Qualifications expert joins OAL

This month, the team at Occupational Awards Limited (OAL) welcomed two familiar faces from the world of food industry qualifications and apprenticeships. The appointment of ex-FDQ Director, Derek Williams as Standards and Quality Director and Sarah Marshall, also ex-FDQ, as a Senior Marketing and Key Accounts Manager is part of a broader strategy to grow the business across a range of key sectors at this crucial time in skills and apprenticeships.

Leading the sector into the new world

Derek Williams joins to head up the Standards and Quality team in order to lead the business – and indeed the sector – into the new world of apprenticeships. His appointment comes just ahead of the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and new apprenticeship standards.

“I’m delighted to be joining OAL and excited by the opportunity to deliver the ambition to develop the business into a market leading awarding organisation with true multi-sector expertise. As an organisation we will have a specialist focus on the food & drink, furniture, wood and health & safety sectors.

“Under my watch, the team will be working hard from day one to provide innovative – yet flexible – employer-led qualifications in a radically changing marketplace.

“Being part of a highly motivated and experienced team is a worthy challenge and one which will ensure that OAL can successfully develop a sustainable multi-sector approach,” said Derek.

Commercially responsive customer service

Senior Marketing and Key Accounts Manager, Sarah Marshall has been engaged to drive the business forward at a commercial level. Her role encompasses the strategic elements of brand, marketing, communications and she is tasked specifically with ensuring that OAL is well positioned to deliver high levels of commercially responsive customer service to all clients, at all times.

“I am really excited to be joining the ambitious new team at OAL, and particularly happy to be returning to a sector I love at such a pivotal time in its evolution.

“I chose OAL because I believe that together we possess a winning combination of skills and experience which will enable us to deliver for our employers, providers and learners at every contact. As a team we have wealth of multi-sector experience, incredible enthusiasm and strong ambitions to deliver something really special.

“I can’t wait to get going,” said Sarah.

A word from our CEO

Amanda Clark, Chief Executive of OAL said: “Clearly I am over the moon to have secured the appointment of two quality individuals. Having worked with them both for several years, I know absolutely that I have the right team in place to deliver for the business and the sectors we support.

“Now back to the day job, the businesses we support have much to do in order to fully capitalise on the changes to apprenticeships. We intend to be there for them every step of the way.”

More about our new team members

Derek’s appointment places OAL in a unique position in the skills arena. He brings with him unrivalled expertise in the skills development chain – running from strategic occupational standards and qualifications through to operational assessment, provision and inspection.

Derek has held a range of senior and high profile roles throughout the industry. As one of the founders and Development Director at Improve, Derek led the food and industry through significant qualification reform. His tenure ended only when he moved to awarding organisation FDQ, where he was FDQ Director and Responsible Officer. His career also includes an impressive 20 years at City and Guilds, and several years as CEO of the Bakery Training Council.

Sarah Marshall has more than a decade of experience in marketing, branding and communications across a range of sectors including, education, FMCG and professional services.  Sarah has worked for businesses both large and small, including consumer goods giants P&G.