Team

Meet the great team.
Assistant Manager

Assistant Manager

Kirsten Smart

I am the Assistant Manager for the Forwards Employment Team, supporting the team to assist individuals towards their employment goals. Before this, I was the employment support co-ordinator, meeting with new referrals to the employment team and completing initial assessments. I promote the Forwards Employment Service at events where I network with organisations so we can work in partnership to help those with disabilities gain employment.

I have worked for GCC for 7 years, firstly working in a day centre for adults with learning disabilities and then I moved to the Enablement Team. Prior to working at Gloucestershire County Council I worked for a variety of care organisations.

When I was a child, I wanted to be a nun or an RSPCA inspector.


Education Link Advisor

Education Link Advisor

Dan Furmage

My role involves me working with Schools and Colleges to help students with a disability to learn about employment. I’m running work shops with students to find out about work, complete CV’s and look the 30/30 challenge to see what it’s like in the job people want. Most importantly I will help people look for part time work on evenings, weekends or during the holidays.

I’ve been working in Gloucestershire County Council a long time and was working in the Enablement Team, until I started this role. My role in the Enablement Team was all about making people more independent in the community and in their homes and finding ways for people to be more independent.

When I was a child, I wanted to be a cartoonist. I spent a lot of my time, drawing, colouring and creating stories. I loved reading comics, watching cartoons and using my imagination. I’m still quite creative, but now it’s more music than art. I’m in a band and love writing songs and recording - kind of similar really!


Employer Engagement Oficer

Employer Engagement Oficer

Alice Martin

My goal is to connect with employers across the county, building relationships, in order to create opportunities for disabled people. I am enthusiastic about helping disabled people to realise their aspirations and have the opportunity to fulfil their potential in employment.

I am a member of Carers Gloucestershire. I have practical experience in working with disabled people. During my previous working life I have held positions in IT as a Software Developer and as a Technical Support Engineer.

When I was a small child, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer.


Employment Support Co-ordinator

Employment Support Co-ordinator

Sarah Bailey

My current role includes meeting customers for the first time to gather information on what support they need if looking for employment opportunities should it be paid, voluntary work, skill building courses or paid employment. I also can work as a job coach to support a customer to learn their role at wok.

My experience is quite vast working with people with disabilities. I have worked in long stay hospitals, day care, 1 – 1 support in the community or a persons home, community homes, relief until I started work in my current role at Coleford drop in and Forwards employment team.

When I was a child I really can not remember wanting to do any particular job but as a teenager I just remember wanting to earn some money so I could buy my own pony!


Intensive Job Broker

Intensive Job Broker

Marika Patterson

I currently work as the Intensive Support Job Broker within Forwards for the Continuing Care Health team. My role is to individually support customers into retaining their employment or finding suitable career pathways which will eventually lead them into sustainable paid employment. Working very closely with our Customer I give them individual support which could range from 1:1 meetings, work trials, or even employment visits.

I previously worked at Gloucestershire College as a Job Coach with young people who were NEET as well as in our Foundation Studies department working with young with Learning Differences or Disabilities, where I supported them to gain more insight and understanding of Employability. Working there for over 6 years gave me the opportunity to gain experience in a Education setting with a wide range of students from various backgrounds with a wide range of abilities.

When I was a child, I cant really remember what I wanted to be, however during my teenage years I wanted to be an Archaeologist or a Sociologist, as well as a Writer. This is definitely something I still want to do.


Job Broker (Cheltenham and South Cotswolds)

Job Broker (Cheltenham and South Cotswolds)

David Blackaby

For over 35 years I worked within the IT industry and became a seasoned Business Consultant specialising in Project Management, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery working within the financial industry in the UK and the Middle East. Back in early 2011 I was offered an opportunity to help people with disabilities find and sustain paid employment. The decision to take up the role of Job Broker / Coach was one of the best career decisions I have made. Over the last 6 years working with disability, I have been privileged to meet many different people with varying special needs and have managed to support them in finding paid employment which has in turn helped them to improve their lives both socially and financially.

A life in the forces appealed so when I became 13 year old, I joined the Air Training Cadets where I managed learn about airplanes and lift – the principle of flight.


Job Broker (Coleford)

Job Broker (Coleford)

Vicky De Cloedt

I am a job broker for the Forwards Employment team. I support our customers find sustainable paid employment and also work with employers to identify suitable roles. As part of my role, I also run the Forwards Work Club every week in Coleford, where I focus on job skills such as interview practice, CV building and personal presentation.

I have a varied working history that has largely centred around working with people with Learning Disabilities; I have worked as both Teacher and Teaching Assistant within our local SEND Schools and more recently in roles within the Adults with Learning Disabilities Commissioning Team.

When I was younger I wanted to be on the Television – but that would be my worst nightmare now!


Job Broker (Gloucester)

Job Broker (Gloucester)

Noor Al-Koky

I am the job broker for Gloucester, working with individuals on a 1:1 basis to ultimately find them paid employment in their chosen industry. I am also a TSI trained job coach, assisting customers in the workplace when needed to learn the necessary skills.

When I was four years old, I wanted to be a primary school teacher. However, at the age of 8, I changed direction and dreamed of being a lawyer, aspiring to make a difference to the world.


Job Broker (Stroud and North Cotswolds)

Job Broker (Stroud and North Cotswolds)

Neil Hampton

I am a job broker for Gloucestershire County Council. In this role I support our customers find sustainable employment through regular 1:1 meetings and training. I also run the Forwards Job Club every week.

My previous experience comes from working with Learn Direct as an enrolment officer. Whilst with Learn Direct, I placed individuals into Level 1 to Level 3 apprenticeships.

When I was younger, I wanted to be a professional athlete, specifically, 100 meter Olympic Champion.


Job Broker (Tewkesbury)

Job Broker (Tewkesbury)

Carole Postins

I work as a Job Broker for Tewkesbury. My role is to find paid work for people with disabilities and also to work with employers to identify suitable jobs and help them to fill them. I have worked with people with disabilities for many years and in many different jobs. I enjoy this role as it can really make a difference to someone when they get their first paid job.

When I was a child I used to tap dance everywhere and I loved being on the stage – usually at the front. My dad wanted me to be a professional tennis player, which I wasn’t impressed with. Nowadays I am much less extrovert, but I still love music and dance (not sport!)


Team Admin Assistant

Team Admin Assistant

Steve Pearce

I am currently an Administrator with the Forwards Team at Gloucestershire County Council. My role incorporates helping all the members of the team with: general admin duties, preparing and using spreadsheets for Employers and Applicants alike, liaising and working with Job Coaches, Management and staff and preparing and using advertising and marketing information for all relevant parties

My previous roles have included: the Royal Navy, a Financial Adviser with Equity & Law, and IFA with a number of local Brokerages, a Tutor of Mortgage Qualifications for Trainees (CeMAP), Independent Mortgage Broker and working as a temporary employee with Jobcentre Plus, Gloucester. I have also thoroughly enjoyed the Voluntary work I continue to do by helping and assisting the membership locally of the Gloucester & Forest of Dean group of the MS Society.

When I was a child I wanted to be involved with the British Armed Forces and specifically the RN. I also wanted to help as many people as I could that have a disability be successful in whatever they want to do with their lives.


"The two most common barriers to work among adults with impairments are a lack of job opportunities (43%), and difficulty with transport (29%)"