Our team

The Training Exchange is an independent training and consultancy company with trainers who are all experts in their fields.

Our structure as a micro organisation with associate trainers enables us to work flexibly to meet the demands of any project.

Jo Bush, Training Exchange Director, co-ordinates all training with support of our administration team. Qualified as a youth worker and trainer, Jo has a wealth of experience in the development, management and delivery of training. Jo manages the organisation as well as developing and co-ordinating training and consultancy, ranging from small community based initiatives to large scale regional and national programmes. Jo has been involved in delivering training for trainers and drug & alcohol awareness and interventions training at professional and community levels for 25 years.

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Phil Harris has worked with complex needs for over 28 years as a practitioner, trainer and manager. He has extensive experience across the field having worked in frontline drug and alcohol services, street homeless day centres and mental health services. He has managed a wide range of teams including family services, young people, dual diagnosis & personality disorders and substance misuse. He is a visiting lecturer at Bristol University Social Policy Unit. He has written over 20 scholarly articles on effective practice and has published five books on substance misuse, treatment effectiveness, family and young people with complex needs.

He has designed county-wide and residential treatment programmes for adults & young people, and his book on young people has been described as “unrivalled” in its scope of understanding and addressing complex needs.

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Susan is an experienced and creative trainer, group facilitator, practicing Dramatherapist and Social Worker; qualified in further & adult education, social work, youth & community work and Dramatherapy. Susan has over 25 years’ experience of delivering training and supporting team and service development in a variety of sectors. Susan works from a community development perspective specialising in developing communication skills and confidence, using inclusive and creative methods to maximise participants’ learning and enjoyment.

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Suzanne Pearson is a Registered Mental Health Nurse and Accredited CBT therapist. She has extensive experience of supporting individuals to recover from mental and emotional distress working in the NHS and voluntary sector as a practitioner and service manager. She is an independent mental health and social care trainer, qualified in adult training. Suzanne is nationally qualified as a Mental Health First Aid (Adult, Youth and Higher Education) and as an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) instructor.

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Sal has over 20 years’ experience working in the fields of mental health, wellbeing, trauma and personality disorder. She has worked extensively developing and running support groups within the community, delivering safe and effective courses to a wide range of clients. As a manager of both local and national helplines providing mental health and self-injury support, she has built an expertise in training and developing good practice for volunteers, frontline staff and specialist mental health professionals in supporting individuals in distress, both on the phone and in person. Her approach aids participants to explore complex issues safely, and to reflect on the impact of work on their own well-being.

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Susan brings 30 years of varied experience in ‘people work’ to her training delivery with the company. She has been in many paid and unpaid roles in community and youth work, voluntary sector development and management. Her approach to supervision is grounded in values that recognise the personal story and collective endeavour, whilst also paying attention to organisational change and the wider context in which we work. She is committed to reflective practice, and in all roles Susan works from the heart to make a positive contribution. She has lived and worked in Bristol, Wiltshire, Kenya, Ghana and Cornwall.

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Chris has been involved in teaching resilience skills for over thirty years. After a first degree specialising in psychology, he graduated in medicine, trained as a GP and then worked in the mental health field, where for many years he ran a psycho-educational group-based programme teaching resilience skills. Influenced much by Positive Psychology, he trained with Martin Seligman in 2005 and started teaching Positive Psychology at Bristol University. Since then he has pioneered the role of resilience training in mental health promotion, the health service and the workplace. His video-based online course Personal Resilience in an Hour has participants from more than 55 different countries, his new book Seven Ways to Build Resilience was published in April 2019.

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After gaining a degree in psychology, Rowan worked in drug and alcohol services for 18 years as a practitioner and manager in both young people and adult services. She has continued to develop as a manager & leader in a number of roles including Deputy Regional Alcohol Manager for the South West, Development Manager for The Training Exchange, CEO of Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS).

Rowan is currently Head of Funding across the South West region for the National Lottery Community Fund. She is leading the England team response to the women and girls sector, working alongside colleagues and specialist women’s services to embed learning, collaborate with other funders and increase impact as a responsive funder. She is a qualified coach and has completed the leadership and facilitation course with Schumacher College “Co-creating the emerging future”.

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Clare’s background is in homelessness, housing advice and working with young people. Since 2002 she has been delivering training in to housing, homelessness and care providers to raise awareness of legal, professional and ethical issues relating to processes and culture in organisations. Her courses are practical using real and relevant examples and attempt to cut through the sometimes complex and confusing legal frameworks and jargon that can beset effective work.

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Justin has worked in drug services for 25 years as a practitioner and service manager. He has extensive experience of delivering training including Drug & alcohol awareness, Psychosocial interventions, Harm reduction, Safer injecting and Working with steroid users. He has a background in work with children and young people.

