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Meet the team

Our work is driven by a passionate, dedicated and experienced team of change makers who are at the forefront of creating a more equitable world of work.

Our deep understanding of the challenges businesses and disadvantaged communities are facing allows us to be a true partner, delivering real value and informed solutions that help businesses become a force for good.

Staff team

Anna Ambrose

Co-founder & Director

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I joined our Workwhile’s host organisation IPPR in 2019 to transform our pilot project, the London Progression Collaboration, from a feasibility study on paper to a living and breathing initiative working with employers and delivering impact for Londoners. I lead on our work from a strategic and operational perspective, including working with our funders and key external partners.

I thrive on the day-to-day variety of this early-stage charity development, supported by a brilliant team. And I’m inspired by the people I meet through our work, from small business owners to apprentices.

Before this, I was a director at Ambition Institute, a national charity addressing educational disadvantage by supporting teachers and school leaders, as well as leading on their diversity and inclusion work. I see a really strong link between Ambition’s work and ours, taking different approaches to breaking the multi-generational cycle of disadvantage and marginalisation.

Outside work, I’m a school governor and can often be found with my hands muddy in the garden.

Talk to me about: strategic partnerships, funding opportunities, policy, small charity leadership

Dan Cook

Delivery Manager (NW)

I'm Delivery Manager at Workwhile. I'm passionate about creating opportunities for all, and I have 18 years of experience working in the employability and skills industry. I currently lead on delivering Workwhile's SkillsBoost programme in the North West, which is a contract with the Department for Education. It's an exciting journey of empowering individuals, breaking down barriers, and making a positive impact in the world of employability and skills.

Throughout my career, I've held diverse roles ranging from business development to operations, and for a large part served as the head of sales. With my extensive background, I bring a wealth of knowledge and a strategic approach to every project.

Beyond work, I'm an avid hockey player and coach. I actively contribute to my local schools and club, sharing my expertise and fostering a love for the sport.

Talk to me about: apprenticeship support for SMEs and training provider partnerships in the North West, the SkillsBoost programme

Emma McWalter

Programme Manager

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I’m Programme Manager at Workwhile. My role currently focuses on delivering tailored support to SMEs, giving them information, advice, and guidance to incorporate apprenticeships within their organisations. I also manage training provider relationships, collaborating to make apprenticeships more accessible and drive social impact.

I lead our Knowledge Sharing Network, K², which connects our SMEs, large employers, providers, and more, to learn from each other’s experiences, and I also work on our internal digital data collection methods.

I studied History at Exeter University, after which I started an entry level role in a Health-Tech start-up, where I learnt a huge amount on the job, starting in 2018 in the Implementation Team and within my third year I worked on Business Development for the UK and Australia, signing our first international customer.

I’m particularly interested in how we can shift the perspective of employers and support young people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds into good work. This is due to a firm belief that the ‘traditional education’ route is not always the best option for many roles, industries, and individuals.

Talk to me about: apprenticeship support for SMEs, training provider partnerships, DevelopMentor line management training

Ajay Purbhoosing

Senior Account Manager

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I've worked across several sectors and connected with people from all walks of life, and always asked myself ‘how did people get there?’. Whether life experiences or education, people aim for a better quality of life. Still, not all opportunities are equally accessible due to knowledge or socioeconomic circumstances.

As I gained experience in the welfare and education space, I was inspired by some of the organisations within the community making a change in a flawed system, and striving to make a difference. As I saw what was working elsewhere, I felt limited in making an impact.

This is why I joined the London Progression Collaboration in 2019, with a blank canvas to design and deliver support to enable those from under-represented and marginalised backgrounds to access a quality apprenticeship experience through the businesses that seek support. Whether brokering a levy transfer or helping SMEs understand the world of apprenticeships, I'm always thinking about how I can enhance their experience and, in turn, create those opportunities for those that need it the most.

Talk to me about: apprenticeship support for SMEs, training provider partnerships

Jack Shaw

Senior Account Manager

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I’m a Senior Account Manager at Workwhile and I lead on our East Bank Shared Apprenticeship Programme, which is equipping employers across East London with the skills to deliver better apprenticeship experiences for apprentices, giving them the best possible life chances.

As a former advisor in Parliament and local government, I am particularly interested in systems-thinking and joining-up skills programmes to ensure that the ecosystem of provision delivers the best outcomes, and I’m also interested in the intersection between skills policy and successive national programme to tackle regional inequalities and lagging economic productivity.

In my spare time, I enjoy hiking – though I enjoy talking about it much more.

Talk to me about: SME support in Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest, Workwhile’s policy and comms work

Rob Singh

Senior Account Manager

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I joined the team at the beginning when we had a blank piece of paper and a brief to get unemployed and low-skilled Londoners onto a pathway of progression through apprenticeships. Since then my work has grown from SME support and helping Levy paying organisations to share levy with SMEs, to working in close partnership with local councils in London to find innovative ways to support local businesses to create opportunity through apprenticeships and training, with the values of good work and good pay for residents.

I love how agile and creative we can be as a small, but expertise-packed organisation that sits in a unique position between local and national government, training providers and businesses. I love to think laterally and find new and interesting ways to solve skills and employment problems and change people’s thinking about fair pay and good work.

Outside of work I try to attend as many gigs as I can and have an ever expanding vinyl record collection.

Talk to me about: our work with local authorities and industry/sector bodies, consultancy support

Governance

Workwhile currently sits within IPPR's governance structures, overseen by senior IPPR staff and ultimately by IPPR's trustees. The initiative also has a project advisory board, chaired by IPPR Associate Fellow Clare McNeil.

Clare McNeil

Co-founder & Chair - Advisory board

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I set up the London Progression Collaboration (now Workwhile) at host organisation IPPR in 2018 with the Greater London Authority and JP Morgan Chase Foundation, after spotting a gap for an initiative to work with businesses to create better jobs and more opportunity for low paid workers.

I am passionate about how improving job quality and design can help tackle a range of social and economic challenges, from wage inequality and working poverty, to increasing worker power and innovation in the everyday economy.

I am an Associate Fellow at IPPR and was previously Associate Director, where I led the organisation’s work on social policy and gained widespread influence and impact for our research on work and the welfare state. I developed my passion for improving job quality and design as an adviser to the Cabinet Office, where I led reforms to increase levels of diversity and inclusion within the senior civil service.

I currently chair Workwhile’s advisory board and sit on the advisory board for the Research Centre on Micro-Social change at the University of Essex, and regularly write and present on public policy issues for national media.

Talk to me about: strategic collaboration, policy and research, funding opportunities.

Ready to work with us to create a more equitable world of work?

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