Gavin Smith

Education Manager

Integrity, loyalty and making the most of life are important to me

What led you to work for PETA?

I attended Brookfield School leaving in 1979.  Whilst at school I tended to enjoy the more practical subjects.  I also had an enjoyment of sport and outdoor activity resulting in me playing football and doing my Duke of Edinburgh Award.  This enjoyment of practical subjects and sport led to me to join the Army as an Apprentice Motor Vehicle Technician in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).  Having served around the world I decided after 12 years to change my career, so I became the Assistant Manager of one of the RSPCA’s biggest animal shelters (The Stubbington Ark).  Whilst heavily involved in the day to day running of the shelter I focused much of my time on introducing training and development for both staff and volunteers to ensure we were providing the best care for the range of animals in our care.  After 6 years my knowledge of training and development I had acquired and a management qualification set me up to pursue a career with Hampshire Training and Enterprise Council where I worked with Colleges and Training Providers to deliver work based learning for young people and adults including Apprenticeships.  When the TEC transitioned to the Learning and Skills Council I as given the opportunity to work across the South East of England ensuring the planning and procurement of sufficient high quality training places to meet the needs of both employers and learners.  As the Learning and Skills Council became the Skills Funding Agency in 2008, I joined a project team to set up the National Apprenticeship Service as an Employer Services Director.  The service was responsible for developing Apprenticeships as a key strand to meeting the skills need in England.  During this time as well as contributing to the policy and operational development of Apprenticeships I worked on several initiatives including the development of Apprenticeship Training Agencies and the national Apprenticeship Vacancies system, now known as Find and Apprenticeship.  In 2012 I decided to change direction and work at the front end of delivery.  I knew of PETA from my days with the Agencies and liked the ethics and values of the organisation and was lucky to secure a position on PETA’s Apprenticeship side of the business.

What is your role at PETA and what drives you to do what you do?

My role at PETA is Education Manager.  It is a varied role including curriculum design and planning for the Engineering Centre, responsibility for all our Ofsted requirements such as self assessment of the quality of our delivery and quality improvement planning.  I am also the Designated Safeguarding Lead for PETA ensuring all learners feel safe whilst in learning.

What knowledge/experience do you draw upon for your role?

For my role I draw on over 20 years of experience of work based learning delivery and in particular Apprenticeships since their introduction.  I also have extensive knowledge and experience of the Government Funding rules and requirements.  At times, my Motor Vehicle training is drawn on to help out in classes when needed.

How do you approach your role on a day-to-day basis? What skills are required?

I approach my role with an open mind.  In this type of environment, no two days are the same.  Curriculum planning and design is not my background so I need to approach my work in a collaborative way drawing on knowledge and experience of those around me. This makes the role enjoyable as I am learning new things.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

I am passionate about my family, enjoying holidays trips out and activities with them.  I keep my interest in animal rescue by having a three legged cat, a cat that suffered a broken pelvis as a kitten and more recently a Cockapoo.  I also enjoy a bit of photography and photo editing.

What are your personal values, and what is important to you?

Integrity, loyalty and making the most of life are important to me.