Our team

Commission Chairs

The Digital Badging Commission is Co-Chaired by Professor Sir Chris Husbands and Rebecca Garrod-Waters.

Professor Sir Chris Husbands

Digital badging is developing fast as technology and workplaces change. There’s already excellent evidence of the power of digital badges to drive skill improvement, engagement with learning and self-esteem – but there is a lot to do to build a shared understanding of what quality looks like and to ensure that systems are future-ready and future-proofed”

Chris Husbands is a university leader, educationist, academic and public servant with extensive experience in public sector leadership, knighted for services to education in 2018. For eight years, he led Sheffield Hallam University, one of the UK’s largest, most diverse universities, winning national awards for teaching quality, enterprise, social mobility and community engagement, whilst reshaping institutional strategy, organisation and performance. Chris has more than 20 years of board-level and chair experience, leading national policy initiatives in schools, higher education and public policy to drive system-wide improvement, working across the political spectrum nationally and internationally. He is currently a trustee of Jisc, the UK’s digital, data and technology agency for post-16 education.

Rebecca Garrod-Waters

“Ufi VocTech Trust has been passionate about the potential of digital badges and micro-credentials for years. We’ve supported projects across the UK that have offered learners the capacity to build their skills in more digestible and accessible ways.

The launch of the Digital Badging Commission will support our ambition to bring the sector together around a shared idea of what good badges look like. This will make it easier for employers and learners from all backgrounds and educational histories to get the skills they need to thrive in work and life.”

Rebecca is Chief Executive of Ufi VocTech Trust, a UK charity supporting the deployment and adoption of technology to help adults gain the skills they need for work. To date Ufi have delivered more than £30m in grant funding and direct investment, working towards Ufi’s vision of a world where vocational skills are celebrated and valued by all, and where development of those skills is made possible by the best technology solutions. Rebecca joined Ufi in 2014 and has a background in economic development and technology and innovation policy that spans the public, private and third sector.

Commissioners

We are proud to announce the initial commissioners supporting our work. Further people will be announced shortly.

Our commissioners serve as an Advisory Board to the Commission, offering advice on the overarching direction and constructive challenge as our work progresses. They also provide in-depth support and guidance on specific workstreams within their field of expertise.

Amanda Timberg

Director, Education for Social Impact Programmes

Amanda has dedicated her career to improving life chances for people through employment and education opportunities. She is currently the Director of Education for Social Impact Programs at Google. In this role she develops and delivers transformative, people-centred programs that unlock the creative and economic possibilities of computing for those historically underrepresented in tech. Before Google Amanda spent fifteen years in education charities in the UK and the US, including Teach First and Teach For America, working to develop and equip teachers and leaders to make an impact towards educational equity. She started her career teaching primary school in Compton, California and also worked in the Superintendent’s Office of the Los Angeles Unified School District in southern California. She holds an MsC in Voluntary Sector Management from Bayes Business School.

Professor Bill Lucas

University of Winchester

Professor Bill Lucas is Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester. He is a writer, speaker and education reformer. Bill’s research focuses on understanding those dispositions for learning which help people succeed and flourish in life, how they can be cultivated and how evidenced. Bill is chair of the advisory board of the Global Institute of Creative Thinking, co-chair of the strategic advisory group PISA 2022 Creative Thinking Test and was a Commissioner for the Independent Commission on Assessment in Primary Education, ICAPE. In 2020, Bill co-founded Rethinking Assessment. Bill is a prolific writer. His acclaimed critique of the education system, Educating Ruby: what our children really need to learn, written with Guy Claxton, asks challenging questions about the future of education. Bill’s latest publication is Creative Thinking in Schools: a Leadership playbook.

David D’Souza

Director of Profession

David is responsible for ensuring the CIPD’s activity continually reinforces their support for and leadership of the profession. Described as one of the UK’s most influential HR and workplace commentators, David is a respected and in-demand speaker and writer on progressive HR and business practice. He has expertise in a wide range of areas, including organisational development and culture, learning and development, corporate ethics, employee engagement and the future of work. David is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, the Australian HR Institute, the Centre for Evidence-Based Management and a Fellow and Trustee Board Member of the Royal Society of Arts.

