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HR Reference Group

Aim of the Group

The primary aim of this group is to build and maintain a community of HR professionals in AoC member colleges to facilitate the sharing of ideas and solutions to human resource management issues and challenges.

The group acts as conduit to seek and disseminate information, advice and guidance on workforce issues specific to the Further Education sector, including employment law, industrial relations and education policy matters and will facilitate two-way communication between AoC and its members.

The group will proactively identify strategic human resource management issues for colleges to stimulate debate and provide leadership on HR practice in the sector.


* Regional HR Network Chair


Beverley Mahoney, Director of People and Organisation Development - Chelmsford College

Hilary Bright*, Director of HR Services - City College Norwich

Laura Kerry, Director of HR - Cambridge Regional College

Sally Appleby, Executive Director of HR Services - Harlow College

Vicki Ellis, Head of HR - North Hertfordshire College

East Midlands

Emma Kilby-Brooks, Director of HR - Loughborough College

Jan Hutt*, Vice Principal -People and Organisational Development - Northampton College


Janet Curtis-Broni*, Group Chief People Officer - London & South East Colleges

Julia Gilbert, Executive Director - People - City Lit

North East

Naomi Robson*, Vice Principal Resources - Education Partnership North East

North West

Gill Thornton*, Head of Human Resources - Preston College

Joanne Baylis, Head of HR - Tameside College

Naomi Harrop, Director of HR and Performance - Trafford College Group

South East

Michiela Blake*, Director of People - The City of Portsmouth College

Cheryl Blackley,Head of HR People and Culture - Isle of Wight College

South West

Kelly Gillet, Director of People and Organisational Culture - South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS)

Sheena Murphy-Collett*, Vice Principal of People, Organisational Development and Engagement - Petroc

West Midlands

Donna Lucas*, Group Vice Principal Human Resource and Professional Development - Shrewsbury Colleges Group

Karen O’Reilly, Assistant Principal – Human Resources - South Staffordshire College

Victoria Lynn-Robinson, Higher Education Development Manager - Walsall College

Yorkshire & Humber

Karen Sykes*, Executive Director of People - Heart of Yorkshire Education Group (Wakefield College)

Sol Miah, Governor - The Sheffield College

Upcoming meeting dates:

  • Wednesday 6 March 2024: 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. - online
  • Wednesday 19 June 2024: 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. - TBC

Previous meeting dates:

  • Wednesday 13 December 2023
  • Wednesday 11 October 2023
  • Tuesday 11 July 2023