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.


Employer Engagement Officer

Employer Engagement Officer

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.


Job Broker (Cheltenham and N. Cotswolds)

Job Broker (Cheltenham and N. 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 (Gloucester)

Job Broker (Gloucester)

Ben Waters

I am the new job broker for Gloucester, my role will be working with customers to find suitable paid employment as well as run forwards work clubs. I have previous experience of working with adults with learning disabilities, I have worked in social care for seven years working at Mencap, National Star College and Gloucestershire County Council in the enablement team.

As a kid I wanted to be a wrestler, no idea why! I am also training to be a florist and have started setting up a small business called Sable’s Hidden Florist (named after my evil cat!)


Job Broker (Stroud and Forest of Dean)

Job Broker (Stroud and Forest of Dean)

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.


Navigator Developer

Navigator Developer

Michaela Elliot

*Coming soon*


Supported Internship Coordinator

Supported Internship Coordinator

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!


Supported Internship Job Broker

Supported Internship Job Broker

David Perry

Coming Soon


Team Administrator

Team Administrator

John Griffey

I have recently joined the exciting, growing Forwards team, part of Gloucestershire County Council, and my role is administration assistant.

My experience is largely based in graphics design and administration.

When I was a child, I wanted to be an airplane designer, to design most innovative jet fighter and commercial planes.


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