition, Violet provides students with CV, application and job search support.

Violet joined Graduate Futures in 2014, initially working in an employer liaison role. Prior to joining Northumbria, her roles included managing an ERDF funded graduate internship scheme at Newcastle University and working in recruitment for the NHS.

Violet works on Mondays, Tuesdays and alternate Wednesdays.

Andy FishburnAndy Fishburn

Employability Partnerships Adviser:

Andy is the Employability Partnership Adviser working with the Applied Science and Law departments. He has a BSc (Hons) in Sports Science from the University of Chester and a Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance. Prior to joining Northumbria University in the summer of 2015, Andy worked at the University of Sunderland within the business school and the careers service. He has also worked for the National Careers Service and within the FE sector.

Anna ButcherAnna Butcher

Employability Partnerships Adviser:

As an Employability Partnership Adviser Anna supports programmes across the Departments of Nursing and Midwifery, and Social Work, Childhood & Early Years and Community Wellbeing. Anna represents Graduate Futures on the AGCAS NE Regional Training group and has organised training events for colleagues from across the country. With a degree in History and some training in marketing, an interest in working with young people led her to study the Diploma in Careers Guidance (LGMB) at Huddersfield University before working for Barnsley Council, then Northumberland County Council as a Careers Adviser supporting local Schools. She joined Durham University Careers Service in 1997, moving to Northumbria in 2005. With a Postgraduate Diploma in Career Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education, Anna has over 20 years’ experience in individually supporting students and graduates, and designing, delivering and supporting employability education in the Higher Education sector.

Daniel LewisDan Lewis

Employability Partnerships Adviser:

Dan is the Employability Partnerships Adviser for Computer and Information Sciences, Geography & Environmental Sciences, Accounting and Financial Management, Education, Occupational Therapy, Public Health, Healthcare Management and all Advanced Practice Masters courses. A graduate of English from Birmingham University, Dan completed an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University before working in a range of guidance roles, including student support and adult careers advice. He obtained a Postgraduate Diploma with distinction in Career Development and Coaching Studies from Warwick University in 2016 and joined Northumbria in January 2017. He currently leads on a number of projects relating to Graduate Outcomes and the usage of TEF data to inform best practice in Careers and Employability support throughout the Graduate Futures team, as well as supports the development of VR and 360 video careers resources.

David HooperDavid Hooper

Employability Partnerships Adviser:

David is an Employability Partnerships Adviser for Business. David has spent his career working across the private and public sector in varying educational and managerial roles. David gained traction in his career developing The Legacy Partnership, a Men’s Mental Health Coaching Consultancy, focusing on overcoming anxiety and depression. Due to David’s work on de-stigmatising men’s mental health, he has been featured within the Internationally renowned Men’s Health Magazine, The BBC, numerous podcasts and publications including The Journal. David is in the final stages of a PhD whilst also holding the prestigious Fellow of the Higher Education Academy status.

Fiona CairnsFiona Cairns

Employability Coordinator:

Fiona is the Employability Coordinator for Law and Business. She studied English and History at Hull University prior to undertaking an MA in Historical Research. Fiona has worked in higher education since 2007 in a variety of roles across Library and Information Services, Student Recruitment and Widening Participation. She joined Northumbria University in April 2022.

Kristy TaylorKristy Taylor

Employability Coordinator:

Kristy is the Employability Coordinator for Engineering and Environment. She has a degree in Linguistics with German from Newcastle University. Kristy has worked at Northumbria University for 3 years in the Placements Team, providing support to the Faculty of Engineering and Environment. Her previous experience has been within the Student Advice Centre at Newcastle University Students’ Union. She has a particular interest in working with students and ensuring the student voice plays a pivotal role in the support we offer.

Louise TarrantLouise Tarrant

Employability Coordinator:

Louise is the Employability Coordinator for Health and Life Sciences. She is a Bachelor of Arts alumna of Northumbria University and completed her degree in BA Performance in 2012. Louise's previous experience includes Library and Information Services and International Student Recruitment at the University of York and Global Engagement at the University of Sheffield. Louise joined the Graduate Futures Team in 2020 and works Monday-Friday.

