James Maher, Director at Arrow HR Ltd and MHFA Associate

I have been extremely lucky to get to know Debbie through her commitment to Mental Health First Aid, and her total advocacy of promoting a mentally healthy workplace. I delivered a series of Mental Health First Aid courses to senior leaders at Qube in 2017, and Debbie attended the very first course, fully participating as a delegate. What really struck me was that even though Debbie was CEO at the time, she participated fully, as an equal to everyone else - enabling the session to flow and creating a comfortable environment which allowed everyone to fully participate. At the end of that first session and following my subsequent meetings with her and her people at Qube, it is clear that not only is Debbie an exceptional leader, she is also genuine and authentic person who cares deeply about what she is trying to achieve in promoting positive mental health. I have nothing but the utmost respect and regard for Debbie, and how she has embraced her learning experience and put those learnings into practice immediately. Other senior business leaders I'm sure would learn a lot from her sincere and authentic approach.


Feb 18

Jayne Raftery,  Director, Straight A Training

I have known Debbie as a colleague and associate for the past eight years. Our relationship is predominately focused around our shared interests in Apprenticeships and Learning and Development; sharing good practice and discussing potential challenges we may face. We enjoy a positive and professional working relationship which is enabled by Debbie’s ability as a keen listener. This excellent trait has also enabled us to take an interest in each other’s lives out of the working environment; which in turn allows for a relationship which shares honesty, integrity and transparency.


Feb 18

Simon Ashworth, Chief Operating Officer at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP)

Since I joined AELP in 2017 I’ve had the privilege of working with Debbie as both one of our respected board members and also through Qube, one of AELP’s longstanding members.

Last year AELP nominated Debbie for an MBE for her significant contribution to the FE sector and we were delighted that Debbie’s tireless contribution was acknowledged in the last round of honours.
Debbie gives up her precious time to chair our AELP board group on subcontracting and has been leading the charging on helping AELP develop improvements and suggestions that we have put to government to enhance and improve arrangements for subcontracting of apprenticeships from both a subcontractor and a main provider perspective.

In early 2018 Debbie agreed to speak at our widely acclaimed parliamentary debate on the barriers to Traineeships, which was co-hosted by Gordon Marsden MP the Shadow Minister for Education. This is just one example of where Debbie has help contribute to shining a light on important challenges in the sector which need addressing to improve the opportunities and prospects of learners.

Debbie is an extremely approachable, proactive and knowledgeable individual who is extremely passionate about the FE sector which she has served tirelessly for many years.


Feb 18

Nicola Dann, Head of Sales, Marketing and Administration at Spire Harpenden Hospital

In case Debbie’s recent MBE award for her outstanding contribution to services in the education and apprenticeships sector is not testament enough to her absolute expertise in this field, I’d like to share my experience of working with Debbie.

Having worked together for a short period of time over a few weeks last year, this was more than enough time for me to witness first hand what a strong leader Debbie truly is. As CEO of Qube Learning, I saw that she was respected and valued at all levels throughout the business. This is not an easy achievement to be so well-liked and respected at executive level, but did not surprise me at all. Her warmth, passion and genuine enthusiasm for helping customers is infectious, along with her excitement when celebrating success. Debbie genuinely cares about people and is extremely approachable and caring. I especially liked the way that Debbie was genuinely happy to share her knowledge to help others to develop and learn.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Debbie and would work with her again in a heartbeat. I have no doubt she will always be successful in leading and inspiring high performing teams to deliver results.


Feb 18

Allister Myatt MBA

“Debbie Gardiner is one of the most passionate, conscientious and capable individuals I have had the pleasure to work with. She has an infectious enthusiasm for successful, high quality apprenticeship delivery. This enthusiasm is a consistent facet of all areas of her work.
Moreover, she is a professional, supportive, tenacious and emotionally intelligent leader, which coupled with her technical knowledge of the vocational education sector makes her a highly effective and efficient senior manager.”

Feb 18