Chief Executive Officer
The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR)
Neil joined the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) in 2015, from the utility sector where he was CEO of the Energy & Utility Skills Group. Before that he was CEO of the British Institute of Innkeeping, a professional body and awarding organisation.
Prior to these sectoral CEO roles, he held senior positions in government departments for education and business where had responsibilities in skills, employability, English and migration, regional economic development and European Structural Funds.
Neil has also worked with Babcock, City & Guilds and the Scottish Qualifications Authority. He started working life as a trainee quantity surveyor for GA Group, before studying and tutoring at Edinburgh University, specialising in socio economic theory and drugs misuse.
NSAR’s current priorities are skills, data and workforce planning, productivity, standard setting, social value and quality assurance of training and assessments.
Following the Shaw review, NSAR was commissioned to lead a productivity review, initially for DfT and then evolved for the IPA. NSAR has subsequently developed a suite of products to help industry and governments improve productivity, and is managing the TIES Living Lab project.
His 5 most difficult tasks to date have been, in chronological order:
• Managing steel fixers
• Helping expensively educated students understand Karl Marx
• Modernising vocational training in Scotland (and China)
• Resolving ERDF non-compliances
• Supporting productivity improvements in UK infrastructure
In his spare time, he likes fixing and riding motorbikes and planting trees.