Accreditation Committee Members
Accreditation Committee members come from training and industry; their input helps us ensure that we meet the needs of Scottish industry and those tasked with delivering SQA accredited qualifications.
Read more about our AC members below.
Accreditation Committee Convenor
Grahame Smith was appointed General Secretary of the Scottish TUC in November 2006.
He is a Graduate of Strathclyde University, where he obtained an Honours Degree in Economics and Industrial Relations.
He serves on a number of Boards/bodies in the field of economic development and skills. He is a Non-Executive Director of Skills Development Scotland; a member of the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board; a Non-Executive Director of Investors In People Community Interest Company; a Non-Executive Director of the SQA; Chairperson of Scotland Europa; a member of the UK Government’s MER Oil and Gas Forum and the Scottish Oil and Gas Industry Leadership Group.
He serves on the Fair Work Convention and, having been a member of the Wood Commission on Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, is actively involved in the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations through his membership of the DYW National Group.
In November 2015 Grahame received an honorary degree of Doctor of the University from the University of Strathclyde in recognition of his achievements in the field of industrial relations, economic policy and his work in knowledge exchange.
Following the 2016 EU Referendum, Grahame was appointed by the First Minister to serve on the Standing Council on Europe which is advising the Scottish Government on the Brexit and maintaining Scotland's relationship with the EU.
Val originally joined Bank of Scotland, in the Mortgage Department, in 1983. After a move to England for a short period, Val returned to Edinburgh in 1989 to begin a career as a Scottish Law Accountant working in a series of large Edinburgh law firms. This was followed by a move to the Legal Office of the NHS in Scotland to run the Law Accountants and IT department in 1993.
Val joined Lloyds Banking Group as the Resource Manager for the Intelligent Finance, IT Department in 2001, progressing to the Group Change Management department, the core Change function for the Bank, as the Head of Operations in 2006.
As Head of Operations, Val oversees, operationalises and embeds key risk and regulatory policies, HR-related strategies, business performance measurement and colleague communications.
During her time with Group Change Management Val has piloted the Go4IT initiative which is designed to encourage young females into a career in IT. She also led an internal programme to recycle and re-use unused IT hardware. This programme has generated savings of £2–3m per annum for the Bank.
Angela has nearly 30 years experience in the Hospitality industry working in a number of 4 star hotel companies; currently Group Head of Learning & Development & Quality for Apex Hotels for the last 3 years.
Prior to this, Angela has held a number of senior positions within Apex Hotels since 1999, as Group Director of Service & Quality 2010 – 2014 and Regional Director for Scotland 2006 – 2010, achieving success through positive leadership and excellent people management.
Angela has a led a number of projects during the company’s growth which includes new hotel openings. Her passion for Hospitality and the recent SQA Centre approval for Apex Hotels; promotes the benefits of MA’s and vocational learning for all staff and the ethos of “Growing our own Talent”.
As a key partner for the Scottish Apprenticeship in Hospitality, Angela is actively involved encouraging young people onto the SAIH or the Apex pre apprenticeship programme promoting hospitality as a positive career destination.
Alister started his career in Contracts Furnishings before moving to the Transport Industry. He worked for a number of years within this sector before joining a multinational soft drinks company where part of his remit was to deliver training. In July 2012 Alister made the decision to follow a long-held ambition to start up in business and he launched Tillycroy Support Services.
It was the desire to succeed, combined with determination, hard work and lots of personal sacrifices that has led Alister to build up the business that Tillycroy Support Services are today. Based in Aberdeenshire in the North East of Scotland the business prides itself on the quality of training, leading Alister to secure clients throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, where the company deliver a range of training and qualifications in First Aid and Health & Safety, as well as a full suite of E-Learning courses.
The company has been recognised for success, including being chosen in 2017 to be one of the top 100 small businesses in the UK as part of the Small Business 100. Additional recognition for the company’s success came when it received a major boost from the self-made millionaire, Theo Paphitis of “Dragons Den” fame. Theo named “Tillycroy” as a winner of his Small Business Sunday competition in November 2017. As part of this, Alister met with him in February 2018 and has continued to be supported by the SBS network.
