Care after combat

Resilience and Employability Conference

Unlocking the Hidden Labour Force

Thank you

It was a pleasure and a privilege for Care after Combat to hold its Resilience & Employability conference on Friday 8th March at Portland College.  A wealth of expert speakers combined with a fully engaging audience of delegates made for an interesting and worthwhile day.  Whilst the focus was regional, the topics covered transfer readily across geography and sectors and the powerful presentations gave everyone plenty to take away and, hopefully, will contribute positively to our collective efforts to improve employment outcomes for our respective beneficiaries.

My sincere thanks go to The Jones 1986 Charitable Trust whose kind grant funding enabled the event to be generated, to all our excellent speakers for their individual presentations and their expert input to the panel session, and to Portland Charity for hosting the day so perfectly.  And, of course, to the many and varied delegates who attended.  My personal reflection is that the day was a resounding success and, therefore, is one that we will look to repeat in the future.

Adrian Kirk
CEO, Care After Combat

Speaker Presentations

Guest Speakers

Adrian Kirk

Adrian Kirk
CEO, Care After Combat

A Royal Navy veteran of 29 years, seeing active service in the Balkans and Gulf War II, Adrian’s career as an Aircraft Engineer in the RN saw him undertake a broad range of appointments spanning media, HR, project & programme management, aviation regulation, as well as core Front Line aircraft engineering jobs. Having had a superb naval career with opportunities he would never otherwise have had, upon leaving the RN in 2017, Adrian wanted to ‘give something back’ and became a Volunteer Mentor with Care after Combat. One thing led to another, and he became Chief Executive in January 2021.

Professor Dean Fathers DL
Trustee, Care After Combat

Dean joined the Board at Portland Charity in 2017 when he was Chair of NHS ULHT and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. He currently
holds Non-Executive Board appointments with the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (where he is Chair of the Quality Committee) and
the Academy for Health Care Science (where he is Chair of the Life Sciences Steering Group). He is also a Trustee of the Charity Care After Combat, Chair of the Midlands Engine’s Health Care and Life Science Board and Independent Chair of Quality Safety and Risk at Voyage Care. In addition, Dean holds Honorary Visiting Professor roles with the Universities of Nottingham and Lincoln.

Ben Bradley MP
Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council

Ben was born in Derby in 1989, and grew up in Ripley and Belper. Having initially attended Bath University to study Sports Science, he decided that the course
wasn’t right for him. He held a variety of roles before returning to University, where he graduated with a first class honours degree in Politics from Nottingham Trent University in 2013. Following this, he took on several roles, including as a Recruitment Consultant, before venturing into politics as a Campaign Manager for Mark Spencer, the Member of Parliament for neighbouring Sherwood prior to the 2015 General Election.
In 2015, Ben stood and was elected as a District Councillor in Hucknall, and was duly appointed as Group Leader for the Conservative Group on Ashfield District
Council. He became Mr Spencer’s Parliamentary Office Manager, and in early 2017 successfully stood and was elected for Nottinghamshire County Council, again representing Hucknall North.
Ben became Member of Parliament for Mansfield in the snap General Election in June 2017 with a majority of just over 1000. Ben was re-elected in December 2019 with a hugely increased majority over 16,000 votes.
Following his successful re-election to Nottinghamshire County Council in May 2021, now representing Mansfield North, he was chosen by his Council colleagues to be the new Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council. This
presents a huge opportunity to tie together local and national priorities in order to attract more change and investment for Mansfield, and for Nottinghamshire.
Ben is married to Shanade, and has two young children and a dog, Dexter.

Dr Jane Jones
Clinical & Research Lead, Care After Combat & Nottinghamshire OHC

Jane is the Clinical & Research Lead for Care after Combat and the Clinical Lead overseeing a unique partnership of services between Nottinghamshire Offender Healthcare and Care after Combat. The partnership known as Veteran Care through Custody meets the needs of military veterans who are subject to a custodial sentence.
Jane has an in-depth understanding of mental health and wellbeing, in particular psychological trauma taken from a career working across specialized mental health and forensic settings. From 1989 to 2000, Jane worked alongside the Armed Forces Mental Health Services in the UK and overseas providing healthcare for serving military personnel and their families. From 2000 to
2017, Jane co-developed and delivered psychological programmes for the National High Secure Healthcare Service for Women and Male High Secure Personality Disordered Services at Rampton Hospital. This work was adopted across medium and low secure services across the UK and abroad. From 2017 onwards with Veteran Care through Custody which specializes in the needs
of military veterans in the Justice System. This work has directly informed NHS England’s National Strategy for veterans in the Justice System.

