Meet The Team
PlaceNet is run by a group of dedicated members thriving to ensure the placement industry and professionals are well represented within their area of expertise.
Chair: Sarah Sheikh
Sarah started her HE career at the University of Greenwich, Business School, where she was Employability Manager for 6 years. Sarah joined Barclays Investment Bank and worked in the Campus Recruitment Team recruiting graduates and interns for Markets, Trading & Structuring, Research and Quantitative Analytics teams. She finally rejoined HE in October 2017 as Placements Manager for the London College of Communication at the University of the Arts London.
Sarah grew up in Belgium and is half Danish, quarter English and quarter Pakistani. When she is not at work, Sarah enjoys trying out new restaurants (ramen being a particular favourite) and travelling within and outside of the UK as much as possible. She has been a member of PlaceNet since 2011 and is currently chair of the charity.
Secretary: Darren Spillett
Darren is our Secretary and he comes from a Heritage Management background having completing a Masters at the University of Wales, Bangor. He then moved to York to pursue his passion for all things heritage and ended up working in the wonderful world of placements, after a sojourn working on the employer side of placements with the York Archaeological Trust. Darren’s work managing placement administration within the Department of Biology at the University of York has brought him into contact with a wide range of people from across the globe and has worked tirelessly to improve the employability of York students for the last ten years.
Vice Chair: Rachael Collins
Rachael is Head of Placements at University of Liverpool and a slave to her children. A Career Adviser who moved to the dark-side of employability (ie, placements) Rachael leads a team that provides support to students when looking for year long placements and shorter internships either as part of their academic course or stand alone.
Treasurer: Virginia Goodwill
When she's not surfing or travelling, Virginia works as an Industrial Placements Officer at University of Brighton. As well as the treasurer for Placenet Virginia is Vice Chair at Brighton Surf Life Saving Club.
Branding & Marketing: Alex Elkins
Alex is Head of Entrepreneurship at City, University of London and has a wealth of experience across employability and enterprise education from his time at the University of Hertfordshire, LSE and through his various roles at City. Alex has previously headed up placement units and led teams to deliver new and innovative work based learning programmes. Alex also enjoys a decent coffee and a good chat about startups...and star wars.
Website and Social Media: Simeon Smith
Simeon is a digital creative with an analogue heart. When he's not working as an Employability Specialist at Swansea University he does freelance work for Lomography, The Presence App, Raw Edge @ London Fashion Week, Awen Cultural Trust and Amateur Photography Magazine.
Masterclass Lead: Ciarán McMullan
Ciarán is Employability and Placements Manager (EC Futures) at Coventry University and an avid promoter of Gaelic Games in the West Midlands. He regularly plays both Hurling and Gaelic football, competing in the Warwickshire Championship.
Trustee: Jess Rexworthy
Jessica began her career in education at a training provider working with pupils at risk of becoming NEET. Ten years later she has developed a wealth of experience related to employability and skills, and currently looks after Strategic Partnerships at City Year UK; a youth social action charity. Jessica has always championed the value of high quality placements to benefit students, employers and learning providers, and has worked in a variety of communications and external affairs roles to ensure this happens at a policy level and on the ground. Away from education, Jessica enjoys running, cycling, and the odd outdoor swim.
Trustee: Tom Christodoulou
Tom is the Membership Development Manager for the Institute of Student Employers. In a previous life, he worked as a graduate and placement recruiter and worked with Universities across the South-East of England.
Tom loves gadgets, Finn his French bulldog (unofficial mascot of PlaceNet) and is a self-proclaimed foodie.
Trustee: Ed Nicholls
Ed Started off his career on a Graduate Scheme for Lloyds bank, working in the Financial Services industry for a number of years before moving into recruitment. It was from his time in recruitment that Ed realised his passion for developing and consulting others on their career. After fulfilling his ambition of visiting Machu Pichu and travelling South America, Ed made the career transition into the HE sector.
Ed is the Employer Engagement Manager for the University of Surrey, his other passions include travelling and Shrewsbury Town FC.
Trustee: David Bond
David has worked with young people for 20 years most recently as an Employability Manager at Birmingham City University supporting computing, engineering and built environment students to get into placements, micro-placements and graduate roles. Having lived in Japan, Ukraine and Thailand he has a passion for internationalising students and manages a travel scholarship programme. His own travel plans have been sadly curtailed by two small children, so he spends his time picking up lego and removing stones from children’s pockets.