Andy obtained a B.A. Honours degree in Humanities from the then Wolverhampton Polytecnic in 1978. Later that year he gained employment as a Social Worker with Sandwell Council, where he worked for two years. During this time he managed a workload of clients requiring long term intervention. He gained particular credit for his work on supporting clients with household and budget management, and was inspired towards future work activities through his work with clients with disablities.
At the beginning of 1981 Andy took up a newly created post as Community Worker in the Heath Town Estate in Wolverhampton – an area of high social deprivation. He provided welfare benefits advice, co-ordinated community involvement and consultation into much needed community regeneration and inclusion activities, and supported local celebrations for the 1981 Royal Wedding.
He developed an interest in governance whilst working to ensure that local residents were enabled and empowered to be actively involved in the decision making and management of community facilities and services.
After a year at Heath Town Andy was successful in obtaining the role of Senior Supervisor & Training Officer with a newly founded temporary employment programme, supplying work placements to community and voluntary organisations across Wolverhampton, co-ordinating the management of placements, assessing new placement applications and ensuring the training needs of participants were met. Within 3 years he took on the role of Assistant Manager, and 3 years further on took on the management of the organisation.
In 1990 Andy moved to Birmingham City Council as a Community Project Officer (subsequently as a Community Economic Development Officer). This involved management of the council’s funding relatioship with voluntary organisations around the employment creation agenda. Key successes of Andy’s time at the City were:
- successfully applying for funding and managing the city-wide Management & Staff Development Programme For Voluntary Organisations over a seven year period, and
- leading the city’s role in developing two new social enterprises – one in home care and one in the field of accessible equipment for disabled people wishing to enter further and higher education.
He also took on strategic responsibilty for disability issues within the Community Projects Team, became a mentor for new city employees with disabilities, and was the founding chair of the departmental Disabled Workers Group.
Andy moved on from Birmingham City Council to work in third sector funding advice and personal development and training for new communities, before arriving at iSE in 2003 as Social Firms Development Manager, supporting people with disabilities wishing to consider social enterprise as a business and employment opportunity. This role developed into the post of Businesss Development Manager, as iSE developed a service offer aimed at all individuals, groups, charities and voluntary organisations wishing to explore social enterprise as a viable business opportunity. He continued in this role until leaving iSE in May 2011 to develop his current consultanty work on a freelance basis, maintaining a relationship with iSE by becoming an associate with the company.
Andy is married with two grown up daughters and three grandchildren.
When not engaged in work activities, Andy enjoys spending time with his family, watching cricket and football – being an avid Wolves fan. He is also the Vice-Chair of Birmingham Disability Resource Centre and for the past 34 years has maintained an active role in promoting traditional beer and pubs. He was a director of the national consumer group CAMRA for 8 years, including a year as Vice-Chair, as well as chairing many of the campaign’s national committees and his local branch. Andy has facilitated a number of Strategic Planning Weekends for the organisation.