Inspiring Learning

Our People

Meet our Leadership Team! We’ve spent some time getting to know them, finding out what makes them tick and getting some insight into what inspired them to join Inspiring Learning. 

Martin Robinson, Chairman

I have always been a great believer in the benefits of having an outstanding education and believe this only to be possible if the theory of the classroom is supported by learning outside the school environment. I’ve always wanted to play a part in the development of the education system in the UK and taking it beyond the production of A* pupils. My role here, therefore, finally enables me to make my own small contribution to the world of learning.

"The outcome focused nature of a Kingswood residential, which can be taken in one of our unique locations, really enables all abilities to shine and gives young people skills for life."

Martin
Martin

The quote I find most inspiring is...

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." - Winston Churchill

My biggest passions outside of work are football, keeping fit and music.

My favourite activity is leap of faith!

My career history alongside Kingswood and Inspiring Learning, I am currently also Chairman of Park Dean Resorts, Causal Dining Group and Burger King UK. I have previously been Chairman of Center Parcs, Wagamama and Holmes Place and have been on the boards of Disneyland Paris, Scottish & Newcastle Retail, Regus PLC and Perry Motor Group.

When I was 11 I wanted to be…playing lead guitar in a punk band whilst playing on the wing for the England football team.

Alex Williamson, Chief Executive Officer

There are increasingly few moments in young people’s lives where they have the chance or inclination to look away from technology and spend time with their friends having real, educational adventures. Residential experiences are uniquely placed to allow this to happen and when delivered brilliantly can create life long memories.

“I believe passionately that if we can make every moment count and deliver inspiring, thrilling experiences, they can be a highlight in a young person’s life.”

ALEX
ALEX

The quote I find most inspiring is...

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” - Nelson Mandela

My most inspiring experience was when I went to a basketball game in Utah recently which was extraordinary in the way every moment of a two hour game was filled with brilliant, appropriate and engaging content and extraordinary access to superstar players. There was a real sense that fans were seen as the most important people in the arena – a lesson for so many other sports.

My biggest passions outside of work are my wife and my two daughters (aged 11 and 14). Sport is also another passion of mine and in in particular cricket, rugby and football. Plus, a few great friends I have kept in touch with from school.

My favourite activity is Skiing.

My career history My background includes senior global finance roles in music, radio and TV; nine successful years’ as CEO at Goodwood; later CEO of House of Fraser, and most recently advisor at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

When I was 11 I wanted to be… A hotel manager; I just thought I would do what five generations of men in my family had done.

Charlie McLean, Chief Financial Officer

I have two young daughters and I have seen first-hand how important a well-balanced education is to their development as confident young girls who have the courage to take on new things. Outdoor residential centres have been an important element of this and I have always enjoyed hearing their delight when they have overcome and conquered their fears. We aim to bring out the best in everyone through active learning and this has to be a good thing for our nation's young people.

"Our passion around the educational outcomes, and the staff we attract as a result, complements the really fun elements of outdoor adventure."

Charlie
Charlie

The quote I find most inspiring is...

‘Work hard, play hard and be kind.’ - It’s not a quote as such but I say it to my girls each morning before school, plus it applies equally to adults!

My most inspiring learning experience was a year working and living in the USA on a number of kids camps including teaching basketball.

My biggest passions outside of work are my wife and kids; my hobbies including mountain biking and skiing; and being part of the local community where I have lived for almost 20 years.

My career history I have been in the restaurant industry for over 15 years, this business has many similarities, although zip wiring was never included!

When I was 11 I wanted to be… I was always interested in business in general, and later my finance qualification after my degree helped me get started in the business world. 

Sarah Farrell, Marketing Director

Creating enriching experiences for young people is such a privilege. We have a huge opportunity to open up these experiences to even more children from around the world, inspiring them by what they can achieve and giving them memories which will last a lifetime

SARAH FARRELL
SARAH FARRELL

The quote I find most inspiring is...

"Why fit in when you were born to stand out." - Dr Seuss

My most inspiring experience was watching Bradley Wiggins win the hour record at the Lee Valley Velodrome. Such an incredible achievement, both mentally and physically. The atmosphere was electric!

My biggest passions outside of work are watching live music or sport (we go to the Tour de France almost every year), travelling and food and drink. My husband and I love exploring new places and new restaurants as well as coming home to our 19 year old cat!

My favourite activity is a long walk and a picnic on the beach

A few sentences about your career history over the past 15 years I’ve worked across a variety of sectors developing effective marketing strategies for some amazing brands including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Tesco, Shell and Laithwaite’s Wine. My background spans events and exhibitions, retail and travel and I’m lucky that it has taken me all over the world.

When I was 11 I wanted to be Kylie Minogue…and probably still do!

Jerry Brennan, Corporate Development Director

I am a big believer in Kingswood’s Theory of Change, plus the care of our team and our focus on development. I attended an outdoor education centre for several days when I was 12 years old near where I grew up in Connecticut, USA. The experience of being away from home and being challenged with high rope activities, obstacle courses and all of the other adventures that were made available provided me with an important sense of independence and a boost to my self-confidence.

"I am pleased to be working with the team to expand our geographical reach so that we can provide important life experiences to as many young people as possible."

Jerry
Jerry

My biggest passions outside of work are my family and friends, sport and fitness, and listening to music.

My favourite activity is leap of faith!

My most inspiring learning experience was the challenge of being a grass-roots football coach for a group of under 9’s, which offers me many learning opportunities!

When I was 11 I wanted to be…a professional baseball player.

The quote I find most inspiring is...

