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Meet the team

Northumbria University Careers and Employment staff profiles


Management Team

Andrew HaxellAndrew Haxell
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 practitioner and management and leadership roles for over 14 years – including having responsibility for the biannual Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey and use of outcomes data for much of that period – until taking on his current role. 

Ann SmartAnn Smart
Ann leads the team of Careers Advisers.  She has extensive professional experience in Higher Education and is actively involved in the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services.   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.

Catherine ManleyCatherine Manley
Catherine leads the Access, Success and Progression Team for Student and Library Services, which focuses on the ‘Widening Participation’ agenda from the Office for Students, which promotes inclusivity in relation to access, participation and parity of outcomes for under-represented student groups in higher education. Catherine, a BA and Masters graduate (Community and Youth Studies), from Durham University, joined Northumbria in 2016 as a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences and later took up the role as Access, Success and Progression Manager in July 2018. Catherine has extensive experience in inclusive education and project / people management and following her PGCE (QTS) in 2009, has taught across a broad educational spectrum including: alternative and mainstream secondary education to further and higher education including post-graduate programmes. Catherine has also undertaken a range of research roles in relation to educational and social exclusion and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Denise KeighleyDenise Keighley 
Denise leads the Employer Liaison Team which connects Northumbria students and graduates with regional, national and international employers, professional bodies and third sector organisations recruiting to their graduate and part-time jobs, internships, work experience and volunteering roles through JobsOnline and a varied programme of careers fairs and events. 

A University of York graduate, she draws on previous commercial management experience in retail management with John Lewis Partnership along with a professional background in local government & university careers services as a qualified careers adviser working with students, employers and academic colleagues.  

Denise is always keen to hear from employers keen to work with Northumbria to support the employment and employability of Northumbria students and graduates.

Graham BatyGraham Baty
Graham leads the Student and Graduate Enterprise 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
Nita heads up the Information Team which provides an enquiry service and develops our information resource. After graduating from the University of Manchester with an Economics degree, she 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, publishing and as an editor for business information resources.  She joined the University in 2001 and took on the new role of Careers Information Manager in 2014.

Victor OttawayVictor Ottaway
Victor joined the Careers and Employment Service in September 2016 managing the delivery of 130 Graduate Internships   His role has expanded to now cover paid internships for both students and graduates that are at least partly funded through the University.

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.

Access, Success and Progression Team

Caroline IngledewCaroline Ingledew 
Caroline joined Northumbria University in 2013 and joined the Access, Success and Progression Team in November 2018. In Caroline’s previous role at the university, she was a member of the Disability and Dyslexia Support Team within Student Support and Wellbeing, where she held responsibility for co-ordination (university wide) of student facing services in the areas of disability and mental health-related support.

Prior to Caroline’s employment at Northumbria, she had a long career in financial services with NatWest/Worldpay in many customer-facing and departmental roles, (including that of a Team Manager) and completed the A.C.I.B degree qualification.

Caroline has significant experience in the voluntary and education sector (adult learning) and successfully achieved a Foundation Degree in Education and Training. Having witnessed, first hand, the impact inclusive education can have on the lives of individuals, Caroline is delighted to now be in a role which will inform the University’s Widening Participation activities.

Emily ParkinEmily Parkin
Emily joined the Access, Success and Progression Team at Northumbria University in November 2018 and coordinates project activity, informed by data analysis, in relation to improving access, attainment and parity of outcomes for under-represented students across the university. Emily brings with her a wealth of experience in areas of engagement and inclusion across the HE sector and has made a significant impact in relation to embedding student engagement activity via bespoke inclusion routes for students. Emily has worked within a range of universities including Newcastle, Sunderland and Lincoln, working closely with or in Students’ Unions on the inclusion agenda. As an experienced manager in HE, Emily is committed to her role of facilitating a high quality educational experience with a focus on supporting students to identify as equal partners in their higher education journey. Emily, a University of Sunderland graduate (English), is a published author on the subject of student engagement and holds a PGCert in Social Research from the University of Lincoln. Emily has also worked in the not-for-profit sector and is a member of the national RAISE network.

