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Joshua Cole (Chief Executive)

Joshua Cole is an inspirational, visionary leader with an unique blend of entrepreneurial skills and business acumen. He has spent most of his adult life in the educational and social care sectors, has a First-Class Honours Degree from Sheffield Hallam University, and is a Registered Social Worker.

Joshua directly employs more than 25 staff across his various enterprises, and is skilled at managing and controlling multidisciplinary teams. Some of the staff operate remotely from Ireland, Spain, India, Serbia, Pakistan and the USA.

Joshua is a fully qualified Psychotherapist and Counsellor, and still practices in the Mental Health Sector. A Master Practitioner in eating disorders, he is also certificated in the treatment and diagnosis of Dissociative Disorders.

An inveterate self improver, Joshua is committed to excellence in all his ventures, and actively promotes change within the mental health profession. He is also passionate about, and has been instrumental in, contributing to the further education of fellow professionals. Joshua is a qualified Assessor, IQA and EQA.

Never content to stand still, ,Joshua has recently become a Qualified Paralegal (University of Western England), and has also achieved a BTEC Level 7 (Masters level) Advanced Professional Certificate in Investigative Practice with Bond Solon in London.

This, and the other advanced professional qualifications he is presently studying for, will ensure that Focus Awards and his other business interests continue to operate with absolute transparency, remain compliant with all applicable legislation, and consistently demonstrate best commercial practice.

Stephen Thompson (Head of Business Development)

Stephen Thompson has a diverse background as a Management Specialist, Marketing Copywriter, Business Turnaround Expert and Sales Trainer. He has more than 30 years’ broad and deep experience of operating at a senior level in a variety of commercial sectors, including Direct Sales, Recruitment and Training, Accounting and Finance, Personnel and Human Resources (HR), and many more!

Steve is also a career consultant and has been writing highly successful CVs and creating personal marketing tools for professionals for over 16 years. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (FIRP). A retired British Army Warrant Officer First Class (WO1), Steve also specialises and writes CVs personally for Armed Forces personnel. His final appointment in the British Army was as Regimental Bandmaster; he is an accomplished musician, classically trained conductor and teacher, and graduated from the world-famous Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall in 1985.

Previously Group Finance Director and Head of Personnel for a well-known global textile manufacturing group, he recruited, interviewed and hired at all levels, from the Boardroom to the factory floor. He subsequently managed the opposite end of the ‘curve’, implementing fair dismissals and redundancy policies. Having been engaged by two of the former “Big Six” accountancy firms to assist in winding up several manufacturing companies, Steve also has in-depth knowledge of Business Turnaround and Corporate Insolvency.

Tom Benson (Head of Qualification Development)

Tom Benson is an experienced and enthusiastic qualification development manager. He has extensive knowledge of all aspects of qualification development, including associated regulatory and sector requirements.

As a Project Manager for City & Guilds, Tom has over 12 years expertise in the vocational education sector, and has launched and maintained a wide range of nationally accredited qualifications. He successfully managed the implementation of all the City & Guilds ‘Licence to Practice’ qualifications, as well as qualifications within the Parking Enforcement sector, Retail and Cleaning, and Conflict Management sectors.

Over his outstanding career Tom has built strong relationships in the education sector, and within government bodies such the Ministry of Justice, and the SIA – the security sector regulator and licensing authority. He has also worked extensively with employer-led Sector Skills Councils including Skills for Security, Skills for Justice, Skillsmart, CFA and e-skills UK

Janet Palmer (Subject Matter Expert – primarily the beauty sector)

Janet holds an ITEC qualification in Beauty Therapy and ITEC Holistic Massage, Anatomy & Physiology as well as a City & Guilds NVQ in Beauty Therapy.

She has significant expertise in the beauty industry, and is an accomplished beauty therapist with extensive experience in spa’s and salons. She also holds a number of teaching and training qualifications, including Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS), the Diploma to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS), and a Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (TAQA).

With more than 18 months experience of teaching and training professional beauticians within the spa industry, Janet has established herself with a number of training providers in the sector. She is a qualified Assessor.