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.

We recruit for Student-peer Trainers towards the end of the Spring semester for the following academic year with training taking place shortly after the summer examination period. Look out for adverts on our website and via the Jobshop. If you would like to talk about this opportunity please feel free to contact any members of the SDS team.

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. After starting off as a peer trainer in 1985 I became the Regional Training Officer in 1990 until 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 am a licencee to deliver training for The Pacific Institute® and Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH).

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, and being an integral member and volunteer through my local church.


Training & Development Co-ordinator

I’m Sum and I’m the Training and Development Coordinator. My responsibilities include delivering sessions, training and developing the team of Student Peer Trainers (SPTs), recruiting new SPTs and managing students enrolled on the Diploma of Professional Development in Leadership Award. I studied my Undergraduate degree at Cardiff University achieving a 1st Class honours. During my placement year, I completed the 3 CPD units of Communication, Leadership and Personal Effectiveness, before joining the team in 2013/14. In 2015, I gained Associate Fellow to the Higher Education Academy status for my work with the SDS and as the “Shadow Module” leader for Human Neuroanatomy. I went on to do a PhD in Psychiatric Genetics looking at genetic risk factors for bipolar disorder in the general population in 2015. Throughout that time, I progressed to become Senior Peer Trainer within the SDS team, became a Wellbeing Champion and a Police Student Volunteer. I have taken part in fundraising for both the “Student Sleepout” where I won the Individual Fundraiser of the Year, and in the Mini Jailbreak event, where myself and another SPT won Group Fundraiser of the Year as #TeamSDS. 

To me, guiding people to the realisation that they hold the key to their own success and learning is incredibly rewarding. When you see the lightbulb moment happen, the smile on their face is priceless. To quote Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” and “Education is not the learning of facts, rather the training of the mind to think.” When I’m not working, I enjoy going for long walks, nature, photography and rugby.

The Student Peer Trainers

The Skills Development Service wouldn’t be as successful without our talented and hardworking team of Student Peer Trainers.  To attain 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 can also take extra sessions in the daytime. 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.

Laura - Senior Student-peer Trainer

I’m Laura, currently studying an MA in International Relations. 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 - Intermediate Student-peer Trainer

I’m Nadine, in the third 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 being a Postgraduate Tutor, I joined SDS in September 2018. Since then I’ve manage to achieve the Higher Education Associate Fellowship, as well as the Certificate of Personal Development in Leadership.

Working with SDS has really developed my personal skills further. I am a lot more confident (not only in presenting i.e. at big conferences or delivering tutorials / seminars) but also in taking and tackling questions. It’s also the regular interactions with different people and their characters that have developed me further. I can see a difference in how I present and interact with people before I joined SDS and now.

SDS 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 - Intermediate Student-peer Trainer

Hi! My name is Katie, I’m a Post Graduate student here at Cardiff University. In my second 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.

Boris - Intermediate 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 3rd Year Media and Communications student here at Cardiff University and in my second year in 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 have achieved 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.

Lowri - Student-peer Trainer

Shwmae! My name is Lowri and I am a third-year Translation with French and Spanish student. Having completed the Cardiff Award and the Diploma of Professional Development in Leadership I was eager to become a Student Peer Trainer to be able to deliver and promote the services of the SDS. I am a proud Welsh speaker so I will be delivering the SDS' new Welsh language taster session and other SDS sessions in English; as well as helping improve the SDS Welsh provision more generally. Outside of SDS and studying, I am highly interested in politics and current affairs; I am currently the Head of Politics at Gair Rhydd.

Nureen Mohd. Azlam - Student-peer Trainer

Hello there! My name is Nureen and am currently a second year Psychology student. I attended a few SDS sessions in my first year and it made me realise the importance of having these transferable skills not only for myself but for others as well. This made me interested in becoming an SPT, so that others may also benefit from the knowledge that will prove useful in and outside their degree. The SDS sessions provide a safe space for students to discuss and learn important skills that are not necessarily provided in their course at University. In my free time, I enjoy taking walks and cooking for my friends and family.

Charalambos - Student-peer Trainer

Hello everyone! My name is Charalambos (Harry), I am currently on my fourth and final year of my Masters in Mechanical Engineering degree and this is my first year as a student peer trainer. SDS is an exciting platform to practice the skills that you never knew you had, just like I found out myself! I have completed the Leadership Certificate and attended a various number of SDS sessions. I appreciated the professional level of delivering the sessions and wanted to attend more and more sessions, as a result of that I applied to become part of the team. With that in mind, I hope I will be able to pass on the enthusiasm and excitement of exploring and enhancing your soft skills. Who knows, you might be the next one typing their bio on this page next year!

Ben - Student-peer Trainer

My name is Ben and I'm studying Management in my final year. After attending SDS sessions earlier on in my degree I was keen to get more involved as they were instrumental in my completion of the Cardiff Award and success in interviews. I've become a Student Peer Trainer to help make the sessions engaging and productive; I can't wait to see you there this year!

Will - Student-peer Trainer

Hi everyone | Shwmae bawb! My name is Will and I’m a third year History student! I became involved with SDS because I was looking to gain new transferable skills and to boost my employability. I love how the sessions cater to the learning styles of everyone and provide the opportunity to meet like-minded people; I’ve made so many friends since I first started going! Through SDS, I’ve completed the Certificates of Personal Development in Leadership and Communication which has increased my confidence and become a talking point in job applications. I became a Student-Peer Trainer because I’ve gained so much from the service and I want to introduce more students to the benefits of the SDS. I can’t wait to use the skills I’ve learnt to deliver sessions and it would be amazing to see you there! Outside of work, my goals for this year are to complete the Cardiff Award and to represent Aerial Fitness at a showcase event.

Faith Simiyu - Student-peer Trainer

I’m Faith, currently a doctoral legal researcher and teaching assistant at Cardiff University, School of Law. Previously, as a barrister, I co-founded a private law practice where I gained hand-on experience and transferable skills in networking, negotiation, effective communication, leadership, and managing conflicts in the workplace etc.

Attending the SDS workshops was a therefore timely and an invaluable package that reinforce the said transferable skills. In fact, the certificate that is awarded on completion of the workshops provide concrete evidence of having gained professional training on these skills. Undoubtedly, there are limitless ideas on future employment skills; that stand to be gained from attending the SDS workshops! I am privileged to be part of the team that will teach you the same. I certainly encourage you to consider the SDS workshops!