Young Learner Advisory Team

Putting learner experience and perspectives at the heart of key decision-making processes at City & Guilds.

About the

Meet the



About the Team

As an organisation all about supporting skills development, we formed the Young Learner Advisory Team (YLAT) to become a valuable resource for our Executive & Board of Trustees, with a key role to share their recent experience and perspectives to enable a strong sense of the learner in the way we make decisions and share their experiences.

Our Trustee Board works collectively with the Group CEO and the executive team to govern the organisation and take decisions that will help us grow and achieve our ambitious goals. The role of the YLAT is to directly inform both the Executive and Trustees on experiences and perspectives to influence the direction and impact at City & Guilds, as well as the development of appropriate products and services​, and amplify important issues in respects to skills and jobs impacting all young people​.

The voice of young minds is integral to helping shape the future of education. Through our Young Learner Advisory Team, we hope to amplify a distinct learner voice at a Trustee Board level to ensure that their lived experience is at the heart of all key decision making.

Dame Ann Limb

Chair of the Trustee Board, City & Guilds


of young people don't think they will ever achieve their career ambition


believe that their education has not equipped them with the skills they need to get a good job


believe employers are doing enough to support young people into work

City & Guilds’ Youth Misspent research found that the odds are being stacked against young people’s futures and career aspirations, particularly the most disadvantaged, and young people seem to be rapidly losing hope as they face what they see as a hostile labour market with limited opportunities to get a foot on the ladder and progress – suggesting they are being let down by the education system, Government and employers alike. 

The YLAT is the first of its kind for our organisation and marks a significant milestone in our institution’s history. One of the core objectives of the Team is to amplify the voices of learners – creating a bridge for connection and collaboration. They will help raise and discuss issues, challenge opinions and give insight on key elements of City & Guilds’ strategic corporate decisions which impact the way we deliver and develop our products and services.

We anticipate that this team will also be able to add value beyond our organisation, using the new platform to amplify important issues in respect to skills and jobs impacting all young people.

The Young Learner Advisory Team is a great opportunity for young people to build on their existing skills and experience – ultimately contributing to their own personal development – whilst also making a real difference for City & Guilds by providing their insights and unique experiences. We’re so proud to have them helping the organisation become even more the inclusive, insightful and impactful organisation that we strive to be.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE

Chief Executive Officer, City & Guilds

Meet the Team

The team comprises of seven diverse, bright and enthusiastic individuals, all of whom being current and previous vocational learners with qualifications in a range of fields, from Civil Engineering to Digital & Technology Solutions to Tailoring.

Robert Cotter

Restorative | Consistency | Adaptability | Strategic | Learner

Rob is a full time FE lecturer specialising in electrical and plumbing installation. He is also currently studying for his Education and Training qualifications to become a fully qualified FE lecturer.​

Being in YLAT means that I can share all my experiences during my time in education (both past and present) to then reflect and improve or praise where necessary. With this in mind then move forward as a team, company and business to provide the best we can for our learners.

Melissa Robinson

Positivity | Communication | Developer | Includer | Achiever

Melissa is currently studying an apprenticeship in Digital Technology Solutions, working for CISCO in their CSR department. She has a real passion for increasing awareness around apprenticeships, she was educated in Thailand for a few years and has a real appreciation for the UK education system.

I’m keen to use my apprenticeship experience to educate and influence others, especially during National Apprenticeship week. With the YLAT I’m looking forward to building new connections and using experience to help them where I can e.g., surveys, speaking at events, reviewing reports etc.

Ryan Hull

Achiever | Competition | Strategic | Restorative | Command

Ryan was one of our InterTrain bursary funded learners who completed a track maintenance course whilst in HMP Highpoint. He openly shared his struggles with paranoid schizophrenia, which he has been able to successfully manage. He is a father of two and since his release from prison has been promoted to manager at his current workplace, Vital. ​

Being in the YLAT means having a platform to voice our opinions and ideas on important issues that affect young people. It means being part of a supportive community where we can learn from each other’s experiences and work together to make a positive impact.

Princess Sebastiao​

Harmony | Restorative | Futuristic | Relator | Achiever

Princess feels that her background as a former apprentice has equipped me with a comprehensive understanding of how apprenticeships work. She also feels that this role aligns perfectly with her commitment to fostering a supportive environment where the voices of young people are heard, valued, and translated into meaningful actions that drive lasting transformation. ​

To be an advocate for young individuals especially from a BAME & low socio-economic background by sharing my personal experiences and the experiences of others.

Kira Foster​

Futuristic | Strategic | Achiever | Ideation | Focus

Kira is one of our previous bursary recipients and most recently won a livery prize. She has a background and has been studying this since she was 14, her most recent qualification a Level 2 in Tailoring. ​

Being in the Young Learners Advisory Team means a lot to me. I have been a City & Guilds Learner twice in my 24 years of life and have also taught courses on Level 1 and 2 to classes of 12-18 year-olds for over a year now. Over the next year, through the YLAT, I am looking to create more access to training for the Arts & Trade opportunities in the West Midlands and North.

Jarrishan Rajendran​

Competition | Individualization | Activator | Achiever | Command

Jarrishan is a data consultant, passionate about apprenticeships & an ambassador for GetMyFirstJob & NotGoingToUniversity. He is excited to bring his experience and expertise to the team.​

Through YLAT, I have the chance to represent and collaborate with City and Guilds, working towards ensuring a higher standard by incorporating the genuine insights of young individuals.

Tanaka Whande

Input | Analytical | Responsibility | Context | Restorative

Tanaka has a fervent desire to advocate for vocational education and with the support of City and Guilds, he feels it will be possible to benefit a significant portion of society through raising awareness of vocational education. He has undertaken apprenticeships for 7 consecutive years. ​

I look forward to collaborating with the Young Learner Advisory Team to help spread awareness about apprenticeships and to give young people more opportunities to succeed in education and the workplace.

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With nearly 150 years’ experience of successfully supporting training and skills development across the UK and globally, City & Guilds believes in listening to learners. Our new Young Learner Advisory Team (YLAT) guide us by sharing their valuable insights and...

Introducing the newly formed Young Learner Advisory Team

In a bold step towards ensuring that learners experience and perspectives are at the heart of key decision-making processes here at City & Guilds, we are pleased to introduce the newly formed Young Learner Advisory Team. This team will provide an ‘active voice’...
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