Employer Liaison Team

James PocklingtonJames Pocklington
James joined the Employer Liaison Team in August 2018, as an Employer Liaison Assistant. James has 9 years of public sector experience, having previously worked for North Yorkshire Police in a support role. James’s role within the Employer Liaison Team involves updating vacancies on JobsOnline, as well as a range of tasks to support both the Part-time Jobs Fair, and the Placements & Careers Fair. In his own time, James enjoys watercolour painting and sketching. He also spends a lot of time on the beach with his dog, a Flat-coated Retriever called George.

Judith NewmanJudith Newman
Part of the Employer Liaison Team since 2008, Judith is an Employer Liaison Assistant  who provides adminstrative support to the team including being a first point of contact to employers looking to employ Northumbria students and graduates, managing an online vacancy database, and the organisation of a series of employer related events that include presentations and careers fairs.

Judith joined Careers and Employment  in 2001 as part of the Information Team after graduating from Northumbria University with a degree in Information and Library Management. Before attending university, Judith worked for local government in various administrative roles.

In her spare time Judith is a volunteer youth worker and enjoys creative writing.  Other interests include music, keeping fit and membership of the National Trust and English Heritage.

Julia BennettJulia Bennett
Julia is an Employer Liaison Co-ordinator and has over 18 years of experience in the higher education careers sector in an employer engagement role, having previously worked at Newcastle University before joining Northumbria University in 2001.

As well as managing relationships with employers in relation to their graduate and student recruitment needs, Julia’s role has encompassed managing and developing the vacancy systems, co-ordinating and developing careers fairs and managing the programme of individual employer events, in addition to co-ordinating a number of externally funded graduate internship projects. Her role currently involves leading on the co-ordination of the programme of employers visiting the campus to meet Northumbria students and organisation of the Part-time Jobs Fair.

Julia likes film, books and music, and she makes a mean chocolate brownie.

Sarah BirkettSarah Birkett 
Sarah is an Employer Liaison Co-ordinator supporting employers with their student and graduate recruitment activities, through online vacancy advertising and on-campus events. One of her main focuses is the organisation and coordination of the annual Northumbria Placements & Careers Fair, which last year saw over 200 employers and 3000 students across two days.  

A Northumbria graduate, Sarah spent 10 years working for a large multinational company before embarking on a career within the Employer Liaison Team.  

Outside work Sarah loves dancing and going to the theatre. 

Violet DuffyViolet Duffy
Violet joined Careers and Employment in May 2014 as an Employer Liaison Co-ordinator. In her role, Violet supports employers to recruit Northumbria University students and graduates into part-time, work experience and graduate roles. She is responsible for managing and developing Northumbria’s vacancy database, JobsOnline, which allows regional, national and international employers to promote their vacancies to Northumbria students and graduates. She also co-ordinates a range of employer-led careers events including recruitment presentations, skills sessions, assessment centres and large careers fairs. In addition, Violet supports Careers and Employment marketing and digital activities. Prior to joining the service, Violet worked at Newcastle University delivering an ERDF funded graduate internship scheme.

Violet is a keen runner and enjoys cooking, crafts and music.

Information Team

Isabel TaylorIsabel Taylor   
Isabel joined Careers and Employment  as an Information Co-ordinator in 2014. She has previously worked in public libraries, business information, an engineering library, e-learning 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 to students at Careers Information and Job Search Drop-ins, Isabel’s responsibilities include social media and marketing.

Margaret HowieMargaret Howie
Margaret is an Information Co-ordinator who has extensive experience in information work, having worked in various roles in Northumbria University Library before joining Careers and Employment in 2008. Margaret provides frontline 1-1 careers information for students and graduates of Northumbria, and having co-ordinated the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey for Northumbria, Margaret is now involved in the transition from DLHE to Graduate Outcomes. Margaret also contributes to the development of careers information resources, with responsibility for careers related book stock. She is a member of the feedback and evaluation group.

Rob MulliganRob Mulligan
Rob is an Information 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.

Mary TiptonMary Tipton
Mary joined Careers and Employment in May 2014 as an Information Assistant. She supports the effective running of the Information Team, helping to keep our digital resources and book stock up to date and assisting with the marketing of the service. A Northumbria graduate, Mary has previously worked in various information roles including spells as a researcher for a local authority and for a business development project. She also worked as an Information Officer for a business support organisation.

