March 20th 2019 | Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh


Willie Roe CBE

Trustee, British Council, and Chair, Scotland Advisory Committee

Willy Roe is an independent consultant in public service reform, leadership development, service design and innovation, and education and training. He was recently appointed a Trustee of the British Council which works in 140 countries around the world, including the countries of the UK, on the whole range of educational and cultural opportunities, currently focussing on building a stronger global network on vocational training and skills. He is also Chair of the British Council’s Scotland Advisory Committee amongst other achievements, including being awarded a CBE for public service in the Highlands and Islands, and an Honorary Doctorate by The Open University for his work on social work reform.

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science

Shirley-Anne Somerville returned to the Scottish Parliament in 2016 as the member for the Dunfermline constituency after previously serving as an MSP for the Lothians region from 2007 to 2011.

Educated at Kirkcaldy High School, she then graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a BA (Hons) in Economics and Politics (1996), followed by a Diploma in Housing Studies at the University of Stirling and a Diploma in Public Relations from Queen Margaret University College.

She has worked as a parliamentary researcher, a Policy and Public Affairs Officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing and as a Media and Campaigns Officer at the Royal College of Nursing.

Ms Somerville’s appointment as Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science is her first Ministerial role.

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

President, Royal Society of Edinburgh

Jocelyn Bell Burnell inadvertently discovered pulsars as a graduate student in radio astronomy in Cambridge, opening up a new branch of astrophysics - work recognised by the award of a Nobel Prize to her supervisor.

She has subsequently worked in many roles in many branches of astronomy, working part-time while raising a family. She is now a Visiting Professor in Oxford, a Pro-Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin, and (the first female) President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh – Scotland’s National Academy.

Much in demand as a speaker and broadcaster, in her spare time she gardens, listens to choral music and is active in the Quakers. She has co-edited an anthology of poetry with an astronomical theme – ‘Dark Matter; Poems of Space’.

Jo Blewett

Programme Manager, A9 Dualling Programme

Jo Blewett is the Programme Manager for the A9 Dualling  and has worked for Transport Scotland for 12 years within the Planning and Design team. Jo has a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering and more than 20 years-experience in Private and Public Sector Civil Engineering. Jo is a board member of the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre.

Sarah Brown

Head Teacher, Kinross High School

A graduate from Strathclyde University, Sarah started her working life as a technologist with United Biscuits.  After working in factories and laboratories across England, she returned to Scotland where she retrained as a Chemistry Teacher. 

Sarah enjoyed passing on her love of science to young people through Chemistry and Science.  As a Principal Teacher and Curriculum Leader she developed the science curriculum to provide opportunities for hands on science.  She was passionate about finding opportunities to enrich the experience of young people through science clubs, industrial visits and competitions.  She completed a Masters Qualification which included Science Education and was involved in practitioner enquiry inspired by Science inside the black box.

As a Headteacher at Kinross High School, a large comprehensive school, Sarah has the opportunity to support her colleagues develop the pupil experience across STEM subjects.  The school now offers a programme for all S2 pupils in partnership with STEM employers and actively promotes STEM opportunities.  The school has recently acquired a plane which will be built, by pupils, in partnership with Aerospace Kinross.

Cameron Grant Coupar

STEM Ambassador and Graduate Bridge Engineer, Jacobs

Cameron Coupar is a Graduate Bridge Engineer working in the Jacobs Glasgow Office. Cameron graduated from the University of Dundee in 2016 with an MEng in Civil Engineering, Design and Management. He started at Jacobs in September 2016 and is responsible for the production of a number of specimen design calculations and cost estimates for structures on the A9 Dualling Scheme.  

Cameron Coupar is a Graduate Bridge Engineer working in the Jacobs Glasgow Office. Cameron graduated from the University of Dundee in 2016 with an MEng in Civil Engineering, Design and Management. He started at Jacobs in September 2016 and is responsible for the production of a number of specimen design calculations and cost estimates for structures on the A9 Dualling Scheme.  

Margaret Craw

Physics Teacher, Dalziel High School

Margaret Craw graduated from Glasgow University with a Bsc(Hons) Degree in Physics. Margaret then worked in the Space Industry as a Technical Consultant in Satellite manufacture. Working for many of the leading comapnies in the sector, Aerospatiale, Alcatel Space Insutry and working along with the European Space Industry in various locations within Europe. She stayed in this sector for 16 years.

A departure from this sector saw Margaret embark on a Career in Teaching. Having taught abroad in Italy, Margaret returned to Scotland 9 years ago and has been working in Dalziel High School in Motherwell as a Physics Teacher. She has actively put together a strong STEM programme that is delivered with the help of industry partners such as Amec Foster Wheeler. In the last year Margaret has been involved in setting up the Developing the Young Workforce within Dalziel High School.

