Executive Recruitment

Our Leadership Team

Dr Neil Bentley, Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK

Dr Neil Bentley is Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK, which is a partnership between governments, employers and education to help accelerate young people's career development. We do this through experiential careers events and national and international skills competitions. We support the prestige of apprenticeships and technical careers by helping create creating successful young role models and we drive productivity by embedding world-class standards into education and training for individual and business success. 

Neil was previously Deputy Director-General and Chief Operating Officer at the CBI, the UK's premier business lobby, working at the highest level of the business and government interface nationally and internationally and representing CBI to the media. Neil worked at the CBI for 12 years and led public policy campaigns ranging from apprenticeships, skills and employment to public service reform and energy and climate change.  In particular, Neil previously led CBI work on vocational pathways in education, the marketisation of FE and demand-led training reforms on apprenticeships and higher technical skills.

Prior to CBI, Neil worked at global IT services provider EDS (now part of HP) advising on the employee relations implications of outsourcing, trade union relations, training and diversity across EMEA. Neil sits on the Council of Warwick University, advises the Science Council on diversity and inclusion in STEM skills and was the former deputy chair of Stonewall, the LGBT equality charity. Neil's PhD is in race equality in the workplace.

Ben Blackledge - Director of Education and Skills Competitions 

Having held senior policy roles within government and not for profit organisations, Ben is responsible for driving WorldSkills UK’s programme of work both in the UK and internationally. Working in partnership with representatives from government, industry and education, he leads on the UK-wide initiative to embed skills competitions methodology into apprenticeship and training programmes, raising standards and ensuring more young people are being equipped with the right skills to help businesses better compete globally.    

Overseeing the programme of national skills competitions, Ben also ensures that the UK remains at the forefront of international skills development in his role of Technical Delegate at WorldSkills Europe and WorldSkills.   

Mark Smallman - Director of Operations

Mark Smallman joined The Skills Show in November 2010. He is responsible for the management of all venues, production elements and logistics, as well as delegate requirements for key events. Mark has a range of experience in delivering conferences, exhibitions, road shows and live entertainment throughout the UK and Europe. He was involved with the WorldSkills London 2011 event from its early stages.

Sally Horrox - Director of Marketing and Business Development

Sally joined WorldSkills UK in April 2016. She has responsibility for the delivery of all of the organisation’s marketing, communications and business development activities. Her work ensures that WorldSkills UK maintains a high-profile position in the eyes of the audiences it serves and that its commercial income targets are exceeded.

Stephen Crampton-Hayward - Director of Finance

Stephen joined WorldSkills UK in November 2014. He has responsibility for financial planning, monitoring and reporting; ensuring that WorldSkills UK complies with all statutory and external requirements and regulations; and oversee all human resources, legal and administrative, and office services functions. 

Andrew Bell – Head of Public Affairs

Andrew joined WorldSkills UK in April 2015. He has overall responsibility for all our public affairs activities. His work focuses on developing and raising the profile of WorldSkills UK with key political influencers and stakeholders, connecting senior level networks and leading on projects to achieve our strategic objectives.

Jill Goddard - Head of Planning and Funding

Jill joined WorldSkills UK as Head of Planning and Funding in May 2014 with a background in education, skills and economic development.  She is responsible for strategic and business planning, performance and evaluation; strategic alliances with partners; and public funding grants and projects.