Internships Team

Bob StoateBob Stoate
Bob joined Northumbria University in 2016 as a Project Administrator on the Northumbria Enterprise and Business Support ERDF project. With that project now concluded, and having undertaken a successful secondment co-ordinating CES’s Santander Universities Internships grant funding allocation, Bob is well positioned in his role as Internship Administrator.

The role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities: monitoring expenditure, liaising with employers and students, and collecting and analysing recruitment/evaluation/impact data. He is also involved in the design and operation of the various legal, financial, practical and other processes needed to offer funding from a variety of streams, each with their own challenging set of criteria.

Bob’s pastimes include swimming, drawing, writing, and recording original music.

Fiona MackisonFiona Mackison
Fiona is an Internship Coordinator and is currently working on the development of new internship programmes. Previous to this Fiona worked on Northumbria Graduate Internships, a strand of Northumbria Enterprise and Business Support. This was a two year ERDF project providing financial support to SMEs in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland. By working with businesses to recruit a graduate, the aim of the scheme was to promote business growth through innovation and improved performance.

She has also worked at Northumbria University in Research and Business Support and International Collaborative Ventures.

Guidance Team

Andy FishburnAndy Fishburn
Andy is the Careers Adviser working with the Sport & Rehabilitation, Law and Psychology 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
Anna is the Careers Adviser based at Coach Lane Campus, working with staff and students across the Health, Education, Social Work and related programmes. Anna represents the service on the AGCAS NE Regional Training group and has organised training events for colleagues from across the country.  Anna is a member of the Service Feedback and Evaluation Group. After graduating with a degree in History, Anna undertook training in marketing before working for Eureka, the Museum for Children. 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 working as a Careers Adviser in the Higher Education sector.

Ashleigh WilsonAshleigh Wilson
Ashleigh is the Careers Adviser for Newcastle Business School and all Postgraduate Researchers.  She also leads on LinkedIn training for students and staff and on the Careers and Employment diversity agenda.  After graduating with an English Literature degree from the University of Edinburgh and spending an Erasmus year at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, she worked in not-for-profit international finance, UK politics and in third sector management before graduating with distinction from the Postgraduate Diploma in Career Guidance at Sunderland University.  Before starting her role at Northumbria, Ashleigh worked as a Careers Adviser at Newcastle University for the schools of Architecture, Dentistry, Engineering and Marine Science.  She also led on the Careers Service Widening Participation programme.  Ashleigh has particular interests in executive coaching, the use of new technologies within graduate recruitment, interview techniques and career guidance theories.  Ashleigh is also an appointed member of the national diversity group for AGCAS and a writer for Target Jobs.

Brenda StephensonBrenda Stephenson
Brenda works with undergraduate and postgraduate students from across the University and after some time working with Business School students and PGRs, now has a specific remit to deliver projects focusing on the widening participation agenda, promoting inclusivity and parity of outcomes for underrepresented student groups.

After a degree in History from Newcastle University and a short spell working for a newspaper, Brenda completed her postgraduate diploma in careers guidance at Northumbria. Her passion has always been in widening participation, so after several years working as a HE specialist Careers Adviser with County Durham Careers Service, she spent 6 years as Project Manager with Aimhigher County Durham. When Aimhigher came to an end, Brenda embarked on a portfolio career combining careers guidance with running a number of aspiration raising projects with schools and travelling throughout Europe and the USA as a Tour Manager with an International rail travel company. Before commencing at Northumbria, Brenda spent 10 months as a Careers Adviser at Newcastle University, running the Career Insight programme and working with the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Daniel LewisDan Lewis
Dan is the Careers Adviser for Computer and Information Sciences, Mechanical and Construction Engineering and Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering. 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 the Careers team at Northumbria in January 2017. Dan enjoys exploring and using new techniques within careers guidance and is also interested in how companies use AI, gamification and technology such as VR in the recruitment process.

Elaine HolterElaine Holter
Elaine joined the Careers Team in 2019 and has relocated to the North East. She will be working  with undergraduate and postgraduate students from across the University with a specific remit to assist in delivering projects focusing on the widening participation agenda, promoting inclusivity and parity of outcomes for underrepresented student groups.