Born in Aberdeen as a boy Alister joined the Boys’ Brigade and after working his way through the ranks became the youngest Company Captain and then Vice President of the Aberdeen District Battalion. In this role Alister was involved with training and leading camps/expeditions and latterly helping to fundraise a considerable amount of money for the refurbishment of the Aberdeen Headquarters.
Fiona Robertson took up post as the Chief Executive of SQA and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer in July 2019. Previously Director of Learning at the Scottish government, Fiona has a wealth of experience across government, first as an economist and latterly in education. This included responsibility for the development and delivery of Curriculum for Excellence, the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the National Improvement Framework for education.
Elaine Hutton has worked in Scotland’s further education sector for over fifteen years. Having started as a lecturer, she is now a Director- Learning & Skills within Ayrshire College. She has worked with SQA throughout her college career in developing learning materials for both Beauty Therapy and Core skills as part of new national frameworks.
Prior to joining the sector, she worked within the aviation sector where she accumulated a vast experience in delivery of technical changes within the industry as well as leading on “workplace culture” as part of her training role spanning Europe and the Far East.
Elaine is an ambassador for Worldskills UK ( Scotland) and is passionate about providing all learners with the opportunity to develop themselves through competitions to drive up both technical and employability skills.
Jane Handley has more than 25 years’ experience working in Scotland’s further education colleges, with her most recent being a leadership role at Edinburgh College. She has experience and skills in strategy and policy development and implementation; community planning; partnerships, qualification arrangements, quality improvement, timetabling and change management. She brings to the board of SQA a thorough understanding of Scotland’s further education sector and chaired the College’s steering group for Developing the Young Workforce, bringing together stakeholders to reduce youth unemployment.
After holding a number of senior management roles with different multi-national insurance companies, including setting up and managing training departments for them, Ian retired from Financial Services after 25 years to follow his heart and start his own training business, focussing on helping people who work commercially on small boats to develop in their chosen careers. Having been persuaded by one of his main clients to join them, he has spent the last 10 years working in aquaculture – overseeing improvements in health and safety and setting direction for training programmes for major companies in the industry (while maintaining a presence with his own training schools)
Ian is a practitioner as well as a strategic manager, and greatly enjoys delivering training courses – even after 50 years. He holds appointments to train new instructors, to inspect training centres, and to examine candidates. He has authored training material that is in national use, and regularly sits on Technical Expert and Peer Review panels for the continuous improvement of training programmes
Volunteering and helping others has always been an important part of Ian’s life. He has served with the RNLI for over 40 years, and 6 years with Mountain Rescue as well as non-executive directorship roles with different charities
I am the Head of Workforce and Skills at the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA). I run a remit for the Association’s 86 member companies, which covers skills, and inclusion and diversity. I also cover the same remit internally within SWA along with learning and development. I have long worked within the skills space in Scotland, and the UK, and I have also worked alongside the higher education sector in a number of roles. I hold a diploma in Diversity and Inclusion Management, and I am a qualified coach.
Ryan Reed joined NHS Education for Scotland (NES) in April 2023, where he is Head of Programme: Learning Strategy and Collaboration. NES is an education and training body and a national health board within NHS Scotland. It is responsible, on a national basis, for developing and delivering education and training for the NHS, the health and social care sector and other public bodies. Ryan’s role includes leading the development of a Learning and Education Strategy for NES and a range of corporate projects to support its delivery.
Prior to joining NES, Ryan was Deputy Director of Academic Policy and Governance at the University of Glasgow. Alongside a leadership team, he held responsibility for academic policy and governance across the University. He led a team responsible for implementation of key aspects of the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy (curriculum transformation, student skills and professional development) and another responsible for oversight of the University’s collaborative education programmes, within the UK and internationally. In addition to oversight of programme level collaborations, this included responsibility for validated institutions and transnational education operations serving over eight thousand students from undergraduate to PhD level, extending to institutional governance, policy, quality and standards, risk management and legal. He previously managed, on behalf of the University, external reviews of educational standards, quality, and the student learning experience.
Ryan has also worked for the SCQF Partnership, Learning and Teaching Scotland, has been an educator and coach, and has over 10 years of Board level experience in the third sector. He holds a first-class degree in Law from the University of Glasgow. He is passionate about the power of learning and education in all its forms, the opportunities it can provide individuals and the benefits it brings to society.