Nicola Yould

Hi, I’m Nikki a Director of Excel Training LTD with an active role as a Tutor / Assessor for a range of apprenticeship programmes in Health and Social Care Level 2-5. I also work as an Internal Quality Assessor across Health and Social Care and Business Skills programmes, to ensure the service we deliver is of the highest standard. I am a qualified registered Nurse, who has been in the profession for over 33 years. I have upheld roles as a staff Nurse, Manager of Nursing care facilities and Manger of Health and Social Care training. I have worker predominantly over the Yorkshire and Humberside as Nurse and spent a year working in Australia, as a Registered Nurse. I have worked in vocational training for over 20 years, where I have been able to maintain my competence, experience and personal development in both teaching and nursing combined. I have always had a passion for improving Health and Social care standards, which I am able to continue through my various roles and opportunities at Excel Training.

Damien Anderson

After studying my A Levels at Parson Cross College I went on to work for Dimensions Training Solutions as an Assistant Accountant where I gained AAT status and became an Accounting Technician. I also gained nationally recognised  work based learning qualifications in Business and Administration and Customer Service and became the Contracts and Audit Manager before leaving the company for new ventures after 14 years of service. I went on to work for Independent Training Services as a Contract and Performance Manager, monitoring performance by the company against government funded training programme contracts. I gained qualifications in Management at Levels 4 and 5 whilst in the role. In 2012 I formed Excel Training Ltd with 2 of my previous work colleagues Nicola Yould and Jackie Farrar and have since gone on to achieve my teaching and assessing qualifications and currently deliver work based learning programmes to a small number of learners whilst maintaining the financial side of the company and the general day to day running of the organisation with my Co-Directors Nicola and Jackie.

Jackie Farrar

I am one of the company directors at Excel Training. My job role includes teaching, assessing and Lead IQA in the health and social care sector.

My career started working in a residential care home setting as a care assistant. I quickly realised this would be my vocation and was eager to develop my skills and knowledge. I achieved levels 2, 3 and 4 in health and social care leading to a position as a deputy care manager/in house trainer.

The training side of my job role gave me more job satisfaction as I felt I was helping to raise the standard of care being given. When the opportunity arose to work for a large local training teaching qualification CERT ED through Huddersfield university. The past 16 years I have been teaching in the care sector, I am passionate about the level of care being given and feel I can help raise standards within my role as a teacher/assessor.

Darryl Hand

I’m Darryl, an Health and Social Care and Functional Skills Assessor and Tutor. I’m also Excel Training’s Quality Improvement Co-ordinator. I started work in the Care sector at such a young age, I’ve my Nan to thank for that. Beginning my working life as a Care Assistant, Senior Carer and then the Manager of a Residential Care home, I’ve over 15 years’ experience in the Health and Social Care sector. I’ve won both local and national awards for my contribution to the sector and the ongoing training and development of staff. I have a strong desire to change people’s concept of the work frontline care staff do and this job allows me to do just that.

Linda Birkett

I am an Assessor/Trainer delivering Early Years Education and Health and Social Care work based qualifications.

After working voluntary in a small Pre-School I was spurred on to return to education where I started my journey, completing my Level 3 Diploma in Pre-School Practice at Barnsley College. I spent several years working in the Early Years Sector supporting the learning and development of babies and young children. Working at Northern College Children’s Centre provided me with the opportunity to work alongside children and families from many different social, cultural and diverse backgrounds, many who were seeking refuge in this country. The experience gained during this period developed my understanding, knowledge and skills, enabling me to support children and families that were seeking to improve their lives. I took the opportunity to gain qualifications in Assessment D32/33 and developed my role assessing Early Years qualifications at the college. At this point I decided to concentrate on my teaching career taking up posts within the Private Training Sector. I have acquired several qualifications including; Internal Verification and Level 4 Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector. My passion is to continue working with a wide range of learners, where I can encourage and support them to achieve work based qualifications.

Lesley Firth

I am an qualified hairdressing tutor with a total of 35 years industrial hairdressing experience. I have worked in salons and as a self-employed hairdresser.

I started teaching in 2006 and since then I have worked  delivering and
co-ordinating training for schools and colleges as well as the private training sector delivering apprenticeship programmes and a range of hairdressing, customer service and team leading qualifications, including VRQ’s and NVQ’s from Level 1-3.

