Meet the team

The Shaping Futures core team is based in the University of Liverpool Foundation Building on Brownlow Hill and all staff have a wealth of experience in widening participation and outreach practices, as well as general schools engagement initiatives. The core team consists of our Head of Programme, a core Management Team and eight Project Officers. Four of our Project Officers have a geographical area of responsibility in schools and will lead on delivery within that geographical area. Four of our Project Officers are know as the Localities Team. These are based in colleges for over half of the week, providing 1:1 information, advice and guidance to students alongside group interventions. The team is supported by Project Assistants and Project Support Officers.

You can find contact details for us our Contact information page. If you’re not sure who you would be best placed to help you, you can call our office on 0151 795 3619 or email and we’ll be happy to help.

In addition to our core staff, we are supported in our activities and delivery by widening participation and outreach staff in each of our partner universities and colleges, who help to deliver various aspects of Shaping Futures projects, alongside work on their own existing projects and programmes to support young people in accessing Higher Education.

Below you can meet our team and find out more about each member of staff and their areas of responsibility, knowledge and expertise.

Management Team

John Corish – Head of Programme

I am responsible for the strategic leadership and management of the programme ensuring:
1. Shaping Futures activities reach up to c.8,000 learners across Liverpool City Region by December 2018
2. That the young people we engage with get the help they need to progress into higher education and form the foundations to go on to build a successful career
3. Through mentoring and guidance activities young people aspire to do well in their education and understand the variety of Higher Education pathways on offer to them

My own love of learning comes from a real mix of sources: seeing my gran going to college in Liverpool for the first time when in her 70s; supportive teachers at just the right time in my secondary school studies; and a fascination with cities and urban design which in turn led on to a degree in urban planning and management and a wide-ranging 15 year career in local and regional government.

Yvonne McCreath – Contracts Manager

I joined the Shaping Futures team in November 2017 and my role, as Contracts Manager, involves the management of grant funded projects and activities, financial management and day to day support for the Head of Programme and the team.

I began my career in 2000 as a Prisoner Custody Officer in a Category B Male Local Prison based in Fazakerley. From 2003, I progressed into a number of managerial posts culminating in a move to Head of Safer Custody in 2015. In this role, I held responsibility for several areas and work-streams within the Prison and I led the development of the Young Adult Strategy. In 2016, I took a sideways move to become Head of Custody for the Policing Support Services sector of the organisation which involved the contract management of a number of services within several police custody suites across the UK. During my career, I have also had the opportunity to be seconded to a number of large scale bidding competitions as an operational bid writer.

My experience of working with Young Adults has stayed with me over the years and I am delighted to be a part of the Shaping Futures team and part of a project that aims to deliver potentially life-changing opportunities for the participants.

Tony Murphy – Localities Team Leader

I joined Shaping Futures in November 2017 as the Localities Team Lead. Prior to this role, my career has always been in Careers Education, Information Advice and Guidance.

I am a fully qualified Careers Adviser and have spent most of my career designing and delivering careers related support to a wide variety of educational establishments across the Liverpool city region.I started my career working with unemployed adults in the south Liverpool region. In 2003, I joined the Connexions service and become a Lead Adviser in Liverpool schools, with a responsibility for ensuring all students, parents and staff had access to IAG services and support. More recently, I was employed by a Multi-Academy Trust as the Careers and Employability Manager.

I am delighted to join the Shaping Futures team and look forward to ensuring its success over the coming months.

Project Officers

Amber Coleman

I work as a Project Officer in the Shaping Futures team, and am currently responsible for our work with schools in Halton and our engagements with Looked After Children, Young Adult Carers and Estranged Students.

I graduated from the University of Manchester with a First Class degree in Politics & Sociology in 2014. I stayed on at the University for a year after this, working as a graduate intern, which was a great opportunity to learn more about the Higher Education sector and build upon experiences I had as a student. During this time I found myself particularly interested in pre-entry work, and Widening Participation more specifically.

My next role with the Merseyside Network for Collaborative Outreach, based at the University of Liverpool, focused more on this area and enabled me to learn more about how different institutions work and outreach in particular – which was a brilliant stepping stone to now working on the Shaping Futures project!

Sarah Hanson

I am the Shaping Futures Project Officer with responsibility for work with our Liverpool schools, Healthcare programmes and the ‘Through the Eyes of Boys’ project, which focuses on addressing the under-representation of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds.

After graduating from Liverpool John Moores University in with a BA Hons in English, Media and Cultural Studies, I joined the University of Liverpool’s central Widening Participation and Outreach team as a Graduate Advocate with the pre-16 team. During this year long post I principally worked on campus visits, the Professor Fluffy primary programme and ‘Your Way to University’, a collaborative project with the University of Manchester based in Cumbria.

