Meet the Team at Springvale

Meet our experienced, dedicated management team, committed to delivering training excellence to learners, jobseekers, employers and partners.

  • Ann-Marie Mervyn – Assistant CEO
    Ann-Marie Mervyn – Assistant CEO
  • David McComb – Finance Manager
    David McComb – Finance Manager
  • Maria Heath – Training for Success Coordinator
    Maria Heath – Training for Success Coordinator
  • Patrick O’Neill – Digital Media Tutor
    Patrick O’Neill – Digital Media Tutor
  • Chris Caldwell – Catering and Hospitality Tutor for App NI
    Chris Caldwell – Catering and Hospitality Tutor for App NI
  • Séamus Reid – Joinery Tutor
    Séamus Reid – Joinery Tutor
  • Peter Kennedy – Catering Tutor
    Peter Kennedy – Catering Tutor
  • Gerard Herdman – Plumbing Tutor
    Gerard Herdman – Plumbing Tutor
  • Regina McCarren – Hairdressing and Barbering Tutor
    Regina McCarren – Hairdressing and Barbering Tutor
  • Kerri O’Neill – Beauty Therapy Tutor and Assessor
    Kerri O’Neill – Beauty Therapy Tutor and Assessor
  • Stephen Gillen – Computer Technology Tutor
    Stephen Gillen – Computer Technology Tutor
  • Joe Page – Essential Skills Tutor for ICT
    Joe Page – Essential Skills Tutor for ICT
  • Pauline McLarnon – Essential Skills Tutor for Numeracy
    Pauline McLarnon – Essential Skills Tutor for Numeracy
  • Teresa Ward – Essential Skills Tutor for English
    Teresa Ward – Essential Skills Tutor for English
  • Diane Gillespie – Compliance and Quality Manager for App NI
    Diane Gillespie – Compliance and Quality Manager for App NI
  • Tracey Shaw – Essential Skills Tutor for App NI
    Tracey Shaw – Essential Skills Tutor for App NI
  • Marie Stone – Hospitality Tutor for App NI
    Marie Stone – Hospitality Tutor for App NI
  • Sarah Rafter – Quality Assurance Coordinator
    Sarah Rafter – Quality Assurance Coordinator
  • Jim Bailey – MIS Analyst
    Jim Bailey – MIS Analyst
  • Elizabeth Gracey – Qualification Centre Coordinator
    Elizabeth Gracey – Qualification Centre Coordinator
  • Kristian Ross – Marketing Officer
    Kristian Ross – Marketing Officer
  • Tanya Cleere – Qualifications Administrator
    Tanya Cleere – Qualifications Administrator
Ann-Marie Mervyn – Assistant CEO

Ann-Marie is employed by the Upper Springfield Development Trust as Assistant CEO responsible for Operational Services has been heading up Springvale Employment and Learning since the company merged in April 2019.

She graduated from Queens University, Belfast in 1999 with a 2:1 Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Sociology.

Within a year of graduating Ann-Marie began her career in community development and has over twenty years of experience, fourteen of which are at senior management level developing and leading innovative, cutting-edge programmes aimed at those hardest to reach.

As the Assistant CEO for the Upper Springfield Development Trust, a leading community development organisation which employs up to 130 members of staff across its group of companies, Ann-Marie is responsible for the management, development, and implementation of all areas relating to operational services and contributes to the overall planning and decision making within the group structure.

Prior to this, she actively campaigned for the rights of persons with disabilities from an early age and, at the age of 25, was appointed as the manager of Action Ability Belfast formerly known as Action on Disability within the Upper Springfield Development Trust.

In her leisure time enjoys spending time with her dogs, walking and world travel.

David McComb – Finance Manager

David started working at Springvale Training Limited in February 2018 in his role as Finance Manager and has brought a wealth of experience gained over 30 years in the administrative and financial services sector. His interests include the love of architecture and interior design, baking, cooking and gardening.

Maria Heath – Training for Success Coordinator

Maria grew up in the Lenadoon area of West Belfast and is one of seven Robinson children.

Maria began her career in the field of employability in 1996 and has contributed twenty-four years to community development within Belfast to date.

In recent years Maria has managed Job Assist Centre West Belfast programmes and along with her team, she is driving meaningful employment and training outcomes for the people of Belfast.

Maria joined the dynamic Training for Success (TFS) team in Springvale in September 2019 and is thoroughly enjoying the challenge.

Whilst Maria loves her role and caring for her students she is a mum of two to Gerard and Abbey. She is an avid gardener and loves to bake and claims she would give Mary Berry a run for her money. (But don’t tell Mary)

Patrick O’Neill – Digital Media Tutor

Patrick (Paddy) has been teaching ICT for more than twenty-nine years and has been with Springvale since 2005.

Originally starting as the ICT Essential skills Tutor, he was part of the team along with City & Guilds and CCEA who developed the current format, testing and creating student booklets to cover all criteria to meet the Essential Skills agreed standards. In 2016, his transferrable skillset was utilised further and he was appointed as Digital Media tutor.

