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Governance Board

Debbie Gardiner

Debbie Gardiner MBE

TESS Group Governance Board

Debbie is incredibly proud and humbled to have been included on Her Majesty the Queen’s 2018 New Year Honours list; recognised with an MBE for Services to Apprenticeships and Charity.  Additionally, she won the East of England IoD Non-Executive Director (NED) of the Year Award 2018 for her work on the AELP Board. 

Debbie started her career in T&D at Sainsbury’s in 1990, moving to Qube Learning in 2000 where she held several operational/quality management roles. Debbie was appointed Managing Director in 2006, promoted to CEO in 2010 where she led the company through significant growth and change, retaining an Ofsted GOOD grade 2, Matrix and achieving consistently very high FE Choices employer and learner satisfaction levels. In 2017 she became Executive Chair, before leaving in June 2018 to launch DSG L&M Consultancy Services. Through DSG Debbie continues to provide a range of leadership, governance, oversight, management, and consultancy services, focussing on Apprenticeships and FE/Skills. Debbie has a genuine passion for people development and seeing people reach their full potential. 

Debbie is a NED for four Independent Training Providers (ITP), holding the Chairperson position with two of them and has been on the board of AELP since 2013 where she sits on three board groups; Finance, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and Quality & Ofsted, as well as representing AELP as a UCAS Council member.  Additionally, Debbie is a Governance Advisor for three ITPs and one End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), including holding the Chair role for an Advisory Board. Debbie sets high standards and prides herself on being an independent critical business friend. 

In her spare time Debbie has the role of Cancer Research UK Campaigns Ambassador for South West Bedfordshire and is a Governor for the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Central Bedfordshire), including membership of the Patient Experience Council and Membership & Communication Committee. She also values spending time with her family, friends and the latest addition to her family, puppy Bella.

David Lockhart-Hawkins

David Lockhart-Hawkins

TESS Group Governance Board

David has over 22 years experience in post 16 education and specialises in policy, financial assurance and strategic implementation. As well as running his own consultancy firm he is a Strategic Associate of the Strategic Development Network, between these roles advising some of the leading stakeholders in the sector as a consultant.

He has played a significant role in assisting the growth and prosperity of clients through designing and delivering effective and efficient evidence systems, monitoring programmes and insightful strategic development services including structural design, end to end process review, ESFA audit preparation, Apprenticeship standards transition and new provider support.

He has led several substantial Apprenticeship reform projects in recent years. As Managing Director of Lockhart his portfolio includes some of England’s best known and high performing Universities, Colleges, Providers and Employer Providers.

Within these projects he has developed practical tools for Provider and employer use in programmes and delivered national workshops and webinars on core apprenticeship subjects as well as providing guidance and services to several of the leading MI software suppliers in the education sector.

Lisa OReilly

Lisa O'Reilly

TESS Group Governance Board

Lisa has been with The Tess Group since 2012, with nearly a decades experience of learning and development solutions in the funded arena.  

Lisa is the Commercial Director for the business and also sits on the governance board in order to ensure effective leadership and management strategies are implemented across the company. 

She has a large amount of experience in dealing with bluechip companies supporting their business needs, and excels in all aspects of recruiting people for Leadership, Sales and Management. Lisa lead with passion, intelligence, energy and the ability to motivate and get the best out of others. She also loves running half marathons, with both her and Rod raising over £1000 for charity in 2021. 

Rod doyle

Rod Doyle

TESS Group Governance Board

Rod Doyle is the Managing Director of The Tess Group. Rod is a modern leader who believes in creating winning ways and habits through a mixture of theory and common practices. Rod Doyle and the Senior Leadership Team have built a business with a 21st Century spin on branding by creating a ‘community of businesses’ that all interact and interconnect to the betterment of each.

Rod sits on the governance board to support the strategic intent for the future and beyond in innovative ways and more. 

Emma Kelleher

Emma Kelleher


Emma is our fully qualified Mental Health First aider and can be contacted on the following details:

07903 767123

[email protected] 

For 24 hour advice and support, please see the following NHS link: 


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