McDonald’s education head gets bite at UK apprentice job

The appointment of McDonald’s education chief Sue Husband as England’s new apprenticeships boss has been welcomed by FE sector leaders.

Ms Husband, national education manager at McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd UK, will fill the shoes of David Way, who stepped down as director of the Skills Funding Agency’s apprenticeship division in August.

Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, told FE Week: “I think it’s great that someone from an employer background has been appointed to this role. We look forward to working with her.”

Martin Doel, chief executive at the Association of Colleges, said: “We are pleased to see someone with a solid grounding in education and industry taking the lead in this important area of delivery.”
Ms Husband was in charge of training at employer provider McDonald’s when it received a grade two rating from Ofsted, in November 2010, following its only inspection to date.

The agency paid McDonald’s £10.5m in 2010/11, £6.8m in 2011/12, and £5.1m in 2012/13. Its current allocation is £10.1m from 16 to 18 apprenticeship funding and the adult skills budget. Learndirect is a subcontractor allocated £4m.

Christine Doubleday, deputy executive director of the 157 Group, said: “It is interesting to see someone from a private commercial background appointed to this role. We look forward to continuing our work with the National Apprenticeship Service [NAS] under Sue’s stewardship.”

Lindsay McCurdy, chief executive of Apprenticeships4England, said: “I think this is a very positive appointment. It is going to be a steep learning curve for her, as it will be very different from McDonald’s, but maybe having someone come in from a business background will shake things up for the better.”

The agency had put the director of apprenticeships and delivery services role out to advert in December with a £100,000 a-year salary.

Ms Husband is expected to have responsibility for the delivery of employer engagement and the NAS. According to the job advert, she will have “an outward-facing role … promoting the benefits of apprenticeships to employers and embedding the new relationship between the agency, employers and providers”.

She started at McDonald’s in 1987 when she was 16 years old and studying for her A-levels. She worked her way up through the company from serving customers and working in the kitchen to being appointed head of education in 2007.

An agency spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Sue Husband will be taking up the post of director of apprenticeships and delivery service later this year.”
Nobody from McDonald’s was available for comment.