Mark Dale - Principal and CEO

Dr Mark Dale
Principal and CEO, Portland Charity

Mark has led Portland for 17 years, directing the Charity to become a Centre of Excellence for Autism and an Ofsted Outstanding provider which supports hundreds of people with disabilities to live more fulfilling, independent lives each year. He was previously Associate Professor of Education and Deputy Head of the School of Education at The University of Nottingham. Mark has held a number of board positions including Vice Chair of Natspec.

Mark Briggs PLY

Mark Briggs PLY
Director, Nimbus Disability

Mark joined the Board of Portland Charity in 2019, becoming Vice Chair in 2023. He has worked in Local Government for 25 years and led and worked with companies supporting people with disabilities to reach their potential in sport, culture and in their personal lives.
Mark is now Director of Partnerships for Nimbus Disability which, through their Queen’s Award-winning business, opens up an accessible future to disabled people all over the world.
Nimbus Disability is led by disabled people, for disabled people. Mark champions the benefits of a disabled workforce, and how lived experience can really benefit organisations.
Mark has recently been recognised in the Disability Power 100, as one of the UK’s most influential disabled people and was named third in the Digital and Technology category.
He is also a celebrated Paralympian and former Para Ice Hockey Team GB Captain.

Miriam Duffy
Director, National Rehabilitation Centre

Miriam is the Director of the National Rehabilitation Centre and the Chief Allied Health Professional at NUH. A neuro physiotherapist by background and specialising in neurological rehabilitation, Miriam champions the positive impact of rehabilitation and specifically the roles of allied health professionals.
Having spent the first 15 years specialising in clinical work, Miriam graduated from the MBA with a distinction which led to a successful career outside direct clinical work. Her roles in service improvement and operations included the clinical lead of the major trauma centre – setting up this centre in 2012 and Director of Operations at NUH. Miriam was the Director of Rehabilitation for the East Midlands major trauma network which in part led to her leading the work to develop and deliver the National Rehabilitation Centre. Miriam has led work at NUH to develop an AHP strategic plan, establish AHP Board and a clear career structure for AHPs including new roles.

Sean Meehan

Sean Meehan
Public Health Specialist, OHID

Seán is a Public Health Specialist, holding a number of senior positions in DHSC, more latterly with Public Health England and now with the Office of Health improvement and Disparities (OHID). Seán is the OHID Midlands health and work lead. Other roles include an oversight of wider determinants priorities, violence reduction and prevention and inclusive sustainable economies, including supporting the ICBs with their 4th Purpose priorities.

Sean Russell
Principal Investigator, Midlands Engine Mental Health & Productivity Pilot

Seán Russell is the Principal Investigator for the Midlands Engine Mental Health and Productivity Pilot at Coventry University working to research mental wellbeing in the business sector. He is also the Chief Operating Officer for Global Leadership Exchange, a not-for-profit organisation, working to improve leadership and share learning in mental health, disability, and substance use at a global level.
In the last 10 years, Seán led the development and implementation of the Mental Health Commission Action plan in the West Midlands, England. He was the founder of Thrive at Work and led the regional response to implementing Thrive into Work. Seán has a keen interest in public mental health and work place mental wellbeing.
He is a retired Police Superintendent having spent most of his 27 years’ service within Birmingham Command Units in operational roles.

Jennie Willock
CEO, Futures Group

At Futures, our ability to empower individuals and facilitate their engagement in work and education is crucial for fostering social mobility and creating a meaningful difference in people’s lives – a cause that resonates strongly with me.
Throughout my career, I have predominantly focused on the education and training sector. In addition to my experience at Futures, I have held finance roles in the further education and university sectors, as well as in global private education. My passion lies in ensuring that everyone, especially those who don’t follow the conventional academic path, has equal access to education and support. I firmly believe that education and support can transform opportunities and enhance lives.

Alex Norris MP

Alex Norris MP
Labour MP for Nottinghamshire North

Alex Norris is the Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Nottingham North. In 2023, he was appointed as Shadow Minister for Policing.
Since being elected in 2017, Alex has taken an interest in a variety of issues including domestic abuse, regional inequalities, and prisons policy. Most notably, Alex led a successful campaign to change the law to offer enhanced protection from violence and abuse for shopworkers, as well as successfully campaigning to allow safe standing at football matches.
Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, Alex was a Nottingham City Councillor holding responsibility for Adults and Health and also worked as a Trade Union Organiser.
In his spare time, Alex is a keen runner and Manchester City fan, and he has two border collies.

Jon White

Jon White
Marine Veteran and Paralympian Athlete

From war hero to sporting hero, triple amputee Jon White is a top-level para-athlete representing Great Britain in both Marathon Kayaking and Ocean Racing Kayaking (SurfSki) at an international level. Harnessing the resilience learned throughout his rehabilitation journey, this devoted husband and father of two is working to qualify for the 200m Sprint Kayak event at the 2024 Paris and 2028 Los Angeles Paralympics.

Event funded by The Jones 1986 Charitable Trust

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