After completing my year as a Graduate Advocate, I stayed with the WPO team as an Assistant Project Officer, looking after Year 7 campus visits for our partner and associate schools, the Dangerous Science Summer School and communications for the team, including print, digital and social media, before moving over to the Shaping Futures team.

Kev Hornblower

After studying history at university I spent a year teaching English in China. My positive experiences at university and teaching English inspired me to pursue a career within education. When I returned I was lucky enough to secure a job at the University of Liverpool’s Widening Participation team. After a couple of enjoyable years at Liverpool I took up the opportunity to further my experience by taking a job at the University of Chester.

In my current role within the Shaping Futures team, I am responsible for our work across the Wirral region. This includes building relationships with schools, teachers, parents and community groups to ensure that they engage fully with our programme. More importantly, it means developing and delivering a fun, engaging curriculum of activity that will inspire and inform all of the young people that we work with. The programme will highlight the many benefits a HE education provides and will explain the different options available to them with the hope of boosting applications to university.

Project Assistants
  1. Roma Brown

After graduating with a degree in Communication, Media & Popular Music from The University of Liverpool I accepted the role of Project Assistant as a part of the Merseyside Collaborative Outreach Programme. Prior to this, I took part in a placement with In Harmony Liverpool, a music programme based in Everton which aims to improve the health, education and aspirations of children and young people.

My role as Project Assistant requires me to support the project officers and assist in the development and delivery of programmes as a means of widening participation within young people currently underrepresented within higher education.

My experience at this organisation was extremely rewarding and gave me an insight into the importance of outreach and community work in order to improve aspirations within children and young people.

Mary Edgar

I work in the team of project assistants to deliver and develop widening participation activities within the MCOP project.

I attended the University of Liverpool for my BA and MA in Ancient History and wrote my final dissertation on Roman magic. During my Masters I worked with the Classics for All projects going into schools in the Merseyside area to deliver enrichment lessons about which included everything from designing ancient Greek plates to recreating Roman marching formations in the playground.

After graduating I started working as an administrator on an overseas research grant. During this time I also got involved in some of the public engagement work in the Institute of Infection and Global Health.

Anthony Melia

I joined the team in August 2017 alongside the other four assistants. My main duties are to support the Project Officers in preparation and delivery of activities and projects.

Born and raised in north Liverpool, I graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2016 after completing my undergrad in History and Hispanic Studies. During my time at university, I spent a compulsory year abroad teaching English in Spain. I was able to work for an academic year in a primary school in Andalusia which was a fantastic experience to have. Upon my return, I helped to set-up and run the first Erasmus Social Network in the university. I mainly worked on organising and running social events ranging from weekends away to an end of year ball.

After graduating, I returned to Spain to work with a community development organisation. We worked with providing inner city FE pupils internships based out of the city of Seville. We would organise work placements to fit with their areas of study and look after them during their time with us.

Aimee Rigby

I work as a project assistant in the Shaping Futures Team.

After graduating from the University of Liverpool in July 2017 with a First Class BA Hons degree in French and Hispanic studies, I joined the Shaping Futures Team. I previously worked with the University of Liverpool’s Widening Participation and Outreach department as a student advocate, working on campus days, subject specific sessions and mentoring programmes within the wider Liverpool community. I have also worked as a language assistant at a Wirral high school and additionally as a language tutor.

I look forward to bringing my language-based background to my role with the Shaping Futures team, working alongside primarily schools in the Wirral area, as well as working on larger bespoke projects in the Liverpool City Region.

Sophie Warburton

I have recently graduated from the University of Liverpool in Psychology. Whilst at university I worked for two years as a student advocate. I assisted on a number of projects including Liverpool Scholars, an assisted entry programme to the University of Liverpool, the Professor Fluffy primary programme and residential visits.

During my time at university, after sitting on the Widening Participation committee for Health and Life sciences I established EdPsych, a student led group engaging in outreach work with young people from a range of backgrounds and ages. This involved developing and delivering a range of interactive workshops providing an insight into Psychology.

In my current role I will be supporting on a range of projects within Shaping Futures including Farm Urban and All About STEM as well as working within schools in the Knowsley and St Helens area.


Project Support Officers

Sarah Doogan

I am responsible for the administration of the team, making sure that the programme is continuously supported in all areas. My love for Higher Education has come from my exciting and inspiring time spent at the University of Liverpool studying History (BSC). Moving from my home in Ireland, HE was for me much more than studying. It was invaluable to my personal development in becoming independent and having the skills to become employable and progress my career. Therefore, I wish to see others have the opportunities I had from Higher and Further Education!