Madelaine FallowMadelaine Fallow

Employability Administrator/Coordinator:

Madelaine is part time Employability Administrator for the Employability Partnerships Team, as well as covering a part time secondment as Employability Coordinator for Arts, Design and Social Sciences. She is a graduate of Northumbria University and has worked in arts and events and as a Primary School Teacher, before returning to the university to work in the Student Progress Team in 2019. Madelaine now works with the Employability Partnerships Team to support projects and in-faculty delivery.

Mark GrantMark Grant

Employability Partnerships Adviser:

Mark is the Employability Partnerships Adviser for Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation, Design and Social Sciences departments. After graduating with a degree in BSc (Hons) Sports Science from Northumbria, Mark undertook a PGCE in Physical Education before spending time in Australia, working as a sports and fitness coach.

Returning to Northumbria in 2009, Mark has since worked across various teams – supporting international partner institutions, short courses for international students and study abroad/Erasmus schemes. His most recent role was Placement Coordinator within the Business & Law faculty, delivering employability focused events and employer lead projects/presentations, promoting a wide variety of work experience opportunities to students.

Nenagh Clarke Nenagh Clark

Employability Partnerships Adviser:

Nenagh is currently covering a secondment role as an Employability Advisor for Arts, Humanities and Psychology. She trained as an actor before attending university whereby she obtained a degree in English Education from Sunderland University. More recently, Nenagh completed a master’s module within Education Research, whereby she focused on the development of transferable skills within a FE curriculum. She has worked within Education for the past 14 years, as a Drama and English teacher within Secondary and Further Education. She then moved into a quality, teaching, learning and assessment manager role, whereby she primarily looked at the support and development of teaching and learning and providing professional development for teaching practitioners. Nenagh has had experience of leading on projects, and within her last role worked with Edge Future Learning to embed employability skills within 16-18 curriculum using project-based learning and employer/industry engagement.

Paddy Rathbone
Paddy Rathbone

Employability Partnerships Adviser:

Paddy is the Employability Partnerships Adviser working with the Mechanical & Construction Engineering, Architecture & Built Environment and Mathematics, Physics & Electrical Engineering Departments. Paddy studied English Literature at Teesside University prior to commencing a career in Students’ Unions which included roles at Teesside University, York St John University, Cranfield University & Northumbria University Students’ Unions. Paddy joined the Graduate Futures team in November 2022

Jacqui DarwoodJacqui Darwood

Business Development Adviser:

Jacqui joined the Graduate Futures Service as a Business Development Adviser in 2020. She has significant experience of working on both the client and agency side for several local, national and internationally based blue chip brands. She has vast experience of running recruitment events, delivering actionable insight using a range of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and is accomplished at managing business development activity.

Jacqui prides herself on her emotional intelligence skills and her ability to work collaboratively to form enduring partnerships with key stakeholders. She uses her vast experience to develop and manage relationships with regional, national and international organisations to increase the number and value of relationships with employers looking to recruit Northumbria students/graduates and to introduce them to other ways to engage with the University.

Jacqui is the lead business contact for: Business, Management, Finance, HR, Recruitment, Retail, Sales, Marketing, Journalism, Communications, PR, Supply Chain and Education.

Lee Allen Staff ProfileLee Allen

Business Development Adviser:

Lee is a Business Development Adviser within the Enterprise Development Team. Lee’s primary focus is to generate experiential learning opportunities for Northumbria students and recent graduates. This includes graduate employment, placements and internships and paid part time jobs. Representing the Graduate Futures service, Lee initiates and develops partnership opportunities with regional, national and international recruiters to strengthen stakeholder relationships. Lee is the lead business contact for the following sector areas: Arts/Design, Film and TV, Charities and Voluntary, Health and Social Care, Science and Pharmaceuticals, Hospitality and Tourism, Sport and Leisure, Heritage and Culture and IT and Technology.

Lee’s previous role of Employability Coordinator included managing and sourcing placements for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, and cultivating relationships within the healthcare, science, education and charities/volunteering sectors. Lee graduated with a First Class degree in BA (Hons) Business Management and most recently a PGCert in Strategic Leadership following a Degree Apprenticeship programme at Northumbria University.

Michael Peeke-VoutMichael Peeke-Vout

Business Development Adviser:

Michael works as part of the Graduate Futures team as a Business Development Advisor, working to develop relationships between Northumbria and the business community. As a former Northumbria University Computer Science student, he has extensive experience in project management with a focus on digital transformation within the North-East business sector. He co-founded a successful software development company whilst studying at Northumbria, establishing the company as a leading market choice for flagship clients such as the DfE.