His main interests are river kayaking, sea kayaking, and canoeing. He has been doing this for nearly eight years as a member of Intercity Paddlers Club. One of Paddy’s most incredible achievements away from Springvale is that during the 1980’s alongside a few tradesmen, he built his own his house, brick by brick…. to which he still lives in to this day!

Chris Caldwell – Catering and Hospitality Tutor for App NI

Chris is currently the Catering/Hospitality tutor at Springvale for the Apprenticeships NI programme. He studied at College of Business Studies, Belfast Metropolitan College, and at Dundee University.

Before moving into education, he had previously been working within the hospitality industry for over twenty-five years in the areas of professional cookery and outlet management and owned his own Mexican restaurant.

In his spare time, he enjoys running, baking bread, and growing his own vegetables. His pet hate is people that are late and he loves to eat fish. His favourite tipple is a Mai Tai Cocktail and he dislikes prosecco.

Séamus Reid – Joinery Tutor

Séamus left CBS Secondary School (Hightown Road) in 1983 on a Friday and started working on the tools the following Monday. He has now been a joiner for thirty-eight years and has never looked back. He loved sport as a child and competed in gaelic football, hurling, handball was exceptionally impressive at track and field events,  winning every race he competed in during his second year of school in 1979.

After leaving school, he discovered a passion for music learning the piano for half a decade. Nowadays, he loves the saxophone, particularly blues and jazz music.

Séamus has represented three Irish League sides including Cliftonville, Crusaders and Carrick Rangers. He had success winning the Junior Cup with Newington FC alongside his three brothers, a feat that has never been repeated to this day.

Having always enjoyed coaching, he eventually pushed himself into getting the qualifications to teach joinery and he joined Springvale in 2005.

After joining Springvale, he visited Zambia to work in the compounds, working with the local carpenters in Lusaka to help improve living conditions for local residents.

Peter Kennedy – Catering Tutor

Peter started Springvale in September 2018 after working in his previous post for twenty-seven years, helping young people with support needs get skills, knowledge, and qualifications to assist them in gaining employment in the hospitality industry. He has worked in the catering industry from when he left school at sixteen in 1977. His hobbies include travelling, trekking, and spin classes. He is married with two grown-up children.

Gerard Herdman – Plumbing Tutor

Gerard has been a plumber since he was sixteen. He joined Springvale in 2019 and has firmly established himself as a friendly face around campus. He is now sixty and still hasn’t lost his passion for all things pipes and taps. He is fond of musical icons Kate Bush and Blondie and his interests include motorbikes, photography, gardening, and writing. He dislikes include cats and those who believe cats are better than dogs.

Regina McCarren – Hairdressing and Barbering Tutor

Regina joined Springvale Learning in 2013 as a Hairdressing and Barbering tutor. Her background is in hairdressing and she has many years of experience working in the industry, owning her own business and teaching students, guiding them throughout this career. She is passionate about teaching and helping young people develop a career in these industries. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting Spain and skiing with her family.

Kerri O’Neill – Beauty Therapy Tutor and Assessor

Kerri joined Springvale in August 2012 and has been a Beauty Tutor for over ten years, having originally worked successfully as a beauty therapist in a city centre salon. Her role included meeting and working on various photoshoots, including the Miss Northern Ireland competition annually, providing treatments for local celebrities from the world of media, fashion, music, sporting world, theatre, and arts. Her claim to fame was having provided many a spray tan for the lovely Christine Bleakley before she became Mrs Lampard. Her hobbies include; reading, dancing, listening to music, telling bedtime stories, watching as many musicals as humanly possible and spending as much time possible with her kids and family.

Stephen Gillen – Computer Technology Tutor

Stephen joined Springvale in March 2011, as a student on the STW Program. He progressed through the ranks quickly and in November 2011, Stephen was employed as a classroom assistant within the Com-Tech area. Since then he has worked across different areas (STW, School Links, StS and TfS) and is currently working as the TfS Computer Technology tutor. Stephen’s hobbies include digital art (although he claims he isn’t very good at it), photography, running and keeping fit. He is also an avid follower of Manchester United…

Joe Page – Essential Skills Tutor for ICT

Joe began tutoring Essential Skills ICT in February 2019. He studied for a Diploma in Media twenty years ago and since then has always had a keen interest in technology and communication. It is his job to help students realise how ICT influences their world and help them better understand how they can use ICT to enhance their prospects. This may be as a business owner, a student in higher education or even as a social media influencer. Away from Springvale, Joe also teaches drama and is a keen guitarist and poet. He likes to read Irish history and is a student of the language.

Pauline McLarnon – Essential Skills Tutor for Numeracy

Pauline is a highly motivated and experienced numeracy teacher with a specialised understanding of training, having worked with trainees with a variety of learning needs. Prior to joining Springvale Learning, she had gained a wealth of experience working in the training and educational sector and was employed for eight years at North Down Training and previously in grammar and secondary sectors, in a learning support capacity. She prides herself on having an understanding and affinity of the educational, social and emotional needs of teenagers and young adults, which has enabled her to achieve academic targets, social goals and build on the young persons renewed self-confidence and enthusiasm. Pauline has a real passion for dressmaking and over the years has made brides, first communion and formal dresses as well as designing and having created Irish dancing costumes. In more recent times she has been making crafts for charity fares and is currently teaching herself how to play chess…

Teresa Ward – Essential Skills Tutor for English

Teresa has been an Essential Skills tutor at Springvale Learning for 14 years and has helped to enable well over a thousand students to achieve qualifications in English, Maths, Employability and Personal and Social Development. Before working at Springvale, Teresa worked in the Northern Ireland Civil Service for twenty years at the Social Security and Benefit’s Office in Andersonstown, Falls Road and in the city centre. When speaking about her peers, Teresa has said that they are the best colleagues anyone could wish for and are talented, fun-loving and dedicated to caring for our students. She likes reading, watching Netflix series and dancing, with her pet hate being IT because it never works for her when she needs it! Teresa is West Belfast born and raised and has three sons and a daughter.

Diane Gillespie – Compliance and Quality Manager for App NI

Diane started with Springvale in November 2019 in her role as Compliance and Quality Manager for App NI. She has
twenty years of experience working with APPNI programmes, as well as working with several Northern Ireland Training providers as an Assessor, Tutor, IQA, Training Manager, and Vocational Learning Manager. Her previous roles included working for Ulster University as the Area Manager for Catering and ensuring high standards as Quality Assurance Officer with Ashton Community Trust. Her hobbies are baking and dog walking and she also loves travelling in her spare time.

Tracey Shaw – Essential Skills Tutor for App NI

Tracey has worked for Springvale since 2015 delivering Essential Skills Literacy and Numeracy for the App NI programme. She is part of the App NI team and delivers sessions in relation to the learners’ individual needs. Tracey has worked within the field of Essential Skills for 16 years and thoroughly enjoys her chosen vocation. Outside of work she has two children who employ her as an unpaid taxi driver, cook, cleaner and bottle washer.

Marie Stone – Hospitality Tutor for App NI

Marie has worked in training for eighteen years. She is currently part of the Apprenticeship NI team in Springvale with her experience mostly in the Hospitality and Customer Service sectors. She loves going to her local gym and to attend spin and circuits classes. She has a 20-year-old daughter Sarah who still lives at home and they both love nothing more than walking their two dogs Alfie and Max.

 

Sarah Rafter – Quality Assurance Coordinator

Sarah joined Springvale in October 2019 as Quality Assurance Coordinator. Her job is to maintain the standards are kept to the highest level at Springvale. She has twenty years of experience in the training, employment, and learning field. She is also a qualified essential skills tutor and has managed various Belfast-wide programmes across a number of key areas such as essential skills, emotional health, and employment and learning. She loves beach walks and open fires and in her spare times she loves to dance as well as socialising with her friends and family.

Jim Bailey – MIS Analyst

Jim Bailey joined Springvale in February 1998 as an ICT tutor.  Over the years he has taught ICT to school leavers, young adults, adults, and over 65s at all levels.

He holds five Microsoft Master certifications and is also a Microsoft Master Trainer.  Jim gained a teaching certificate at the Ulster University at Jordanstown.  After sixteen years as a tutor he switched roles and became an MIS analyst.

His job now involves creating data on our learners, and updating & reporting for all aspects of student progress in Springvale.

He is a Polio survivor (following contracting the disease in 1956) and is a member of the Northern Ireland Polio Fellowship. In 2019, Jim was featured on BBC Newsline after he went to Pakistan to witness first hand the mass vaccination of children up to five years old as a part of the One Last Push campaign to eradicate polio forever.

Elizabeth Gracey – Qualification Centre Coordinator

Elizabeth joined Springvale in December 2019 as Qualification Centre Coordinator. She has over 20 years of experience in the education sector including a number of roles from tutor to Course Director in Further and Higher Education Centres in England. Her main is cooking, with her specialty in the kitchen being curry and other spicy recipes.

Kristian Ross – Marketing Officer

Kristian joined Springvale in July 2019 following completion of his Journalism and English degree at Ulster University, Coleraine. He comes primarily from a sports background and has worked as a placement student at the Newcastle Falcons and World Curling Federation in St Gallen, Switzerland. His main roles at Springvale include updating social media, providing marketing material for events and implementing marketing strategy. He is a proud Geordie and long-suffering Newcastle United supporter and in his spare time watches Scandinavian TV drama, as well as spending time with his partner Niamh and his two cats, Bella and Nala.

Tanya Cleere – Qualifications Administrator

Tanya Cleere started as Qualifications Administrator at Springvale in February 2012. She has always had a keen interest in office work. Her hobbies are going for walks, swimming, keep-fit classes such as box-fit and Zumba. She also enjoys eating out and going to the cinema with friends in her spare time.