Meet Our Assessors

Dawn Miller content A photo of Apprenitceship Assessor Dawn Miller

Dawn Miller

Apprenticeship Manager, SVQ/MA Assessor – Business & Administration SCQF Level 5, 6, Customer Service Level SCQF Level 5 and 6

Dawn is the Apprenticeship Manager at UHI Argyll, as well as managing the apprenticeship contract and assessors she also assesses and verifies Business and Administration, and Customer Service SVQs and is the assessor for the assessor and verifier awards.

She has been qualified as an assessor/verifier for 25 years and during this time completed her own vocational qualifications in Business and Administration and Learning and Development.

Employment with Telford College of Arts and Technology for 7 years saw Dawn assess within three large hospital trusts and two prisons in the West Midlands not to mention both Stoke City and MK Dons Football Clubs. During this time Dawn supported over 200 candidates to complete their work-based qualifications.

Dawn said, “during my career I have been fortunate to be given the opportunity to study whilst in the workplace and wanted to use this knowledge and expertise to support others to do the same”. She knows the commitment candidates studying the workplace must show to complete their qualifications and feels a great sense of personal achievement when she gives the candidate their certificate knowing she has been a part of their learning journey.

Whether it is through a Modern Apprenticeship or studying a SVQ Dawn believes it is extremely important individuals get the opportunity to gain an industry recognised qualification whilst in employment.

Alana-Kathryn Mathers content A photo of Apprenticeship Assessor Alana Kathryn Mathers

Alana-Kathryn Mathers

Modern Apprenticeship Support Officer, SVQ/MA Assessor – Business & Administration SCQF Level 5, 6, Customer Service Level SCQF Level 5 and 6

Alana joined UHI Argyll in 2022 and has two roles – Business & Administration and Customer Service Assessor and Modern Apprenticeship Support Officer.

Alana studied Broadcast Production at university and following work experience at both STV and the BBC discovered a passion for the behind-the-scenes roles within the creative and cultural industries. Alana honed her administrative skills, taking opportunities to learn about and experience customer service and skills for business. Coupled with her background in broadcasting, this took Alana to New York where she interned as a Social Media Assistant.

On returning to Scotland, Alana undertook a graduate job focusing on Sales and Marketing in a creative social enterprise, where she progressed her career for over a decade in numerous roles before becoming the Company Development and Operations Manager.

Combining the skills and experiences gained over the years, Alana thoroughly enjoys her role as an assessor and finds one of the best parts is being a part of someone’s journey, helping them gain a strong foundation in necessary skills.

With a background in business operations, project management and customer relations, Alana incorporates these skills in her role as Modern Apprenticeship Support Officer, helping to build the MA provision across the region. Alana visits all UHI Argyll’s apprentices conducting Progress Reviews. Alana enjoys travelling across Argyll, Bute, and Arran, to meet the apprentices and employers in person, learning more about the diverse and valuable job roles our apprenticeships cover.

Andrew Garven content A photo of Apprenitceship Assessor Andrew Garven

Andrew Garven

Lecturer and SVQ/MA Assessor – Horticulture SCQF Level 5 and Parks, Gardens and Green Space Level 5 and 6

Following a gardening apprenticeship in Ayrshire and a period of study at the West of Scotland Agricultural College at Auchincruive near Ayr Andrew has worked in a variety of different sectors in the horticultural industry. These include bedding plant and mushroom production, grounds maintenance and soft landscaping, training, horticultural retail at both store and regional levels, and land management. Having planned to teach at a later career stage Andrew was delighted to get the chance to join UHI Argyll as a Horticultural Lecturer and from there the opportunity arose to join the assessing team working with gardening apprentices.

Part of his enthusiasm to join the assessing team was an interest to see how the apprentice system has developed over the years. Andrew believes assessing is a very rewarding role and enjoys the opportunity to help and support apprentices as grow and develop their skills and go on to complete their apprenticeships.

Murray Stark content A photo of Apprenitceship Assessor Murray Stark

Murray Stark

SVQ/MA Assessor and Internal Verifier in Aquaculture at SCQF Levels 5, 7 and 9

Murray started working in the Salmon Farming industry in 1980 firstly at the Strome site in Lochcarron, he then went on to work with the Wester Ross Salmon Company where he was involved in all aspects of the salmon industry before eventually moving into Aquaculture Training for Inverness College UHI at the Seafield Centre in 1991.

Murray has been assessing and developing aquaculture qualifications such as the SVQs and Modern Apprenticeship for over 30 years. Murray now works for both UHI Argyll College and UHI North West and Hebrides College. He is passionate about all aspects of the Aquaculture industry, wild fisheries, and the environment. Murray said, “he feels privileged that he has been part of such an important economic and community-minded industry for Scotland and particularly the West Highlands and Islands”.

In his spare time, Murray looks after a croft with a flock of breeding sheep, an apiary with a dozen hives, and chickens, a polytunnel and a garden where he grows fruit and vegetables. Murray enjoys exploring Scotland’s wildlife and scenery particularly its mountains and wild places.

John Horne content A photo of Apprenitceship Assessor John Horne

John Horne

SVQ/MA Assessor and Internal Verifier – Hospitality Services SCQF Level 5, Practical Cookery SCQF Level 6 & 7, Hospitality Supervision and Leadership SQF Level 7

John is an Assessor and Commercial Trainer for Hospitality and Catering within UHI Argyll.