After a degree in French and German from Hull University and several years working in industry, Elaine completed her Careers Guidance qualifications working in Stoke-on-Trent for The Connexions Service and then for Stoke-On-Trent City Council Careers Service over a period of almost 20 years. Elaine has always been interested in supporting young people achieve their goals and aspirations and in 2011 qualified as a counsellor, completing an MA in counselling at the University of Manchester.

Elaine McStravickElaine McStravick
Elaine is currently Careers Adviser to Newcastle Business School and all Postgraduate Researchers. After completing the postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance at Napier University Elaine has worked in a variety of settings – including Higher Education, schools and adult guidance. She has developed career coaching and guidance skills in a range of professional settings, with additional experience in recruitment and redundancy outplacement. Elaine has been self-employed and has a particular interest in business enterprise and student entrepreneurial skills. Before joining Northumbria University in January 2019, Elaine ran a successful business for 4 years, providing professional career guidance and consultancy services within the education and business sector in the North East of England.

Jenny OneilJenny O'Neil
Jenny is responsible for Careers provision within The Design School, Fine Art and Social Sciences here at Northumbria. Jenny is a graduate of Northumbria after gaining a 1st Class Honours degree in Sociology before progressing to study a Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance at Coventry University. She is very interested in the increasing use of Twitter in the graduate labour market as well as the importance of a global mind set and resilience in students when job hunting nationally and internationally.  Jenny has excellent experience from placements, work experience and employment within six Higher Education Careers service settings including a week at Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich, Germany.

Margaret EvansMargaret Evans
Margaret is the link Careers Adviser for Built Environment and Architecture programmes, the department of Geography and the department of Applied Sciences.

Since leaving the financial services sector to study for the Postgraduate Qualification in Career Guidance, she has 16 years’ experience in the careers profession in further and higher education.  Her earlier experience as a teacher and trainer has bred a continuing interest in careers in education, which she currently leads on within the Service.

Mark LeeMark Lee
Mark is the link Careers Adviser for Built Environment and Architecture programmes, the department of Geography and the department of Applied Sciences.  Mark lived and worked in multiple sectors across the globe before graduating from the Postgraduate Diploma in Career Guidance at Sunderland University in 2008. He then went on to work in careers departments in several of the region’s FE colleges supporting individuals of all ages and levels of education.

In 2016 Mark graduated from a BA (Hons) in Education in Durham and progressed to manage student support and recruitment teams in FE. From this he led many careers education initiatives and won awards for innovative career and learner voice events as well as a national award for the UK’s Best FE Support Service in 2017.

A keen musician and technophile, Mark is particularly interested in how popular culture and technological developments impact on industry and individual’s career choices.


Student and Graduate Enterprise Team

Ailsa RiddellAilsa Riddell 
Ailsa joined the Student and Graduate Enterprise team in September 2016 as Enterprise Officer for the ERDF funded Northumbria Enterprise and Business Support (NEBS) project. Her role involves raising awareness of the service to students and academics as well as offering initial stage mentoring to students and graduates interested in starting a business or being self-employed. Ailsa also provides support to those students on the Enterprise Placement and organises community and networking events. Ailsa has worked at Northumbria University for over 10 years and previously held roles in the Faculty of Engineering and Environment and in Marketing. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in Economic and Social History.

Pippa ChristiePippa Christie
Part of the Student and Graduate Enterprise team, Pippa joined Northumbria in March 2018 as Enterprise Officer. After graduating from the University of Sunderland with a degree in Magazine Journalism in 2014, she developed an interest in business start-up and soon began working in the enterprise team at the University of Sunderland. Across three and a half years in that role she lead on promoting the service, facilitating the running of the hatchery space and supported many students and graduates on their entrepreneurial journey. In her current role she works with early stage start-up businesses and freelancers, providing mentoring to support them during their concept development and into trading. Pippa works with a number of International students and graduates and manages the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa endorsement process. Alongside her colleague Ailsa, Pippa organises, promotes and delivers events on campus, including Enterprise Weekends to inspire future graduate entrepreneurs. Pippa has a passion for business start-up and hopes to one day start her own business.

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