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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 following 5 years as a peer-trainer became the Regional Training Officer (South Wales) from 1990 until 1996 when the post was expunged following privatisation. I believed in myself and my transferable experiences so studied part-time at UWCN for 5 years while carrying out my experiential learning teaching practice in local colleges, learning providers and working for Serco Rail Services as a Trainer. I thus have a passion for teaching students and 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.

Rifhat Qureshi

Training and Development Coordinator

Hello I’m Rifhat.  I work alongside John. I help administer, deliver and facilitate the different sessions run by the Skills Development Service. I am the main point of contact for the Student Peer Trainers and work with them to make sure all our sessions run smoothly and effectively. I have a PGCE in Post Compulsory Education and love nothing more than teaching and meeting a new group of learners. Besides teaching, I have a strong business/retail background. I enjoy Pilates, HIIT training, running and power walking and I’m always trying to exceed my 10,000 steps a day!  


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.

Ellie Davies - Senior Peer Trainer

I’m Ellie, a French and Philosophy student in my 4th academic year with the Skills Development Service. I became interested in the SDS after attending compulsory courses through my degree programme, and teaching them has been the most incredible opportunity. The Communication, Personal Effectiveness, and Leadership courses offer great learning opportunities for all students and I would encourage anyone interested to dive straight in.

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

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.

Lucy Ghent - Student Peer Trainer

Hi, I’m Lucy, and I’m currently studying an MSc in Human Resource Management alongside my work as a Student-Peer Trainer and Mentor Consultant. I started working at the SDS in 2017 after completing a Certificate of Professional Development, and have since also completed the Diploma of Professional Development in Leadership and The Cardiff Award. I enjoy helping others to achieve their potential through the SDS sessions, which are a fantastic way of developing valuable transferable skills.

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.

Latifa - Student Peer Trainer

Hi, Shiwmae! I am Latifa.
I am doing a Biochemistry degree and I am in my third year. When I first knew about skills development sessions, I was keen to make some changes to myself. I have completed the Leadership certificate, which was the spark for upcoming successful events such as completing the Cardiff Award. I used to be a student who attended these sessions and now I am pleased and proud to say, I am member of the peer-trainer team! Besides my passion about teaching, I like to play table tennis; drawing and I enjoy going trips and travelling. Come along and experience these SDS sessions!