I still work in the industry part time as a self-employed hairdresser to ensure I keeps up to date with my practical skills.

Tracey Dockerty

After leaving school I began an apprenticeship and completed my City and Guilds. After qualifying as a hairdresser, I became a salon manager and eventually ran my own hair salon for a number of years. I completed my Assessor Award, Internal Verifier Award and my PGCE and began teaching a Leeds City College. I have during the last 20 years delivered many hairdressing qualifications through several training providers.

Emma McDonald

I’m Emma, a Care Tutor/Assessor for Excel Training.
I started work in the Care sector after leaving school at the age of 16. I grew in confidence and flourished in care, working my way up the ranks whilst gaining qualifications to support my progression. My role started out as a Care Assistant moving quickly to Senior Carer, Deputy Manager and finally Care Home Manager. I have over 13 years work experience within Health and Social Care and have a passion for the sector as a whole! I love to care and strive to see the impact well trained and developed staff can have on the care environment who support our most vulnerable.
I took the leap to progress and up skill completing my TAQA with Excel Training in 2020 to be able to deliver work based qualifications within care. I am also completing my Certificate in Education at Northern College and hope to continue to embed good practise within our care settings.


I am currently employed by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS foundation Trust as an Associate Practice Governance Coach within Older Peoples Community Mental Health Team at Kirklees. I have sixteen plus years’ post registration experience as a registered mental health nurse.

As part of my development in 2018 I successfully obtained my independent/supplementary Non-Medical prescribing qualification (NMP) and have recently practiced as a NMP in Barnsley Memory services. My Current role does not require my skills as an NMP however I endeavour to keep myself up to date by receiving trust emails from the NMP lead and involving myself in prescribing decisions made with in the MDT. I also feel able to use my NMP skills to coach staff on medication and its use in mental health whilst maintaining non-pharmacological approaches where appropriate in line with current NICE guidelines, local and national policies and procedures.

I have recently successfully completed the introduction to leading and management programme which is delivered by the Trust and endorsed by the NHS leadership Academy. This course includes various workshops such as coaching conversations and the Edward Jena programme to further enhance my leadership skills and knowledge. Previously I have completed Leading an Empowered Organisation Programme (LEO), Clinical Audit, Mentor prep, Recruitment and Selection training, Clinical Supervisor training.

Within my role I regularly engage in providing supervision, mentorship and preceptorship which involves coaching, guiding, directing, motivating and influencing practice and the development of self and others. I currently undertake appraisals of staff focusing on their development needs both personally and professionally which are in line with the service and organisational goals. I am also a sign off mentor.

When I was ward sister, I was involved in the development of New Ways of Working and guiding staff through the implementation of these. For example, we developed how the ward round was conducted to ensure efficiency and improve patient experience. This change encountered resistance from staff which was overcome by engaging and involving them in the process to promote staff ownership which enabled staff to feel empowered and improved motivation.

The Productive Mental Health Ward was a project that I led on as a secondment which involved various changes to look at how service provision could be developed and streamlined to minimise waste and become more lean and efficient, with an end goal of improving both patient and staff experience. Each month I was required to compile and present a written progress report to the Strategic Health Authority.

More recently I have been part of the MSNAP accreditation process and focus group. This entailed me working both independently and as part of a team to evidence the required standards to achieve accreditation. I have also volunteered to be part of a working group to aim towards a paper lite service. I am a System One super user. I attend the system one optimisation meetings and cascade system one information to the team.

As a practitioner and in line with the Trusts strategic objectives and clinical governance I am keen to ensure that service users and their families/carers are at the centre of my practice. I am aware within the Trust; continuous improvement is a key aspect not only for service users but also for staff. I ensure my practice is evidence based by utilising Nice guidelines, the media, research and reflection to inform not only my practice and that of others in the team. I enjoy working with others as part of a team to share my knowledge, skills and enthusiasm in service development. In doing this I feel able to understand the needs of individuals recognising their strengths, skills and any areas of diversity. When I worked for Barnsley Memory Service they were in negotiation with regards to a further possible transformation in line with Care Closer To Home. As well as information disseminated by management, I proactively keep abreast with progress by accessing information on the intranet and attending staff engagement meetings. I then share any information I gain with the team in attempt to keep them fully informed and prevent speculation.