Our WEA Ambassador role is aimed at anyone who can talk informally, passionately and realistically about the challenges and rewards of studying as an adult. The role involves contributing to the communication of WEA priorities, fundraising and supporting student and membership recruitment. If you know of anyone that you think would want to fulfil this type of volunteer role, then please complete the nomination form here and send to the volunteering mailbox at volunteering@wea.org.uk 

A role profile is also included here with further detail of what is expected of the role and how we will support the ambassadors going forward. Meet our ambassadors below, or click on the relevant region to be taken straight to their ambassadors.

East Midlands | London | North East | North West | Scotland | Southern | South West | West Midlands | Yorkshire and Humber

East Midlands

Cheryl Turner

I’m a senior research fellow at NIACE and until July was their Head of Learning in Families and Communities. I’ve worked for 40 years in adult learning: as a WEA Tutor Organiser; teacher in community and higher education; and at NIACE where I led on the third sector, informal learning, citizenship and learner voice.

I believe learning is at the heart of a more equal, democratic and sustainable society and I’m honoured to support the WEA in building learning in communities.

Lisa Robinson

In the past few years, I have worked on a number of projects aimed at widening participation in WEA provision. I’m currently the Director of Bright Ideas Nottingham, a partner organisation delivering WEA projects in diverse communities. These include ‘Tackling Race Inequalities’, ‘Take Part Provision’ (active learning for active citizenship) and ‘Women Leading for Change’. As an ambassador, I aim to build the profile of the WEA through continued partnership working, community blogs and social media.


Marjorie Mayo

From my first involvement with the WEA, as a tutor in Ruskin College in Oxford, I’ve subsequently collaborated with the WEA on learning for active citizenship programmes and on related research and publications. I am part of the ‘Take Part’ network on learning for active citizenship, the International Association for Community Development and have Trade Union education contacts.

Tim Melville-Ross

Biography coming soon

Shakira Martin

Biography coming soon

Peter Shukie

Biography coming soon

North East

Nigel Todd

I’ve been a WEA voluntary member, student, tutor, historian and Regional Director. I helped set up a WEA Green Branch in the North East, linking the Association as lead partner with a £1 million Big Lottery Communities Living Sustainably project naming Greening Wingrove. My other interests include promoting co-operatives.

Shona Alexander

Biography coming soon

Sarah Hellawell

Biography coming soon

North West

Jane Cordell

In 2002, Sean, my brother, set up two annual prizes in my Mum’s name – Olive Cordell. I have been stunned and humbled by the commitment, drive and quality of the winners, usually against huge odds. I was a teacher for 10 years and still do work as a trainer. As a deaf person, I observe the terrible impact of the high levels of inequality that we have in the UK. Reducing this inequality is my top priority.


Bashabi Fraser

As a poet, editor, writer and translator, I have long been aware of the power of education and literacy. I worked as a coordinator for WEA Scotland as part of the ‘Peoples of Edinburgh’ project, that engaged the diverse communities of Edinburgh and lead to a major exhibition.

Joyce Connon

Biography coming soon

Barbara Casey

Biography coming soon

Emma Whitelock

I’ve had over 25 years of experience working in the voluntary sector within organisations striving for equality of access and outcomes in learning, citizenship, volunteering and employment, working with disabled people, carers and families. Currently the CEO at Lead Scotland (lead.org.uk) since October 2015, the Vice Chair of Learning Link Scotland and an Associate Assessor for Education Scotland.  Lead Scotland provides learning, befriending and helpline services, which act as catalysts, enabling disabled young people, adults and carers people to make positive changes in their lives.

Shirley Howitt

Biography coming soon

Wendy Burton

Biography coming soon


Amy King

After winning the 2014 Young Adult Learner award, I met WEA Chief Executive, Ruth Spellman, and spoke to her about my passion to help others engage with education.