Stephanie Ebert

Head of Outreach, HYPED

Stephanie Ebert is part of the University of Edinburgh Hyperloop Team who built the first UK prototype of the 750mph mag lev proposed by Elon Musk. Stephanie is a second year civil engineer leading the outreach project – given the inspirational potential of the hyperloop technology, the outreach programme presents how studying STEM subjects could lead to one day being part of building that innovative system. By engaging pupils into hands-on activity related to designing, planning and operating a transport link, the programme underscores the societal impacts that a STEM career can deliver. The final aim is to encourage more 11 to 13 year old girls to choose STEM subjects for National 5s/ GCSEs.

Dr Ollie Folayan

Chair, The Association for BME Engineers

Ollie Folayan is a chartered chemical engineer working in the energy industry and chairperson of the award-winning AFBE-UK Scotland. Ollie graduated with a BEng in Chemical Process Engineering with Fuel Technology from the University of Sheffield in 1999 and then earned a Doctorate (PhD) in Fuels and Combustion from University of Leeds in 2002 authoring five international publications in the field of combustion and engineering. To date Ollie has worked on Major CAPEX Front End Engineering Design, Detailed Design and commissioning Projects. 

Ollie has championed successful outreach programmes such as Making Engineering Hot, NextGen (Scotland), Transition and  Real Projects and has co-authored two publications on the influence of role models in the transition from academic study to the workplace and on the sustainability of the engineering profession in the UK.

In addition Ollie has also been involved with a number of successful community initiatives through organisations such as Shell and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Ollie has chaired a number of AFBE-UK annual seminars featuring key industry leaders and politicians and is a regular speaker at events on varied engineering topics.

Ollie is an avid sports fan and has other interests including singing, mentoring and reading on various subjects.

Niall Hardie

E-Learning Manager, Glasgow Clyde College 

Niall Hardie has worked at Glasgow Clyde College since 2014, initially within Disability Services/Extended Learning Support, and currently within eLearning. Prior to that, Niall worked for the BRITE Initiative as Training Manager, delivering training and development through both face-to-face and online sessions. Niall has a strong interest in using digital learning tools to help develop teaching and learning experiences that are engaging, effective and inclusive.

A key area of development for the eLearning team at Glasgow Clyde College has been the production of high-quality, engaging online learning content. We have worked with a number of partners, and focused on creating materials that strongly support the STEM agenda, and that can be used by individuals or groups, and in a range of settings.

Lizzy Jenkins

Education Liaison Officer and Reach Coordinator, University of St Andrews

I was a pupil from a local Fife school who participated in two of the University of St Andrews’ widening access programmes – First Chances and Reach.

After securing a place as a student at St Andrews, I volunteered as a student ambassador, mentoring pupils on the projects and helping at events.  In my final year, I worked as Vice Principal for Widening Participation, where I had further involvement in the projects.  These experiences allowed me to develop the skills that I needed after graduating for my current role as Reach Project Coordinator.  As education and widening access is so important to me, I will be continuing in a slightly different strand of this work as I look forward to training as a Primary School Teacher after this academic year.

Professor Phillip John

Executive Chair, SCHOLAR, Heriot-Watt Unviersity

Phillip John BSc, PhD, DSc is Professor of Chemistry and former Senior Dean of Heriot-Watt University.  He has a substantive research record and given numerous invited lectures at national and international conferences.

Apart from his teaching, research and administrative duties he has, since the inception of SCHOLAR in 1999 headed the academic development team and, since 2003, been Executive Chair of SCHOLAR ( which currently provides innovative online courses to all 32 Education Authorities, 5 Regional Colleges and 33 independent schools in Scotland.

Recently SCHOLAR has completed a major multi-million pound enhancement of National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Maths, Sciences, Languages and Business subjects (33 courses).  A complete suite of National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher English courses was published in August 2016.

Phillip has been a founder member and former Chair of the burgeoning international e-Assessment Association which has over one thousand individual members and twenty corporate members. 

SCHOLAR is playing a key role in delivering the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) led by the Australian Council for Educational Research with Twig World as the other partner.  SCHOLAR is responsible for the provision of SNSA professional development training for teachers from nearly 3,500 schools across Scotland.

Grant Kearney

Depute Head Teacher, Pitlochry High School

Grant is Depute Head Teacher at Pitlochry High School and in this role has been involved with the Academy 9 project from the beginning.  Previously he was a Faculty Head of Design & Technology, Principal Teacher of Technology and a class teacher. 