He currently represents nearly 2000 North-East based businesses, as part of the management for a business led forum as a digital specialist. Having previously worked in business support, he has secured over a million pounds of matched grant funding for SME's within the North-East.

Michael’s is lead business contact for the following sector areas: Design, Engineering and Manufacturing, Energy, Environment and Natural Sciences, Property and Construction, Entrepreneurship, Legal Services and Law Firms, Public Sector.

Lee LongstaffLee Longstaff

Enterprise Adviser:

Lee joined Northumbria University in March 2021 as Enterprise Adviser within Graduate Futures. A graduate of Sunderland University, Lee has more than 20 years’ experience in the business support sector gained with local enterprise agencies PNE and TEDCO. In 2019, Lee was named one of the Top Ten Business Advisors in the UK by Enterprise Nation. Working closely with colleagues across different teams as well as external mentors, Lee’s role involves providing advice and guidance to start-up and established businesses.

Lauren Errington Lauren Errington

Enterprise Coordinator:

Lauren has worked in the Student and Graduate Enterprise Team since 2022 as an Enterprise Coordinator, providing initial mentoring to students and graduates wishing to start-up a business or a freelance career. Prior to joining the team, Lauren graduated from Northumbria University with a Business and Economics undergraduate degree. She then worked in the Economic Development team at Gateshead Council, working as both an Enterprise Advisor supporting residents wishing to start a business and then as a Project Manager of an ERDF grant for local SME’s.

Nick Cram Nick Cram
Enterprise Coordinator:

Nick originally joined the Graduate Futures team in September 2019 where he worked as a placement student supporting marketing and communications of the placements team. Nick then returned to his final year of university and graduated in September 2021. In the following October Nick joined the International Mobility team as an Employability Administrator looking after the International Short programme and the Turing scheme funding.

Nick then joined the Student and Graduate Enterprise team in December 2022, where he currently leads on 1 to many events/workshops and activities as well as marketing and promotion of the team. Nick supports pre-start businesses in a 121 capacity. This support is for students/graduates who need help with idea generation to business creation and everything that comes up in between. Students and graduates can find out more here. Nick's passion is teaching and delivery which enables students and graduates explore the world of enterprise and become more employable as a result.

Since being part of the Graduate Futures team, Nick has completed his HEA fellowship to associate level in July 2023.

Andy Garton Andy Garton

Employability Coordinator:

Andy has worked at Northumbria University for 20 years and has been working in the area of international student mobility for the last 15 years - 8 years within Newcastle Business School working on the Business-specific student exchange programme, and for 7 years in International Development (recently moved to Graduate Futures) working on the University-wide staff and student exchange programmes. He is also the University's Erasmus Coordinator. Over the last 5 years he has been a leading user in the University of the MoveON mobility software, works with the MoveON UK and Ireland user group, and also shares MoveON best practice and training across regional and national groups, including Universities UK International and Erasmus+. He graduated from Newcastle University with a BA (Hons) German with French & Dutch degree and spent a year of that degree living in Germany.

Chloe Baxter

Employability Administrator:

Chloe joined the International Mobility Team in October 2022 working as Employability Administrator (Turing). Chloe studied Psychology and Criminology and graduated from Northumbria University in 2022 with a First-Class BSc Honours. She also studied abroad in her sandwich year in Cordoba, Spain and loved every minute! Chloe works closely with our partners for the International Short Programme and supports students through the application process. She looks after the marketing/promotion and recruitment of the International Summer Short scheme and provides support to the whole team. Chloe loves being part of the team and is very passionate about international mobility having experienced the benefits herself. She is excited to introduce students to exciting international opportunities available here at Northumbria University.

Waylan McIntyeWaylen McIntyre

Employability Administrator:

Waylen joined the International Mobility team in October 2022 working as an International Employability Administrator. Waylen studied Film and TV Production and graduated from Northumbria with an Upper Second Class BSc Honours. He also did a study abroad year whilst studying at Northumbria. Waylen spent a semester at Korea University, South Korea and St Cloud State University, USA. He loved his time so much abroad, so he joined the team to try influence others to have the experience that he had whilst abroad.

Waylen works closely with our partners in International Mobility and assists students with the Study Abroad process. He also looks after the Ambassador programme and works closely with the ambassadors to help curate unique content whilst on their time abroad. Waylen is very enthusiastic about being part of the team and hopes to help the development of International Mobility at Northumbria University.