“You can’t start a fire without a spark.” - Bruce Springsteen

Stephen Watson, People Director

Learning outside the classroom has had a major impact on my life. My job is to make sure we recruit, retain, develop and train the very best people into Inspiring Learning, to ensure they truly create an inspiring experience for all our young guests. 

"Having the opportunity to work for an organisation that enhances the lives of young people through different experiences really gives me a sense of pride in what we do."

Stephen V2
Stephen V2

The quote I find most inspiring is...

"Train people well enough so they can leave, but treat them well enough so they stay." - Richard Branson

My biggest passions outside of work are my two dogs, Cagney and Macy. They take up most of my spare time but i do enjoy travelling and discovering new places.

My career history I have worked for a number of businesses across hospitality, retail and charity including Asda, Tesco, KFC and YHA all in people related roles.

My most inspiring learning experience happens everyday. In my role i get to meet new people everyday and they teach me things that help me to be who I am today.

When i was 11 I wanted to be... a lawyer as I love talking and debating (I talk far too much!).

Andy Marsden, Commercial Director

I chose to join Inspiring Learning for the opportunity to represent a brand which offers life changing adventures delivers on the desire to feel proud of where you work. My daughter was fortunate enough to attend an NCS programme at Kingswood a few years ago and her experience transformed her. She became more confident and considerably more resilient in life. In addition, professionally I have been part of many corporate teams that have benefited from the unique challenges experiential learning present. 

Andy Marsden
Andy Marsden

The quote I find most inspiring is...

"It is amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry S.Truman

My favourite activity is most certainly not the 3G swing. Much to the amusement of the team I was terrified and demanded the activity leader defied gravity and “turned it off”. 

My favourite destination is The Maldives – pick the right atoll and island and you virtually have it to yourself. 

My career history I have been very lucky to work with some great people at very recognisable brands such as Aviva, the AA, RAC and Cambridge University.

When I was 11 I wanted to be...Kim Wilde’s boyfriend

Jof Gaughan, Operations Director, Camp Beaumont

My passion has always been in facilitating life changing adventures for young people and inspiring them to achieve great things outside of the classroom environment. Some of the greatest memories from my childhood include going away to residential with the school and attending camps in the school holidays, I feel so privileged to be able to influence and create lifelong memories for the young people of today from all over the world.

“Our goal is to inspire as many young people from across the world as possible; to realise their potential, grow in confidence and achieve great things – I am proud that year on year we are doing just that!”

JOFF
JOFF

My biggest passion outside work is scuba diving, a fantastic activity that we have made so accessible to our Camp Beaumont children!

My favourite destination is Oahu, Hawaii – particularly the North Shore with its incredible beaches, shrimp and surf!

My career history I worked for Camp Beaumont in my school and university holidays as a member of staff and then worked my way up to running the Camps. Throughout and after University I had a couple of jobs including Marketing for the World Travel Market and managing various bars but the draw to Camp Beaumont was so great I came back in 2011 full time to oversee all the Operations of the business.

When I was 11 I wanted to be… like my Dad, no idea what he did at the time, just wore suits, had a laptop and went on business trips a lot.  (He works for a telecommunications company, think I have the better gig!)

Andrew Leivers, Regional Director of Operations

Moving to Kingswood for me was driven around helping create life-changing adventures and being able to support centre operation teams deliver our product at the highest standard to our customers. I feel so privileged to be able to influence and create first-class experiences for the young people that visit our centres each year and see how adventures we create impacts the young people lifes.

ANDREW
ANDREW

The quote I find most inspiring is...

"The expert in everything was once the beginner."

My favourite activity has to be 3g Swing the adrenaline buzz you get before your released is pretty special.

My favourite destination is Dubai I love the standard of service you receive in the hotels, the mix of activities available and it helps it's always hot!

My career history My career history is a little varied I started out at a football club on coaching apprenticeship I was lucky enough to be kept on at the end of it leading onto me eventually looking after the community program for the club I supported growing up, I went on to look after a variety of leisure management roles within the holiday and private leisure sector before moving into general management. I'm lucky enough to take up the opportunity to set up into the role of Operations Director in September within inspiring learning.

When I was 11 I wanted to be... I wanted to be a footballer

Ian Oliver, Regional Director of Operations

What excited me the most about joining Inspiring learning was the company’s purpose/vision. I find it extremely easy to connect with and understand the part I play within this, enabling my teams to bring our vision to life within the operation and have fun “creating life changing adventures”.

I have experienced many residential camps growing up with my schools and British Judo, these experiences helped shape the person I’m today by building my confidence and social skills. As a parent I have seen the benefits of learning outside the classroom has had on my son Thomas, his confidence has grown and has a new desire to tackle new challenges.

IAN
IAN

The quote I find most inspiring is...

"A day without laughter is a day wasted." - Amanda Tomlinson – Centre Admin Kingswood

My favourite activity Bushcraft on our go explore programme  is my favourite Kingswood activity : All children , parents and families benefit from being outdoors bushcraft can give everyone the opportunity to learn skills that will help have a greater understanding of nature and the world around them.  

My favourite destination is Cortona Italy is my favourite destination it has the most beautiful scenery and such a relaxed vibe within the town, I was fortunate enough to get married there so will always have a special place in my heart.   

My career history After having to retire as a Judo athlete due to injury I have spent majority of my career within the hospitality and leisure industry, with 15 of those years at Premier Inn in a number of managerial roles my last role was as a Regional Operations Manager responsible for the operation of a group of hotels, I find myself now in the privilege position of operations director for Kingswood and responsible for creating many life changing adventures.

When I was 11 I wanted to be... Olympic Champion in the sport of Judo.