Meet the team

Our core team, hosted by University of Liverpool, deliver a menu of HE outreach activity
for our priority secondary schools and colleges. Delivery typically takes place in
school/colleges but we can also arrange visits to any of our 12 partner institutions HE

In addition to our core staff, we are supported in many activities by widening participation
and outreach staff from our partner universities and colleges, who help to deliver various
aspects of Shaping Futures projects, alongside work on their own existing projects and
programmes to support young people in accessing Higher Education.
Please see below for further information on our core team, or contact for assistance.

Management Team

Yvonne McCreath - Contracts Manager

I joined the Shaping Futures team in November 2017 and my role, as Contracts Manager, involves the management of grant funded projects and activities, financial management and day to day support for the Head of Programme and the team. I began my career in 2000 as a Prisoner Custody Officer in a Category B Male Local Prison based in Fazakerley. From 2003, I progressed into a number of managerial posts culminating in a move to Head of Safer Cu stody in 2015. In this role, I held responsibility for several areas and work-streams within the Prison and I led the development of the Young Adult Strategy. In 2016, I took a sideways move to become Head of Custody for the Policing Support Services sector of the organisation which involved the contract management of a number of services within several police custody suites across the UK. Duringmy career, I have also had the opportunity to be seconded to a number of large scale bidding competitionsas an operational bid writer. My experience of working with Young Adults has stayed with me over the years and I am delighted to be a part of the Shaping Futures team and part of a project that aims to deliver potentially life-changing opportunities for the participants.

Tony Murphy - Schools and Education Manager

I joined Shaping Futures in November 2017 as the Localities Team Lead. Prior to this role, my career has always been in Careers Education, Information Advice and Guidance. I am a fully qualified Careers Adviser and have spent most of my career designing and delivering careers related support to a wide variety of educational establishments across the Liverpool city region.I started my career working with unemployed adults in the south Liverpool region. In 2003, I joined the Connexions service and become a Lead Adviser in Liverpool schools, with a responsibility for ensuring all students, parents and staff had access to IAG services and support. More recently, I was employed by a Multi-Academy Trust as the Careers and Employability Manager. I am delighted to join the Shaping Futures team and look forward to ensuring its success over the coming months.

Higher Education Progression Advisers

Amber Coleman

I work as a Project Officer in the Shaping Futures team and am currently responsible for our work with select schools from across Liverpool,  and our engagements with Looked After Children, Young Adult Carers and Estranged Students. I graduated from the University of Manchester with a First Class degree in Politics & Sociology in 2014. I stayed on at the University for a year after this, working as a graduate intern, which was a great opportunity to learn more about the Higher Education sector and build upon experiences I had as a student. During this time I found myself particularly interested in pre-entry work, and Widening Participation more specifically. My next role with the Merseyside Network for Collaborative Outreach, based at the University of Liverpool, focused more on this area and enabled me to learn more about how different institutions work and outreach in particular – which was a brilliant stepping stone to now working on the Shaping Futures project!

Sarah Hanson

I am one of the Shaping Futures Higher Education Progression Advisors (HEPA), with responsibility for the following schools: Archbishop Beck Catholic Sports College, St John Bosco Arts College, Holly Lodge Girls College, Calderstones School, Childwall Sports and Science Academy, the Academy of St Nicholas, Kings Leadership Academy, the Academy of St Francis of Assisi and Fazakerley High School. Additionally, I am our lead on Special Projects, which includes our work with All About Stem, the NHS Careers Hubs within Merseyside and the ‘Through the Eyes of Boys’ project, which aims to address the under-representation of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds in Higher Education. After graduating from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in English, Media and Cultural Studies, I joined the University of Liverpool’s central Widening Participation and Outreach team as a Graduate Advocate with the Pre-16 team, working primarily on campus visits, residentials, the Professor Fluffy primary programme and ‘Your Way to University’, a collaborative project with the University of Manchester focusing on disadvantaged areas of Cumbria. Following my time as a Graduate Advocate, I stayed with the Widening Participation and Outreach team an as Assistant Project Officer with responsibility for Year 7 campus visits, the Dangerous Science Summer School and communications for the team, including print, digital and social media, before moving over to the Shaping Futures team.

Kevin Hornblower

After studying history at university I spent a year teaching English in China. My positive experiences at university and teaching English inspired me to pursue a career within education. When I returned I was lucky enough to secure a job at the University of Liverpool’s Widening Participation team. After a couple of enjoyable years at Liverpool I took up the opportunity to further my experience by taking a job at the University of Chester. In my current role within the Shaping Futures team, I am responsible for working closely with a number of schools across the city region. This includes building relationships with schools, teachers, parents and community groups to ensure that they engage fully with our programme. More importantly, it means developing and delivering a fun, engaging curriculum of activity that will inspire and inform all of the young people that we work with. The programme will highlight the many benefits a HE education provides and will explain the different options available to them with the hope of boosting applications to university.

