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Our People

Steve Woolcock - Chief Executive Officer

Welcome to First Rung!

Here at First Rung we have been supporting young people for over 38 years, helping them make that first step into a good job with training and prospects.  The team is passionate about delivering the very best training and personal support in a dynamic, fun and friendly environment.

What we offer:

  • Caring, genuine and highly professional staff who do everything they can to help young people achieve their objectives including vocational qualifications, jobs, further education and apprenticeships
  • High expectations for all of our learners, regardless of their starting point
  • Great employer opportunities in the local area.
  • A safe and nurturing environment

First Rung has built its reputation on delivering quality training for young people in an environment where everyone feels safe, valued and respected.  With First Rung, learners can start their career and build for the future.

Senior Management Team:

Denis Dillon, Deputy CEO 

Francesca Muratori, Head of Centres and Inclusion


Our Board members are:

Frank Longsworth, Temporary Chair of the Board of Trustees & Chair of Quality & Personnel Working Party - Frank has worked in customs for 37 years through its various stages of evolution from HM Customs and Excise to HM Revenue and Customs and now United Kingdom Border Agency; the majority of his time has been spent managing teams investigating customs, excise and VAT offences. He is currently working part time on various projects for UKBA. Prior to becoming a trustee at First Rung he was a mentor for the Prince's Trust, he regularly undertakes mock interviews for students in year 11 at a school in Leytonstone.

Alan WarnerBoard Member. Treasurer of First Rung and Chair of the Finance and Premises Committee. After qualification as a Chartered Management Accountant and a financial career in industry with Unilever and Associated British Foods, Alan entered management education with Ashridge Business School, first as Director of Administration and later Director of Studies. He then formed his own management training business, designing and running courses in finance and business for managers from a range of international companies. Since his recent retirement he has taken Trustee positions at First Rung and two other charitable organisations.

Omar Ahmed, Board Member. After graduating as an engineer, Omar pursued a commercial career initially within the IT industry but quickly moving on to business strategy and change management. Over the years he has steadily completed more and more significant roles across blue chip energy companies, investment houses, information providers and media companies.  Along the way, picking up a CIMA qualification.  Omar now runs his own strategic change and business development consultancy where he balances the needs of a targeted client base with his ever increasing responsibilities as a trustee of a number of varied charities.

NaySoe Naing, Board Member. Nay works as a Financial Planning & Analysis analyst at Equiniti. Previously, he spent 6 years at PwC in its Assurance line of service where he qualified as a Chartered Account (ACA). Before his professional career, Nay studied Chemical Engineering at University of Birmingham and went to College in Croydon. Nay is originally from Myanmar and have been in the UK for over 13 years, he came to the country for better education and highly values the life opportunities it brings. In his spare time, Nay follows and plays football and enjoys exploring the city.

Juliet Szabo-Merridew, Board member. Juliet brings extensive talent strategy, culture transformation and organisational development expertise and experience having led global talent and OD teams and projects across government, commercial and not for profit sectors.

Having held leadership positions with the British Council, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and ACCA, Juliet currently leads Strive Global Talent, a global talent consultancy that facilitates organisations to create and sustain the conditions for high engagement and high performance.

Juliet gained her first degree from the University of Surrey and has an MSc in Development management from the Open University. She also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management with Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD)in the UK, she is an ICF accredited executive coach and a qualified workplace mediator.

Juliet lives in London with her partner, her son Zoltan and daughter Zita. She enjoys cycling, baking, exploring new places and supporting the football team of her home town, Leeds United.

Jitesh Dodhia, Board member. Qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse. Since qualification, he has focussed on financial planning and analysis, business partnering and business intelligence. He has supported companies in planning and developing strategy, monitoring performance and providing business insights. His breadth of experience spans from global listed companies to SME businesses across multiple sectors. He has held finance positions at Santander UK, Genworth and AIG.

He holds a BSc (Economics) in Accounting & Finance from London School of Economics.

For more information please contact: