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The Team

The Skills Development Service team are made up of 2 full time staff and 10 Student Peer Trainers.  Please feel free to contact the SDS staff at any time or pop into the Skills Hub on 2nd floor of Students' Union to see us.

John Steele

Head of Training and Development

I have been managing the Skills Development Service since 2003 and my responsibilities include curriculum management, quality assurance, delivering sessions, supervising the training team and managing the budget. I also have prime responsibility for the provision of the externally-certified courses. My background is in the Railway industry which I joined in 1975 and it is there that I developed my passion for training and developing others and became the regional training officer from 1988-1996 when the post was expunged following privatisation. I then studied part-time at University of Wales College, Newport for 5 years while carrying out my experiential learning teaching practice in local colleges and learning providers.

I believe that every person has a right to realise their own potential. What I particularly relish about my job is meeting so many diverse and interesting students and helping them gain from my many years of experience while also helping them facilitate their own way forward. I gain no greater satisfaction than seeing our students feel positive about themselves, go into good employment or onto a progression following their experiences at the Skills Development Service. I am of the firm belief that teaching/training is an earned responsibility and that one is permitted rather than obliged to teach others. Outside of work I enjoy listening to and playing music as a guitarist, spending time with my fiancée and family, rugby, football, walking, being an integral member and volunteer through my local church, oh, and I am partial to a nice hot curry.

The Student Peer Trainers

The Skills Development Service wouldn’t be as successful without our talented and hardworking team of Student Peer Trainers.  To get the role they go through a tough but rewarding interview process. Once they commence with us they attend a full and robust Train The Trainer course. Student Peer Trainers predominantly deliver our evening sessions but often take extra sessions if they wish. Many of our Student Peer Trainers work longer than a year if they are still Cardiff University students at the time, allowing them to grow in skills and confidence.  Meet some of our Student Peer Trainers below.

Sum - Senior Peer Trainer

I’m Sum, in the final year of my PhD looking at the genetics of bipolar disorder. I completed all the original CPD certificates back in 2013 and gained the current Platinum Certificate and the Diploma of Professional Development in Leadership in 2018. The service we offer is mostly free and a great way of developing transferable skills that you will need once you graduate.

I’m an associate fellow to the Higher Education Academy and in addition to training and mentoring students within the SDS team, I also teach and support students from secondary school all the way to postgraduate level

Nicola Crocker - Student Peer Trainer

I have come to study at university later than in life than some and am currently a first-year physiotherapist student, a passion that I have had for many years. Prior to University I worked within the corporate world of insurance broking. I worked for many years within customer services and then later within training and development. During this time, I gained a level 3 certificate in learning and development practices. I coordinated the training of all new staff and delivered various training courses for existing staff members.

My career change came following voluntary redundancy last year for which I could not have been more pleased as it now means that I can follow my dream of becoming a physiotherapist. When I am not studying, I love to spend my time hiking. I love being on hills and mountains, a particular favourite of mine is Mount Snowdown because it is so beautiful. I have an ambition when I complete my studies to trek to Everest base camp, hopefully I will fulfil this ambition one day.

Jessica Amey  - Student Peer Trainer

Hi, my name is Jess Amey. I have just finished my year abroad studying in France, and am now back to do my final year of Law and French. I started as a Student Peer Trainer in September 2016. I am also part of City of Cardiff Concert Band; I play the flute. And I'm doing the Languages For All courses, currently learning Italian.

Laura Cawson - Student Peer Trainer

I’m Laura, currently going into my third year of a law degree. After completing the Professional Development Diploma and a certification in First Aid in 2017 I joined the SDS. The loves of my life are music, books and tea. I’m also the president of the Japanese Society and avid baker. I can’t recommend the SDS enough, it’s given me the confidence to try the new, forgotten and experimental opportunities of university life.

Nadine Leder - Student Peer Trainer

I’m Nadine, in the second year of my PhD and currently looking at different circular business models which help business organisations to produce in a more environmental-friendly manner. After completing the Certificate of Personal Development and being a Postgraduate Tutor, I joined SDS in September 2018. The sessions are a wonderful experience to gain the soft skills employers are looking for. But most importantly, it’s a friendly and protected environment for you to learn countless transferable skills, that help you to stand out of the crowd! Interested? Come along!

Katie - Student Peer Trainer

Hi! My name is Katie, I’m a third year Neuroscience student here at Cardiff University. Last year I attended some SDS sessions and completed a Certificate of Professional Development which led me to realise how little my course prepares me with transferable skills that will be needed in the world of work. Therefore, I decided to take on a role working to deliver these sessions to help other students, like myself, gain these invaluable skills that will help them to obtain a job of a lifetime. My other interests outside of university, include reading and creating my bullet journal.

Bonita - Student Peer Trainer

I’m Bonita, and I’m a third year psychology undergrad. I completed my Certificate of Personal Development in my second year and found that the wide range of soft skills taught by SDS really gave me the confidence and drive to do more in university as well as in my personal life. I want to help other students achieve the same, hence why I’ve joined the SDS team this year. If you are interested in any of the sessions, please do come along! Little bit about myself: in my spare time, I enjoy baking, running, and daydreaming about Christmas….

Boris - Student Peer Trainer

Hail, Friend! I’m glad to see you on this very page of the Skills Development Service. My name is Boris. I am a 2nd Year Media and Communications student here at Cardiff University and a new addition to the SDS team. During my first year of study I successfully completed all four stages of the previous version of the Certificate for Personal Development. I am currently undertaking the Diploma of Professional Development as well as entering the final stages of the Cardiff Award. It is a privilege and a joy to be a Student Peer Trainer and to assist fellow students in becoming experienced and confident individuals.