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Sarah has over fifteen years’ experience working in frontline services. In the last five years these have been based within healthcare settings. Previously Sarah worked as an IDSVA working with high-risk clients and has experience of the MARAC, criminal justice and civil law systems. She also has experience of working with people with drug and alcohol problems. Sarah has worked directly with patients who have experienced domestic abuse and has trained clinicians and health practitioners to recognise and respond to domestic abuse. She has an MSc in 'health promotion, research and policy change' and a postgraduate certificate in the 'dynamics of domestic abuse'. Sarah also has a background in domestic abuse research.

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Tony has previously worked for a local Mind association on a range of mental health projects as a counsellor, manager and trainer. In 2013 he formed his own training company and is currently a freelance trainer, developing suicide awareness and skills that help to save lives. He is a Master Trainer in Applied Suicide Interventions Skills Training (ASIST), safeTALK and suicideTALK. He is also a Mental Health First Aid (Adult & Youth, Wales) trainer.

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Ruth Hallett loves turning ideas into reality. Ruth has over 20 years of project and programme management delivery experience. She trained at KPMG and since then has worked on a vast range of IT and change projects for commercial, voluntary and public sector clients, including Virgin Atlantic, Barclays Bank, Marks and Spencer, a number of Local Authorities, The Welsh Assembly, Gwent Police, and Local and National NHS Organisations. High performing teams exist when everyone has equal time to speak, Ruth believes in using techniques which increase participation and make work more fun.

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Mandy has a degree in Dramatics Arts, a post graduate teaching certificate in Social Studies and a diploma in MSc Women’s Studies. She has over 15 years’ experience of teaching and training with disaffected young people, in Sure Start centres, in sexual health settings and for local authority Social Care; where she had special responsibility for developing and delivering training in Child Protection. She has considerable practical experience of working with children and families. Mandy’s training benefits from an extensive knowledge of Child Protection practice in a variety of different agencies and age groups.

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Justine is our Finance Worker. She has worked with The Training Exchange for over 10 years.

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Mike has extensive experience as a drug worker and trainer. As founder and chief executive officer of The Southmead Project, he developed specific services working with adult survivors of child abuse who had turned to drugs in order to suppress the emotions that follow such trauma. In 2000 he accepted an MBE for ‘services to Bristol and for the welfare of drug users’. More recently Mike has accepted an honorary doctorate from the University of Bristol for his work with adult survivors of child abuse. He continues to help pioneer and encourage further research and training into the topic.

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Amy has extensive experience as an HR & OD practitioner, including her role as HR Director for One Care Ltd. She has had numerous roles at senior manager and board level for the NHS and was responsible for designing and delivering development solutions for clients working in the health and social care sector. More recently, Amy has been delivering an 18-month leadership development programme in the NHS that links leadership and organisational change, and has led to an improving Care Quality Commission (CQC) outcome for the organisation.

For the last ten years Amy has been running her own organisational development and HR consultancy business and in 2017 cofounded Hart Ridge Consulting Ltd. Amy holds an MSc in People and Organisational Development, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a licensed FCIPD qualified professional. She is accredited to deliver MBTI tools 1&2, Clarity 4d and Belbin and is an NLP practitioner.

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Liisa our Training Programme Administrator takes responsibility for the day to day co-ordination of The Training Exchange courses. Liisa ensures the smooth running of all our training through communicating with participants, organisations and trainers and producing delegate and trainer materials. She has over 10 years of experience of working in administration in varied roles, including the V&A Museum in London, and Bristol Drugs Project.

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Jehan takes a lead on the marketing and promotion of The Training Exchange services which include, developing and managing the website, email newsletters, social media and other marketing materials. Jehan has previously worked in administrative roles for over 15 years, most recently with the Blue Badge Company as the Online Merchandising & Customer Services Manager. She also works as a professional musician and teacher of the saxophone.

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    The Training Exchange services are supported by:

    Third Sector Solutions (IT support)

    Guru Data (database design and support)

    Jon O’Hara (website design)

    Bristol Spaceworks (office and conference facilities)

      And our fantastic caterers…..

      Gopal’s Curry Shack

      Vibrant, creative, locally sourced and 100% plant-based food served from their kitchen at Easton Business Centre. Gopal’s Curry Shack 'pop up' at markets, festivals and events in and around the Bristol area and can cater for a range of occasions including weddings, parties, and corporate events.

      Porter’s Flapjacks

      Established in 1975, Porters are one of the oldest Flapjack companies in the South West. Their flapjacks are all handmade from start to finish in a family bakery based at Easton Business Centre.

        Our style & approach

        We care passionately about our work. We focus on improving outcomes for service users by building a confident and responsive workforce.

        Click here to read more about our style & approach.