Canny Conversations Podcast by Safaraz Ali Social Entrepreneur, CEO of Pathway Group and proud Birmingham business leader, where he shares his insights and experiences on entrepreneurialism, having a growth mindset and getting the best out of people as well as useful information to help your grow your business, develop and build your team.
Canny Conversations has now completed over 50 episodes making an impact on UK business Podcasts and demonstrating how sustainable business can benefit. In the third series Safaraz speaks with journalist Adrian Kibbler as well as some great guests sharing their thoughts and insights. In the fourth series Safaraz shares his own individual thoughts again.
Canny conversations are intended to challenge and cannily captivate. Let us know if they do or otherwise!
The topics covered in these conversations range from individual biographies & life stories to industry specific conversations as well as all things self development, enterprise & entrepreneurship and that’s just for starters. Previously we have received very good feedback on a number of our podcasts with topics such as; the importance of people, how to recruit them and get the best from them. It explores what makes a good leader and how to build strong teams within a winning culture.
‘Don’t expect to agree with everything but remain open and challenged. There is plenty to ‘chew on’ as Safaraz might say.
Safaraz Ali is the author of Canny Bites books, the fourth book being the lates titled: ‘Successfully Scale Up or Exit Your Business’ which helps business owners and leaders know exactly what they need to consider when growing their business. It’s a workbook and a checklist for entrepreneurs to help put the foundations in place ensuring they have the right toolkits to make scaling an easier task.
Jenny Pelling Part 2
In this episode we hear the second part of Safaraz’s conversation with,, Jenny Pelling, Director of Apprenticeship Development and Diversity at Kaplan, the educational services company. In this continuation of their conversation, Jenny shares her journey in the education sector, from her part time role in HR that shifted into education, to rising up the ranks to become a director. They discuss some of the challenges apprentices face today, from imposter syndrome to struggles with work-life balance and mental health.
Jenny outlines the pastoral care, mentoring, and lifelong support that apprentices really need to thrive - beyond simply learning the curriculum and coursework. This includes the coaching, confidence-building, and fostering of crucial life skills that she spearheads at Kaplan.
They also focus on the importance of collaborations and strategic partnerships to drive the industry forward together, through data-driven insights and broader representation. Kaplan has key focuses on the way people learn through technology as well as increasing opportunities.
Jenny offers her advice for both individuals looking to advance in their careers, as well as guidance for parents on the evolving landscape of apprenticeships today.
Jenny Pelling Part 1
In this episode, Safaraz is in conversation with Jenny Pelling, Director of Apprenticeship Development and Diversity at Kaplan, the educational services company.
In part one of this two-part conversation, which will continue next week. The discussion covers Jenny's multifaceted role at Kaplan, a major global education organization seeking to increase access and opportunity. This includes governance, quality assurance, supporting apprentices, and collaborating with employers on effective programs. She has seen employer attitudes shift to more strategic uses of apprenticeships over her 20 years in the field.
Jenny's passion for education access and diverse qualification routes started with teaching English internationally. Her career path then led to law, specializing in employment law, and helping pioneer legal apprenticeship models. Their conversation explores how sectors like law have changed.
They go on to talk about Jenny's accomplishments as a leader, advancing apprenticeships, diversity, inclusion and social mobility across education and professional services. Their discussion goes on to focuses on the importance of holistic pastoral support for apprentices.
Jan Richardson-Wilde CEO of OAL Part 2
In this inspiring episode, and the continuation of Safaraz’s conversation with Jan Richardson CEO of Occupational Awards Limited, they talk about her remarkable 35+ year career journey in education and training. Jan shares the challenges she faced early on as a young single mother yet persevered to gain qualifications and progress through roles from trainer to senior leader. She provides candid insights on juggling work and family, overcoming barriers and setbacks, and the importance of resilience. Jan discusses her current role as CEO of the Occupational Awards Limited, leading the organisation through growth and change. She offers wisdom on building culture, engaging employees, and “futureproofing” the business. Her stories impart nuggets of career advice and leadership best practices. Jan leaves us with a powerful message to keep evolving, not retire.
Jan Richardson-Wilde CEO of OAL Part 1
In this week’s episode, we hear the first part of Safaraz’s conversation with Jan Richardson-Wilde, CEO of Occupational Awards Limited, They chat about how Jan has lead the organization through huge challenges. When Jan took on the CEO role, the company was still small, with only 4 employees. Then just months into her tenure, COVID-19 hit. With the company's focus on food and drink, a sector that was decimated during this period, Jan talks about the difficult decisions and changes needed to pivot the business - implementing technology for remote assessments, diversifying into new industries, and adapting their model. She discusses the importance of listening to employers, building strong partnerships and focusing on people. Jan provides valuable insights on resilience, change management and leading with purpose during a crisis.
Be prepared for an inspiring conversation on thriving through adversity.
Paul Eeles Part 2
In this week’s episode Safaraz continues his conversation with Paul Eeles, the CEO of The Skills and Education Group. We will be hearing how Paul has dedicated his career to championing skills, education, and social mobility. He shares insights from his varied professional journey, from starting as a chef to leading large organizations in the further education sector.
Paul and Safaraz also talk about some of the key issues facing further education today. They discuss the challenges of acquiring and integrating organizations, the importance of careers advice for young people, and the competitive awarding organization marketplace.
Paul stresses the need for a coordinated skills system that meets the diverse needs of learners and employers. He advocates for policy that looks at the bigger picture rather than short-term initiatives.
At its core, Paul believes education is about empowering individuals and transforming lives. He calls on all of us to make a positive difference through our work.
This conversation also provides an enlightening perspective on leadership, change, and purpose.
Paul Eeles Part 1
This week’s Canny Conversations Podcast features the first part of Safaraz’s conversation between him Paul Eeles, Group Chief Executive of the Skills and Education Group. Paul has been with the organization for 13 years, during which it has grown from a small regional membership body to a major national organization.
In this wide-ranging chat, Paul traces his career journey from school into hospitality and catering, to becoming a lecturer, and eventuallyrising to his current leadership role. Safaraz and Paul discusses pursuing continuous learning and qualifications as an adult, even though he did not excel academically at school. Paul shares perspectives on contributing his skills through voluntary roles such as charity trustee, school governor, and other community involvement. He talks about the importance of giving back and describes some of the organizations he supports. Safaraz and Paul cover some other topics including changes in the FE sector, networking beyond one's immediate industry, and pushing yourself as a leader to think differently. Paul provides an inside look at leading a long-established membership organization and building on its legacy.