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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 manage the Skills Development Service which includes 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-accredited courses and represent SDS on the Cardiff Award. I have a passion for teaching and believe that every person has a right to realise their own potential.  I gain no greater satisfaction than seeing our students feel great 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 we are not obliged to teach, we are permitted. Outside of work I enjoy listening to and playing music as a guitarist, rugby, football and walking. 

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

Hi, I’m Sum, from Weston Super Mare and going into my 2nd year of a PhD in Bipolar disorder research. I started as a peer trainer in 2014 having completed all three certificates of professional development. I’m currently an associate fellow to the Higher Education Academy and in addition to training students with the SDS team, I also teach and support undergraduate students in the School of Biosciences. I’ve also completed the Cardiff Award. Outsideof this, I’m into spin classes, yoga, the gym, nature, photography and the outdoors.

Abhishek Kulkarni - Student Peer Trainer

I’m Abhishek, going into my final academic year of studying Medical Pharmacology and this will be my first year with the Skills Development Service. I really admire what the SDS offers to University students and I think it will be an amazing opportunity to be a part of it. After graduation I would love to get into a career involving sales and marketing within the pharmaceutical industry, and I feel being a part of the SDS will enhance many of my skills and the fact I will be able to get involved in teaching the sessions is fantastic. I enjoy playing badminton, cooking and learning new things every day. 

Alanna Harris - Student Peer Trainer

Hi, I'm Alanna, a third year Physiotherapy student. I have been lucky enough to become a student peer trainer. It is an amazing opportunity to develop new skills and meet new people. The courses run by SDS are a great way to develop 'soft' skills which employers want but are often not covered within a degree. Once completing a number of sessions you will be given a certificate which looks great as part of your CV! I'm looking forward to seeing you in our teaching sessions

Joseph Taylor - Student Peer Trainer

Hi, I’m Joe, I am a final MChem student. After completing the leadership CPD and from past experience in teaching I jumped on the opportunity to be able to be part of the SDS in order to help other students’ identity key skills and to reach their potential. As well as being passionate about chemistry and education, I also enjoy music.

Laura Cawson - Student Peer Trainer

I’m Laura, a second year law student with a love of business, baking and music. After discovering the skills development service in my first year I jumped at the opportunity to become a peer trainer. The service supports and encourages so many skills from teamwork, motivation, time management and so much more. The sessions are a relaxed way to build up confidence and meet new people. I can’t recommend it enough.

Lucy Ghent - Student Peer Trainer

Hi, I’m Lucy, and I’m a third year English Language student. Whilst being at University I’ve also studied German alongside my degree and Spanish through the Languages for All programme – I’m also a Student Language Ambassador and a Student Mentor. After completing a certificate of professional development myself, I’m even more excited to be part of the Student Peer Trainer team and help others to achieve fantastic transferable skills. Outside of my academic life I enjoy music and going to see live bands, learning new languages, cooking and going to the gym.

Maria Naqvi - Student Peer Trainer

I'm Maria, a third year genetics student from Norway. I am currently undertaking my first year with the SDS team. I became interested in becoming a student peer trainer after attending some of the workshops. I believe that being a student peer trainer is fun and exciting as I get to meet and work alongside new people. I would recommend all the workshops to the students who are interested in improving their CVs or developing new skills.

Rosie Cowell - Student Peer Trainer

Hi, I'm Rosie, and I’m a third year Philosophy student! This is my first year of being a Student Peer Trainer, and I'm excited to put the skills that I've learnt in the SDS sessions into practise. I first found out about SDS through a careers fair, and I quickly achieved the Communication and Personal Effectiveness certificates. I really enjoyed the sessions, and I decided to apply for the Student Peer Trainer role in order to help develop others as well as myself. If you’re considering getting involved in SDS I would recommend it, because the sessions can help you learn more about yourself and gain confidence along the way.

Yazan Al Thaher - Student Peer Trainer

Hello I am Yazan, a Pharmacy PhD student going into my 3rd year. I work as an SDS peer trainer. I was interested in becoming a peer trainer after completing all the three certificates of professional development. I am also working on becoming an associate fellow of the higher education academy. I enjoy going to the gym, outdoors, and travelling.