I am also currently studying towards my APM in Project Management. I hope to continue a career working within educational projects.

Christine Canavan

I am a Project Support Officer, supporting the central administration of the Shaping Futures team. My work background is secondary school based, where I developed my skills within education for 13 years. I began my school working life as a lunchtime assistant, worked towards becoming a classroom support and finally became a Pastoral Head of Year for Sixth Form, in the meantime completing a BA in Learning, Development and Support with Liverpool John Moores University.

I have always actively encouraged all pupils within my cohort to be the best version of themselves. I have enjoyed seeing pupils develop and grow, both academically and emotionally and take great pride, in any role I have undertaken, to ensure future success for those pupils. Being involved with the Shaping Futures team, both within the colleges and schools, ensures that I continue to be part of the successful future of the young people from the Merseyside area.

Christopher Leech

I joined the Shaping Futures team in April 2018 as a Project Support Officer to help with general support of the programme as well as working on data analysis with particular emphasis on impact and engagement.

I studied my BSc. in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice at Liverpool John Moores University, and then studied for my MSc. in Health Psychology there the following year, graduating in 2016. I began working in Higher Education within a university library in 2016 and this understanding of the HE environment helped me to secure a role at the Public Health Institute (situated in Liverpool John Moores University) in 2017. As a public health researcher, I was part of the impact and engagement team working with third sector organisations to measure and evidence impact of interventions and services aiding vulnerable populations to improve wellbeing and reduce social isolation. This has given me a strong foundation of data analysis, evaluation and impact measurement, which I intend to continue to develop at Shaping Futures.

I strongly believe in Higher Education and have been involved with representing students on various councils and advocacy programmes throughout my academic career. I hope to use my skills and knowledge to continue to help the Shaping Futures team to highlight to learners the potential of Higher Education.

Localities Team

Anna Howell

I attended the University of the West of England, in Bristol, where I achieved a 2.1 in Business Administration with Marketing. During my time studying my degree I spent a few months as a House Mistress in a local boarding school. This inspired me to work with young people and pursue a career in education rather than marketing.

After a year working in the social inclusion department with students who were at risk of being permanently excluded from school or who were based in an alternative education provision, I took up my place at Bangor University studying for my PGCE in secondary education. On graduating I was employed in a secondary school in North Wales where I have held the post of Head of Year, Subject Leader and Head of Sixth Form.

I am excited to now be working with the Shaping Futures team and help inspire, guide and support students to consider Higher Education as a possible future pathway.

Hannah Lewis

I’m the Localities Project Officer for St Helens and Knowsley, working across the sites of Carmel and St Helen’s Colleges. I have a background in raising the aspirations of young people in challenging contexts across the charity sector and have worked nationally for Crisis and the Prince’s Trust, managing programmes to support young people in achieving academic and pastoral goals.

I completed my MRes at Liverpool John Moore’s University in 2015. This was an independent research project exploring the causes of those not in employment, education and training across Liverpool and strategies to support these young people back into these spheres. Interacting with students positively and breaking down barriers to learning with information, advice and guidance have been pivotal in my career to date, so the role at Shaping Futures is a perfect fit for me.

I am passionate about education for everyone.

Cherise Weaver

I am the Localities Project Officer for the City of Liverpool college. My background is in teaching, training and mentoring young people.

I completed my MA (Practice as Research) at Edge Hill University in 2013, where I also completed my PCET (Post Compulsory Education and training) in 2010 and went on to teach at Oakmere Community College. Working as a youth worker for many years also gave me an insight into what young people need to encourage and inspire them. Understanding young peoples needs and helping them overcome barriers has always been part of the work I deliver.

As part of the Shaping Futures team my aim is to explore HE opportunities, whilst supporting young people in having a successful transition from FE into HE.

Bethan Williams

My role at Shaping Futures is Localities Project Officer and I am based at Riverside College and Cronton Sixth Form College in Halton. This new role is an exciting opportunity for me to combine my previous experience of working in both the education and youth charity sectors.

I graduated from Harvard University in 2011, where I became increasingly involved in community programmes providing education support and enrichment to disadvantaged children. Since then, I have worked in Primary schools as a teaching assistant and a teacher, after completing my PGCE in 2015. I have also worked in a variety roles for The Challenge, a national youth charity which delivers National Citizen Service to 15-18 year-olds. Seeing the young people transform and achieve through the programme has inspired me year after year and I am delighted to be able to continue working with young people at Shaping Futures.

I am passionate about providing the best education information and opportunities for young people. Working with the Shaping Futures team, I aim to raise aspirations through guidance and support and help students achieve their future goals through higher education.