Practice Placements

Shane Green

Employability Administrator:

Shane joined the Practice Placements team in July 2009 after graduating with a Degree in Human Resource Management. During his time with the team, Shane continued his studies by completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Practice at Northumbria University. Shane is an Employability Administrator in the Practice Placement team within Placements & Internships. In his role, Shane provides administrative assistance to the team whilst being a first point of contact to provide support to students, colleagues, and external stakeholders. In line with professional body requirements, Shane is responsible for allocating 2-week nursing spoke placements, coordinating international electives and Erasmus nursing placements.

Stuart Hotchkin

Employability Administrator:

Stuart is an Employability Administrator providing administrative support in the Practice Placements team, particularly supporting Social Work, Operating Department Practice (ODP), Adult Apprenticeships (open programme) and Return to Practice programmes. He supports students, staff and Practice Placement Facilitators on relevant placement systems and processes.

Mark Jankowski

Employability Coordinator:

Mark has worked in a variety of roles at the University since 2010, joining the Practice Placements team in 2017. His previous roles span areas such as Student Support & Wellbeing, teaching in Sport Exercise & Rehabilitation and Employability Partnerships. He is currently responsible for the Child Nursing and Midwifery placements. Before working at Northumbria Mark was also a student at the university, completing his MSc in Sport Psychology in 2009 and his PhD in 2019.

Michael McGovern

Employability Administrator:

Michael is an Employability Administrator in the Placements & Internships team. Before moving to the Graduate Futures service in July 2021, he worked in various teams at Coach Lane for 16 years. Michael’s current responsibilities include support for Placements staff and student related placement coordination.

Natalie Pickup

Employability Coordinator:

Natalie started at Northumbria University in 2005 within the Practice Placements team. Natalie has coordinated placements for many programmes within Health & Life Sciences including: Social Work, Adult Nursing, Child Nursing, Operating Department Practitioner, Return to Practice Programme and make up time/completions. Natalie has experience in reviewing and developing systems and was involved in developing the ARC Placement Management system for the Social Work Programme working collaboratively with other HEI’s in the UK. Current responsibilities include coordinating Social Work and Operating Department Practitioner placements, reviewing and developing systems/processes and liaising with Employer/Placement Providers.

Chris Shepherd

Practice Learning Adviser:

Chris is a Practice Learning Adviser and joined Northumbria as an apprentice in 2008 and has worked within many services and faculties at the University. Chris currently oversees the coordination of all practice placement activity for Nursing, Midwifery, Allied Health, Education and Social Work.

Jonathan Smith

Employability Administrator:

Jon is an Employability Administrator providing support within the Practice Placements team, with particular focus on our Primary Education and Occupational Therapy programmes. He supports students, staff and external stakeholders who have queries relating to relevant placement systems and processes. Jon previously worked within student support at The London Institute of Banking & Finance for 4 years, before returning to his native North East and joining Northumbria University in his current role in April 2021.

Joe Soo

Employability Administrator:

Joe is an Employability Administrator supporting the Practice Placement team, focusing on Adult Nursing programmes. He supports the team by providing support to external stakeholders on relevant systems and processes. Prior to working in Northumbria, Joe graduated at Northumbria with a BA(Hons) Business with Economics and MSc Business Analytics. Joe started in his current role in November 2021.

Yvonne Spark

Employability Administrator:

Yvonne has worked as an Employability Administrator within Placements & Internships for the last 14 years. In her role Yvonne’s experience encompasses a wide range of administrative support to allied health nursing disciplines and enjoys her role immensely. Yvonne graduated from Northumbria with a Bachelor of Arts in Support Services Practice.

Kevin Sugden

Employability Coordinator:

Kevin has worked in the Practice Placements team for over 20 years based mainly at Coach Lane Campus and has a wide range of knowledge relating to Healthcare and Primary Education placement provision and has provided support across these programmes during this time.  Since becoming Employability Coordinator in 2019 he currently manages placements for students on the Occupational Therapy and Primary ITE programmes and enjoys the challenges that arranging placements brings. Kevin works full-time - Monday to Friday.