I’m involved with an educational charity aimed at encouraging women to get into science and I think this is a fantastic opportunity to introduce people to the WEA. Through adult learners I’ve been in contact with MPs and organisations; I aim to use these contacts to promote the WEA.

Nadine Dereza

I first came across the WEA when I chaired the WEA Parliamentary Event and hosted the 2012 inaugural Workers’ Educational Association Awards.

I am able to contribute to the WEA as an ambassador by speaking at public events and promoting the WEA through networks and the media.

South West

Dr Hadrian Cook

I teach and write on environmental science, environmental policy and landscape history. I have taught landscape history, local history, geology and environmental social science and collaborated with English literature, art history and archaeological tutors in teaching adult classes. I was educated in the universities of Sheffield, London and East Anglia and have taught in schools. I served on the full-time academic staff of the University of London, at Wye College and Imperial College and until recently was on the staff of Kingston University, London.

Edna Warwick

Biography coming soon

Tracy Jeffery

Biography coming soon

Nigel Taylor

On leaving school I worked in the Civil Service for a Government Minister and as a Clerk of Court in the High Court in London. I then moved into Sales and Marketing in the petroleum industry. I have since worked in a Sales Account Manager role, successfully combining my knowledge of finance and commercial affairs with an ability to communicate and form relationships with a diverse range of people within both Lloyds Banking Group.

I enjoy volunteering with the WEA and have recently qualified to become a tutor with them in the South West. I am currently writing a Pre-Retirement Planning course for roll-out in 2020.

West Midlands

Martin Yarnitt

I’ve been aware of the WEA over many years, having been involved in different capacities: both as a tutor organiser in Liverpool and also through my work with the Community Learning Champions. Most recently I’ve been involved with the Association through my involvement in Talk Shop with the WEA in 2014 and 2015.

Amanda French

I have worked in higher, further and adult education in the West Midlands for over 26 years. Until 2001 I was employed by the WEA as a Basic Skills Co-ordinator. Since then, I have remained a supporter of the WEA, volunteering on West Midlands Regional Committee. I’m currently a Senior Researcher and Co-Director of the Centre for Studies in Practice and Culture in Education at Birmingham City University.

Tom Rigby

Biography coming soon

Dr Ian Manborde

Biography coming soon

Linda Bingham

I am currently Lord Mayor of Coventry. Adult education has meant that I have been able to change my life dramatically, support my family and gain experiences that I would never have dreamt of. At 38 I took up adult education classes when our eldest child was studying GCSE and our youngest child was three. I also joined the Open University in order to gain a degree: he first year was with the aid of a bursary and subsequently with the aid of the Civil Service. Some of the courses were run by the WEA in Birmingham. I gained a Diploma in European Humanities and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 1994. Whilst being a Councillor I have continued education with in-house training, a Bishop’s Certificate in Discipleship, (I am a Eucharistic Minister and Altar Server) and taken a Certificate in Local Governance and Law which I hope will enable me to obtain an M.A. in the future.

Penny Vincent

Biography coming soon

Tristram Hunt

Biography coming soon

Yorkshire and Humber

Ann Walker

I began working in adult and community education in the early 1980s and worked for the WEA from 2002 until my retirement from full-time work in 2015. Latterly I was the Director for Education and Deputy General Secretary / CEO.

I am firmly committed to the WEA's vision and continue to campaign for lifelong learning that improves equality, democracy and social justice. I'm a regular user of social media to promote the WEA, adult education, family learning and thoughtful approaches to teaching and learning practices.

Martin Yarnitt

Biography coming soon

Paul Humphries

I'm a retired journalist who worked across the board, from weekly newspapers to TV documentaries, but it was working at the grassroots that gave me so much job satisfaction: helping people with their problems, encouraging them to turn to their local reporter to help them take on the powers-that-be. Prior to becoming a journalist I was involved with a number of art marketing projects where I specialised in encouraging working class people to visit their local theatre, art gallery and concert hall. The WEA is the ideal organisation to reach out to people at the grassroots and help them build a better life.