Bethan Williams

My role at Shaping Futures is Higher Education Progression Adviser and I oversee our work in Riverside and Cronton College in Halton as well as four schools in Knowsley. Within the college I focus on 1-1 advice and guidance for Level 3 learners; while in schools I coordinate the delivery of a wide range of activity aimed at raising aspirations and providing impartial information to learners in years 9-13. I graduated from Harvard University in 2011, where I became increasingly involved in community programmes providing education support and enrichment to disadvantaged children. Since then, I have worked in Primary schools as a teaching assistant and a teacher, after completing my PGCE in 2015. I have also worked in a variety roles for The Challenge, a national youth charity which delivers National Citizen Service to 15-18 year-olds. Seeing the young people transform and achieve through the programme has inspired me year after year and I am delighted to be able to continue working with young people at Shaping Futures. I am passionate about providing the best education information and opportunities for young people. Working with the Shaping Futures team, I aim to raise aspirations through guidance and support and help students achieve their future goals through higher education.

Hannah Lewis

As the Higher Education Adviser for St Helens, I oversee the relationship between Shaping Futures, three colleges and four priority schools in the region. My aim is to tailor our programme of activity and maximise the impact of this for each group of students we work with. Previously, I completed a Masters Degree in Research and have a background in raising the aspirations of young people in challenging contexts through coaching and 1:1 development. I have worked nationally for Crisis and the Prince’s Trust, managing programmes to support young people in achieving academic and pastoral goals. I don’t function in the morning without a cup of coffee, have a love-hate relationship with running and I am passionate about education for everyone.

Cherise Weaver

I am a Higher Education Progression Officer for the City of Liverpool College, St Hildas, Bellerive, and Archbishop Blanch schools. Aside from my main role I am also the lead for our Shaping Futures Community Engagement Projects. I completed my MA (Practice as Research) at Edge Hill University in 2013, where I also completed my PCET (Post Compulsory Education and training) in 2010 and went on to teach at Oakmere Community College. Understanding yound peoples needs and helping them overcome barriers has always been part of the work I deliver. As part of the Shaping Futures team my aim is to explore HE opportunities, whilst supporting and encouraging young people in their future pathway.

Sophie Warburton

I am currently a Higher Education Progression Adviser for Shaping Futures and work within schools in Halton. I graduated from the University of Liverpool studying Psychology whilst working as a Student Advocate for the University of Liverpool’s Widening Participation team as well as founding an outreach society called EdPsych. After graduating I was a Project Assistant for Shaping Futures in which I assisted in the delivery and development of sessions for the core school programme working with Knowsley and St Helens schools. I also assisted on the Through the Eyes of Boys programme as well as work with the NHS. Within my current role, I hope to work with the Halton schools to develop bespoke activity plans for each school to suit their needs and to fully support their students. I will continue to work on additional projects such as White Working Class Boys.

Stuart Nicholls

Stuart Nicholls

I joined the Shaping Futures team in October 2018 as a Higher Education Progression Adviser, which involves working with priority schools across Wirral, forging effective partnerships with teachers, students and parents alike to engage in a programme of activities and ‘one to one’ guidance interventions aimed at raising aspirations through Higher Education opportunities.

As a professional Careers Adviser with over twenty years’ experience of delivering quality guidance services to young people within numerous educational institutions across the wider Liverpool City region, I pride myself on my drive and commitment to raise awareness of opportunities for all and I continue to strive to promote a supportive environment that individuals seek to access time and again.

Project Assistants

Anthony Melia

I have been with the Shaping Futures team since August 2017, with my main role as Project Assistant being to develop and deliver sessions alongside supporting the Higher Education Progression Advisers. I work primarily in schools as well as helping to manage our ‘Through The Eyes Of Boys’ programme. Born and raised in north Liverpool, I completed my GCSEs and stayed on for Sixth Form at my secondary school, finishing in 2012. Neither of my parents had gone to university so it was a new experience to have in my immediate family but one that I always knew I wanted. Four years later, I graduated from the University of Liverpool after completing my undergrad in History and Hispanic Studies. During my time at university, I spent a compulsory year abroad teaching English in Spain. I was able to work for an academic year in a primary school in Andalusia which was a fantastic experience to have and introduced me to working in a school environment. After graduating, I returned to Spain to work with a community development organisation called Third Sector International. We worked to provide inner city FE pupils with internships based out of the City of Seville. These placements were in work environments that matched their area of study at college e.g. tourism or hospitality. This experience cemented my love of working on social mobility projects and with young people. Upon my return, I joined the Shaping Futures team.

Roma Brown

After graduating with a degree in Communication, Media & Popular Music from The University of Liverpool I accepted the role of a Project Assistant as part of the Merseyside Collaborative Outreach Programme. Prior to this, I took part in a placement with In Harmony Liverpool, a music programme based in Everton which aims to improve the health, education and aspirations of children and young people. My experience at this organisation was extremely rewarding and gave me an insight into the importance of outreach and community work in order to improve aspirations within children and young people. My role as Project Assistant requires me to support the HEPAs and assist in the development and delivery of programmes as a means of widening participation within young people currently underrepresented within higher education. As part of my role, I also assisted in the creation and development of Creative Futures Merseyside, a programme designed to inform and education young people of the jobs and pathways available to them within the arts and culture industry.