Internships and Non-Practice Placements

Julia BennettJulia Bennett

Work Experience Operations and Approvals Specialist :

Julia oversees day-to-day operations of the team working on non-practice placements, and the development of the University NU:Opportunities scheme. Julia has over 23 years of experience in careers services in the HE Sector and before moving across to the work experience focused role, specialised in managing and developing relationships with student and graduate recruiters.

Kieran ChalkleyKieran Chalkley

Employability Administrator:

Kieran is an Employability Administrator who started at Northumbria University in September 2022, working on the non-practice placements side within Graduate Futures. Kieran offers administrative support and help to the team and assists with NU opportunities when needed. Kieran works full-time Monday-Friday.

Madeleine DayMadeleine Day

Employability Coordinator: Madeleine is currently on Maternity Leave. Please complete our enquiry form to contact the Placements team.

Madeleine is an Employability Coordinator in the Placements & Internships team. She manages the administration of EE Placement Years as well as the Santander Universities SME Internship Scheme. Prior to working at Northumbria University, she worked in the careers services’ at Newcastle University and the Oxford Saïd Business School. She is a graduate from the University of Reading in History and English Literature.


Natalie Hay

Employability Administrator:

Natalie is an Employability Administrator who started at Northumbria University in March 2024, working on the non-practice placements side within Graduate Futures. Natalie offers administrative support and help to the team. Natalie works full-time Monday-Friday.


Andrea HilleryAndrea Hillery

Employability Coordinator:

Andrea joined the Graduate Futures service in June 2020 as an Employability Coordinator, responsible for placements across Health & Life Sciences faculty. Previously, she worked for a global leadership development organisation. Her previous role included designing and delivering a range of programmes that equipped participants from multiple generations, with the skills they needed to help make a difference in their sector and region. Andrea has helped develop employability skills for students, emerging leaders to senior leaders across organisations and society. She has a particular interest in experiential learning and business development. Andrea has a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Leeds. Andrea works Monday - Friday.


 Monika MatulionyteMonika Matulionyte

Employability Coordinator:

Monika is an Employability Coordinator within the Placements and Internships team. In this role, she oversees the administration of placements for the Engineering and Environment faculty while also engaging in additional projects for Target Connect and contributing to the organization of the University's Career Fairs. Prior to this role, Monika has worked at Newcastle University Business School, organising extracurricular employability activities and providing informational careers support for students. She is a Northumbria University graduate, having completed MSc in Occupational and Organisational Psychology.


Annette RobsonAnnette Robson

Employability Administrator:

Annette Robson works in the Placements & Internships team of Graduate Futures. She has worked in Placements for a number of years and enjoys the role immensely. Annette is responsible for many of the related administrative tasks and has extensive knowledge in the associated systems. Annette finds it is very rewarding to help students to find a placement or internship as part of their degree, and be involved in their full employability journey.


Aimee StonehouseAimee Stonehouse

Employability Coordinator:

Aimee is an Employability Coordinator, responsible for placements across Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Prior to joining Graduate Futures, Aimee worked in human resources, learning and development, and graduate recruitment. She holds a Batcher of Arts and Master of Science from Newcastle University, as well as a postgraduate diploma in HR Management and Development from Northumbria University.


Lee Sweeney

Employability Coordinator:

Lee is an Employability Coordinator within the Placements & Internships team. He manages the administration of Yearlong placements for Business & Law and the university’s Students into Schools programme, as well as Year Long and short-term placements within the School of Design. Lee has worked at Northumbria University since 2007 and has been involved with placements since 2012. He is also a graduate of Northumbria, having studied Leadership & Management

Emma WheelerEmma Wheeler

Employability Administrator:

Emma is an Employability Administrator who started at Northumbria University in September 2022, working on the non-practice placements side within Graduate Futures. Emma offers administrative support and help to the team and assists with NU opportunities when needed. Emma is also Target Connect lead. Emma works full-time Monday-Friday.

Laura WilsonLaura Wilson

Employability Coordinator:

Laura joined the Graduates Futures service in September 2022 within the role of Employability Coordinator. She is responsible for managing NU:Opportunities Internship Scheme. Before joining Northumbria, Laura worked within Human Resources supporting several functions, including recruitment, international mobility, and organisational development, she has recently completed her CIPD Level 5 Diploma in People Management. Laura has a wealth of experience in supporting employability initiatives and business engagement. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Tourism Management from the University of Sunderland is an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Laura works Monday- Friday.