Grant has also worked as a Mechanical Engineer, Fabricator and in the Construction Industry and still remains active in these areas.  He greatly values the importance of STEM subjects and is currently working on Career development in the STEM sector as part of the Developing Young Workforce strategy.

John Keenan

Partnerships Manager, CITB

John is CITB’s Partnerships Manager for Scotland and has responsibility for engaging with key industry stakeholders throughout Scotland, in order to promote the development of skills and training within construction.

John’s portfolio includes leading on CITB’s strategy towards embedding community benefits within public sector contracts, and also the Joint Investment Strategy with the Scottish Government. John works closely with CITB’s Research Team with regards to the latest Scottish labour market intelligence for the construction industry.

Prior to joining CITB John spent a number of years working in the education sector and latterly played a significant role at a local authority and national level in the development progression routes into employment, education or training for young people with particular emphasis on school leavers.

Rebecca MacLennan

Programme Director, Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland, SCDI

Rebecca is Programme Director for SCDI’s Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland programme.

The YESC programme is supported by Scottish Government and aims to provide teachers with knowledge, skills and resources to increase participation and attainment in STEM subjects, through a wide reaching programme of innovative interdisciplinary projects accompanied by professional learning courses for teachers and end of term Celebration events for Young Engineers.

As Director, Rebecca works with a range of industry partners to develop and evaluate the national programme; engaging over 1,500 schools across Scotland to inform and inspire young people about the amazing opportunities within the STEM sector and ultimately support Scotland’s future economy with a skilled workforce.

Rebecca is passionate about supporting young people to make informed decisions about their future and raising awareness – particularly to girls and those with a lower science capital – about the wonders of STEM.

Rebecca’s previous role as STEM Learning Manager at Dundee Science Centre involved managing a vast educational programme including school workshops, teacher professional learning courses and coordinating the STEM Ambassador programme and School’s STEM Advisory Network for the North East Scotland.   

Ken Muir

Chief Executive, GTCS

Kenneth Muir is Chief Executive and Registrar of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the body responsible for promoting and regulating the teaching profession in Scotland.  Prior to his appointment in 2013, he worked for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE), latterly as Chief Inspector of Education. He began his teaching career as a teacher of Geography and Modern Studies and has held various senior posts in schools and local authorities.

Kenneth is the author of a number of Geography textbooks, is a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and is a regular speaker at national and international conferences.  He is a member of many national and international education groups, including the Scottish Education Council, the Scottish Board for Teacher Education, the International Forum on Teacher Regulatory Authorities, and is a Non-Executive Director of the Scottish College for Educational Leadership.  He has a particular interest in the Finnish education system where he has worked with Helsinki University and the Finnish National Board of Education.  Since taking up post as Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, he has embarked on a major modernising programme to ensure that the organisation adopts best regulatory practice, truly transforms educational professionalism and inspires world-class learning.

Keith Neish

Engineering Manager, WorleyParsons

Keith is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with vast design engineering experience in the offshore oil and gas sector, from small modifications through to major capex and highly complex projects.  Having worked at WorleyParsons (previously Amec Foster Wheeler) for over 11 years, he has worked his way from the graduate scheme to running the Mechanical engineering discipline where he managed engineering teams to deliver against technically challenging demands.  In his current role Keith is leading a project to increase standardization and efficiencies across employee competence which will be adopted by both WorleyParsons and the wider oil & gas industry. 

Keith is an active IMechE mentor assisting developing engineers to achieve chartered status, and in 2012 he won the Oil & Gas UK award for Overall Excellence.  In his spare time he enjoys badminton, yoga and long walks with his dog, Archie. 

Christine Percival

CEO, The Knowledge Exchange Partnership

Christine is CEO of The Knowledge Exchange Partnership – (KEeP). KEeP is the Educational Consultant for The A9 Dualling Project – (Academy9) and The Queensferry Crossing.

Previously she was a teacher, teacher educator and course director at The University of Strathclyde, and a Curriculum Development Officer at (SCCC) now Education Scotland. Christine pioneered ‘Challenge in Learning’ at Strathclyde, leading the Innovative Routes to Learning team from 1999-2010. During this time she inspired and directed the accredited Summer Academy @ Strathclyde, a multi- education authority initiative to widen access to Higher Education and close the attainment gap, for which she was awarded an MBE for services to Education. Her work has been replicated in several European countries.

Prof. Kay Livingston

Professor of Educational Research Policy and Practice, University of Glasgow

Kay Livingston is a Professor in Educational Research, Policy and Practice at the School of Education, University of Glasgow. She works closely with policy-makers, teachers and key educational stakeholders at international, national and local levels to research and develop teacher education. Kay has a particular research interest in teachers’ professional learning needs across their career and school and system change to improve learning and teaching.