He began work within the hospitality industry over 25 years ago, and his adventures have seen him work in several fields within the trade. John initially studied an HND in Hospitality Management and later went on to achieve both the Assessor and Verifier Awards before also completing his Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) with Aberdeen University.

Whilst studying John worked for a large hotel chain in Glasgow. This involved the organisation of many events and special occasions including hospitality at some of Scotland’s biggest sporting events; giving John a real taste for how ‘pop-up’ events work.

John progressed into bar and hotel management for a number of years before setting out with his business partner to operate a variety of sites including cafes, restaurants and outside catering. His journey took him back into hotel management and consultancy for 5 years before returning to UHI in early 2023.

John is a strong believer in achieving qualifications while in the workplace. It allows individuals to gain recognition for the practical skills and knowledge they gain within the industry. Leading to hospitality becoming a viable and worthwhile career.

Lee Hastie content A photo of Apprenitceship Assessor Lee Hastie

Lee Hastie

SVQ/MA Assessor and Internal Verifier in Aquaculture at SCQF Levels 5, 7 and 9

Lee is an Aquatic Biologist, with 20+ years’ experience in Aquaculture and Fisheries. He has, in his own words, “been fortunate to have worked in the Academic, Government and Private sectors”.

Lee’s first job was a technician position at a Giant Clam hatchery in Palau, Western Pacific (warm water and coral reefs). His work with salmonids came through conservation projects, and he gained experience, mainly in Fish Health and Research and Development. Lee sort of stumbled into the SVQ world – he was employed as a Senior Aquatic Biologist by an engineering consultancy but then Covid hit and following furlough he was made redundant. This led to a job search and applying for work as an SVQ Assessor – back to Academia! Lee was unsure how this would develop, but he has never looked back.

Lee loves the SVQ work, and how it empowers employees (many with no academic background) to achieve industry-recognised CPD. The aquaculture sector is an intensive environment, and the hurdles to study can be considerable. He sees his role as an Assessor to fully support the candidates as they work hard through their units and finally achieve their Award. It's a satisfying experience and says he has great colleagues. Could do with less paperwork though!

Samantha MacLennan content A photo of Apprenitceship Assessor Samantha MacLennan

Samantha MacLennan

SVQ/MA Assessor and Internal Verifier in Hairdressing at SCQF Levels 5, and 6

Sam has worked for UHI Argyll for 9 years and is based in our Oban centre. She assesses the hairdressing Modern Apprentices and SVQS.

In addition to her assessing work, Sam also runs a hair and beauty salon in Oban with her business partner, whom she has worked with for 17 years, their salon has been open for four. Sam employs three members of staff, two of whom are currently undertaking their hairdressing apprenticeship.

Sam uses her years of experience to support all her candidates and finds the assessing role very rewarding. Sam said, “watching candidates grow in confidence as they progress through their qualification is lovely to see”.

Out of work, Sam’s proudest achievements are her children, I have two boys, they are 18 and 10. Sam loves spending time with them and her family. Sam also enjoys going to the gym a few times a week and she loves food, so tries to cook nice meals when possible.

Jacqui Hainey content A photo of Apprenitceship Assessor Jacqui Hainey

Jacqui Hainey

SVQ/MA Assessor and Internal Verifier in Social Services and Healthcare at SCQF Levels 6 and 7

Jacqui has been an SVQ Assessor for 7 years and an Internal Verifier for 2 years. Prior to becoming an SVQ Assessor, she worked in the care sector for 27 years. Jackie has experience in working within various health and social care settings which include day services, supported living environments, long-stay hospitals, Social Work and NHS Care at Home services. Jacqui became an SVQ Assessor because of the joy she gets from supporting others to achieve their goals. Jacqui is passionate about ensuring vulnerable people in our communities receive the best possible care/services from individuals who are qualified, knowledgeable & skilled to do so, her role as an assessor allows her to contribute to this. Another reason Jacqui enjoys the role is that no two days are the same and she gains a great sense of achievement when she sees students gain in confidence & develop as they work through their award.

On a personal note, Jacqui enjoys hill walking, exploring other countries through travel, cooking, listening to music & spending quality time with family & friends.

Silvia Jost content A photo of Apprenitceship Assessor Silvia Jost

Silvia Jost

SVQ/MA Assessor and Internal Verifier in Social Services and Healthcare at SCQF Levels 6, 7 and 9

Before joining UHI Argyll Silvia worked for many years in health and social care. This was in the role of carer, support worker, team leader and manager. During this time Silvia completed the SVQ3, SVQ4 and the Leadership and Management Certificate.

2018 saw Silvia start work with UHI Argyll as an SVQ assessor and verifier. Silvia said, “She thoroughly enjoys her role. It is a great experience to accompany students on their SVQ journey and support them to evidence all the great work they do daily”. Silvia knows through her own SVQ experience undertaking a vocational qualification is a fantastic opportunity for candidates to shine, demonstrate all the good practices and show knowledge & understanding. She believes it is a privilege to accompany the candidate on their journey and to support each of them to reflect on it and to grow through it. Silvia particularly enjoys seeing the pride that candidates have when completing the course and she is delighted for every single one of them. The best part is the celebration of their success through to the college graduation at the end; all the study time and all the contributions summarised in a big cheerful smile.