David Hughes CBE

Chief Executive

David Hughes is Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, representing and supporting further education colleges to fulfil their role as anchor institutions, supporting over 2 million students each year. He was awarded a CBE for services to further education, particularly during the Covid-19 response.

David has worked in post-16 education for over 25 years, including a decade as a senior civil servant. Before that he worked in Australia and the UK in community development, regeneration, welfare, employment and social housing. David holds several Board positions including with the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics and the Bell Foundation.

David Leaser

Co-Founder

David Leaser is an award-winning strategist, C-Suite consultant and program lead in L&D and HCM. David is Vice President at MyInnerGenius and was the senior strategist for IBM’s Smarter Workforce and the Global Skills Initiative. He is the founder of the IBM Digital Badge program, a leading-edge digital credential program, the IBM New Collar Certificate Program and IBM’s first cloud-based embedded learning solution. David is the co-founder of Digital Badge Academy. He is a member of the national Credential As You Go Advisory Board and a senior advisor to New Markets Venture Capital Group. David provides guidance to the US Department of Labor and the US Department of Education as an employer subject matter expert.

David was appointed as an Industry Fellow in the Center for the Future of Higher Education & Talent Strategy in the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University, an American Tier 1 university. He is the author of thought leadership white papers on talent development, including “Migrating Minds,” “The Social Imperative in Workforce Development” and Wiley’s “Connecting Workplace Learning and Academic Credentials via Digital Badges.”

David holds an Master’s Degree in Communications Management from USC’s Annenberg School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Pepperdine University.

Jonathan Mitchell

Deputy Director, Future Skills and Innovation

Jonathan joined the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education (IfATE) on the day it was formed in 2017. Initially leading a national team of civil servants working directly with employers to develop over 600 occupational standards and skills products arising from them, Jonathan has also led work on communications, stakeholder engagement, portfolio management, strategic planning and policy development.

In his current role he is delivering a project, with sponsorship from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, that seeks to use artificial intelligence and large language models to detect emerging labour market change and translate this into skills system responses. Before joining the civil service, Jonathan was a teacher and senior leader at a number of independent in England and Scotland.

Mark Leuba

Vice President

Maryam Darby

Director of Impact Organisations

Maryam is the Director of Impact Organisations at Skills Builder Partnership, which brings together a global network of educators, employers, and impact organisations to equip everyone with the essential skills to succeed. In 2020, Skills Builder launched the Skills Builder Universal Framework – a transformative approach to building the essential skills of individuals throughout their lives, in education and employment. Powered by 900 leading organisations, the Framework has now been backed by the UK government in statutory guidance. The partnership enables over 2 million individuals per year to develop their essential skills using the Universal Framework.

Nichola Hay MBE

Director of Apprenticeship Strategy and Policy

Philip LeFeuvre

Chief Operating Officer

Rolf Reinhardt

Member of the Executive Committee, International Council on Badges and Credentials

Senior Account Director, LinkedIn

Rosie Clayton

Head

Rosie is an education specialist and social entrepreneur leading a range of high profile research and innovation projects across education, skills, lifelong learning, edtech and systems design. Rosie is the Head of Rethinking Assessment, a UK and global movement to transform the way we teach and assess young people which is pioneering the adoption of digital learner profiles. Previously, she was an Associate Director at the Royal Society of Arts and part of the team that launched Cities of Learning in the UK and developed the RSA Badge Standard. Rosie is also currently a Research Fellow with the Global Education Leaders Partnership and World Innovation Summit for Education, and has published a number of research papers on learning cities and learning ecosystems. In her early career in politics she worked for a range of think tanks and was an Advisor to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Check out her writing on Medium.

Management

The Commission is managed by the RSA and Ufi VocTech Trust.

Dr Patrina Law

Lifelong Learning Lead, RSA

Josh Smith

Head of Public Affairs, Ufi VocTech Trust