David Maitland

I work as a Project Assistant with the Shaping Futures Team. Within my role, I support our Higher Education Progress Advisers in the development and delivery of projects and activities. After graduating with a degree in history, I worked with students studying English as a foreign language at the University of Glasgow. This was a great introduction to the Higher Education sector and inspired me to study for a TEFL qualification and teach abroad. After returning to the UK, I was able to put my teaching experience to use in a different setting, working for two years with an employability service supporting vulnerable young people into employment, further education or training. Following this position I moved to Liverpool, returning to HE to study history at postgraduate level. Now at Shaping Futures I have the opportunity to combine my passion for HE, and the benefits it can bring, with experiences working in education and training to support students in their future choices.

Rupert French

I moved from the West Midlands to Liverpool over four years ago, though most of the city seem to think I’m from Australia. I completed my undergrad degree in English at Liverpool John Moores University in 2017. I worked for LJMU in various capacities over my time there helping to establish a peer mentoring programme for 1st years as well as an internship as a ‘Safeguarding Champion’ and travelling to the USA to write about studying abroad. The work I enjoyed the most was mentoring young people in schools which lead me to the Project Assistant job at Shaping Futures.

Before moving to Liverpool I worked in hospitality and had several years as a bar manager before deciding to come to university. I hope my personal experiences can be useful for young people approaching Higher Education and I look forward to working with Shaping Futures in helping as many people as possible.

Project Support Team

Sarah Doogan (Contracts and Communications Officer)

I am the contracts and communications officer for the Shaping Futures team. I make sure that the programme is supported in both its contracts with partners and grant funded projects, whilst also ensure that the impact of our work is communicated effectively amongst a range of platforms. My love for Higher Education has come from my exciting and inspiring time spent at the University of Liverpool studying History (BSC). Moving from my home in Ireland, HE was much more than studying. It was invaluable to my personal development in becoming independent and having the skills to become employable and progress my career. Therefore, I wish to see others have the opportunities I had from Higher and Further Education! I am also currently studying towards my APM in Project Management. I hope to continue a career working within educational projects.

Christine Canavan (Project Support Officer)

I am a Project Support Officer, supporting the central administration of the Shaping Futures team. My work background is secondary school based, where I developed my skills within education for 13 years. I began my school working life as a lunchtime assistant, worked towards becoming a classroom support and finally became a Pastoral Head of Year for Sixth Form, in the meantime completing a BA in Learning, Development and Support with Liverpool John Moores University. I have always actively encouraged all pupils within my cohort to be the best version of themselves. I have enjoyed seeing pupils develop and grow, both academically and emotionally and take great pride, in any role I have undertaken, to ensure future success for those pupils. Being involved with the Shaping Futures team, both within the colleges and schools, ensures that I continue to be part of the successful future of the young people from the Merseyside area.

Christopher Leech (Project Support Officer)

I joined the Shaping Futures team in April 2018 as a Project Support Officer to help with general support of the programme as well as working on data analysis with particular emphasis on impact and engagement. I studied my BSc. in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice at Liverpool John Moores University, and then studied for my MSc. in Health Psychology there the following year, graduating in 2016. I began working in Higher Education within a university library in 2016 and this understanding of the HE environment helped me to secure a role at the Public Health Institute (situated in Liverpool John Moores University) in 2017. As a public health researcher, I was part of the impact and engagement team working with third sector organisations to measure and evidence impact of interventions and services aiding vulnerable populations to improve wellbeing and reduce social isolation. This has given me a strong foundation of data analysis, evaluation and impact measurement, which I intend to continue to develop at Shaping Futures. I strongly believe in Higher Education and have been involved with representing students on various councils and advocacy programmes throughout my academic career. I hope to use my skills and knowledge to continue to help the Shaping Futures team to highlight to learners the potential of Higher Education.

Chantel Jones

I joined the Shaping Futures team in October 2018 as the Evaluation and Partnerships Officer and I am responsible for leading on the monitoring and evaluation requirements for the programme. After studying Sociology at Durham University I worked in HE for a few years researching issues such as students’ and teachers’ experiences in schools across the UK in a results-driven culture, young people’s understanding of sexual services in their local area, and child welfare inequalities by area-based deprivation and ethnicity.

I have worked with quantitative and qualitative data and I have co-authored multiple research reports and academic journal articles. Recently, my MSc thesis at Oxford University focused specifically on educational inequalities by investigating how area-based deprivation and availability of KS4 subjects and qualifications interacted. I am very passionate about social justice and I hope to see that the Shaping Futures programme can encourage positive educational outcomes for young people.