Alison was born and raised in Northumberland, growing up on a dairy farm. After studying for her English degree in Newcastle upon Tyne, she spent several years as a professional careers adviser in Northumberland and North Yorkshire.
She began specialising in careers information work in schools, in work with young people with ‘special needs’ as well as with ‘more able’ students in Northumberland.
After moving to North Yorkshire, Alison was involved in pioneering work to establish the county's first specialist careers support service for adults - which included ground-breaking collaboration between the Careers Service and North Yorkshire's Library & Information Service. She also worked closely with the Jobcentre network, the (then) Training & Enterprise Council (TEC) and the Learning & Skills Council (LSC) as well as with European-funded projects.
For a period Alison was also directly based at the North Yorkshire TEC where she was heavily involved in the development of its strategies for work with adults. As North Yorkshire's Careers Service became a private company in the early 1990s, and grew to become known as the Guidance Enterprises Group, Alison specialised in career management and outplacement services for adults, before leaving the Guidance Enterprises Group in 2005.
She first gained a national perspective in the guidance field for adults through time working with the National Educational Guidance Initiative and the Further Education Unit. In addition to her professional Diploma in Career Guidance, Alison has gained further qualifications in counselling, in further and adult education teaching, CLAIT, and in assessing and verifying NVQs (both internally and externally).
Today, she is actively involved with both the National Association for Educational Guidance for Adults (NAEGA) and the Institute of Career Guidance, serving on their national committees for guidance work with adults. Through these links she also serves on Careers England's Task Group for guidance work with adults.
Having worked as a member of the group which designed the inaugural National Quality Standards for Learning and Work, Alison now works as a registered practitioner for the matrix Quality Standard for Information, Advice & Guidance (IAG) for learning and work.
She has successfully advised and assessed organisations across the public, private and voluntary & community sectors against the matrix Standard. This has involved working with large and small businesses, charitable and TUC-linked organisations as well as with Prisons, Local Authority services, Further Education Colleges and Higher Education institutions. All of these advisory and assessment projects are of necessity confidential reports to the organisations involved, hence it is not possible to offer an example on this website. For further information, however, do please contact Alison directly and we recommend that you also view the matrix website http://www.matrixStandard.com . Alison was also one of the matrix practitioners selected to trial the 2011 revision of the content to the Standard, leading to it being launched as the required quality standard for the National Careers Service from 2012/3.
Alison also gained substantial experience of working as an Associate Inspector with the former Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI). Her main expertise has been within work-based learning - with some joint OFSTED inspection experience in FE, as well as advising nextstep partnerships. She has been involved in local and national research and evaluation projects for England's thirty Lifelong Learning Networks, with nextstep providers and with other national bodies.
Through experience with the ALI, her commercial career management contracts and national Quality Standards work, Alison has worked throughout the UK, as well as in parts of Ireland, Oman, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus.
Alison's main focus currently is with a range of contracts in the northern parts of England, both through her matrix advisory and assessment work as well as directly with further clients and customers through Boundary Partnership. Alison also has business links with Axia Interactive Media and with Methven. She is an experienced outplacement career counsellor.
Alison’s personal interests outside work include her passion for cricket - being a Full Member of Yorkshire County Cricket Club as well as a 'country Member' of Durham County Cricket Club (and she's a fan of Cricket Australia, since it was Australia which first led to her real interest in the great game).
In 2009 Alison and Paul became associated with the Meerlust Foundation in South Africa which merged in 2010 with the Sustainability Institute's "Changes Youth" programme at Lynedoch near Stellenbosch in the Western Cape; Alison and Paul's heartfelt ambition has been to encourage disadvantaged teenaged black children there to follow and play cricket, as a result of which it is splendid to report that Yorkshire CCC's charitable foundation donated Kwik Cricket kits to the "Changes Youth" in Spring 2010 to enable their young teenagers to begin to learn the game (please click here to view a brief introduction to the SA charity).
Alison and Paul share a true affection for the southern hemisphere, which began with a love for Australia, to which they added South Africa, and then in January 2011, Paul & Alison travelled to New Zealand to tour the simply stunning South Island, visit Auckland in the North and spend time in the capital, Wellington. They also took in time at Wellington's Basin Reserve cricket ground before travelling on to attend two ODI cricket fixtures between Australia and England at Hobart & Adelaide on their return journey home. They also enjoy rural France.
Alison is a member of her local Church Choir, and in November 2009 she was elected to serve as Secretary to the Thrintoft Village Committee (relinquishing this role in May 2012).
She was an active member of Stamfordham Young Farmers Club in her late teens and twenties, including becoming its Chairman. She remains a lover of the countryside, cows and cats.