Aspire Leadership Team

At Aspire, we always align ourselves with people who care about what they do, and that want to make a positive contribution to shaping and educating our children, learners, and communities. This is why our purpose is, Inspiring learners. Shaping a sustainable future.

We take great pride in creating a dynamic and high-quality training environment. Our team consists of dedicated and well-qualified staff members, led by a passionate leadership team committed to providing top-notch training to both our learners and employers. We ensure that every learner and their respective employer receive comprehensive support to uphold the highest standards of quality at all times..

Find out more about the team below…


Cheryl Hadland

Founder and Chairwoman

Aspire Training Team was founded in 1997 by Cheryl Hadland, 7 years after opening the first ever Tops Day Nurseries, Tops Parkstone. At this time, Aspire Training Team was under its original name,  Tops Training and was based in within the nursery.

Tops Training started with just 1 Assessor, Cheryl training 4 apprentices. As Tops welcomed more nurseries to the family, more assessors joined and by 2002 the team had 5 assessors.

           Sam King


I joined Aspire in November 2020 as the Operations Director. While I had had a long career in operations, I was new to the early years sector having spent my career in the NHS and then the senior care sector. I have had the privilege of leading various operational roles and witnessing first-hand the positive impact effective operations can have on individuals’ lives.

When the opportunity arose to join Aspire, I embraced the challenge of transitioning into a new sector. The early years industry presents unique opportunities and challenges, and I have been invigorated by the chance to apply my skills and expertise to this vital field. The dedication and enthusiasm of our team have been truly inspiring, and I am grateful to work alongside such talented individuals.

Harriet Pacey

Sales & Marketing Director

I joined the company as Business Development Manager in 2017. I hold a Masters in Early Years Education and have Early Years Teacher Status. Prior to that, I had worked in various roles in the Early Year sector, including owning/managing a nursery and being a management consultant for a number of other settings.

My first degree is in Business Studies; how businesses work have always interested me greatly and I think it’s really important that those involved in the Early Years sector have a good understanding of the business model it’s built on and what’s required to keep it sustainable.


Amy Alderson

Director of Operations

I joined Aspire training Team in April 2023 as an accomplished Operations Director with over 20 years of experience in the early years sector.

Throughout my career, I have played a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth and efficient operations of multiple establishments, coupled with building lasting relationships with stakeholders. I am dedicated to excellence and foster a culture of continuous improvement for both our colleagues and learners.

My extensive background in the early years Education sector has equipped me with a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities within this sector and the importance of high-quality training. Amy is an Early Years Professional holding a post graduate qualification as well as a Early Years Degree.


Kelly Medley

Director of Quality and Audit

With a career spanning over two decades in the Early Years and education sector, I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to my role as the Director of Quality and Audit at Aspire Training Team. I embarked on my professional journey as one of the very first company apprentices in April 1997. Since then, I have dedicated my entire career to this sector, honing my expertise from the age of 17.

In my current capacity, I hold the position of ensuring the delivery of a high-quality curriculum to our learners. As the Director of Quality and Audit, my responsibilities include guaranteeing that our trainers cater to diverse learning styles and needs, maintaining compliance with funding bodies and awarding organisations, and serving as the nominated lead for Ofsted and Matrix. My role also involves collaborating closely with sector leads to ensure the delivery of excellent teaching and learning experiences.

I am also Aspire Training Teams designated safeguarding lead, emphasising the importance of creating a secure and nurturing environment for all our learners. Through my dedication and continuous efforts, I contribute significantly to Aspire Training Team’s commitment to providing high quality education and empowering individuals with the skills they need to thrive in their learning journeys.


Donna Burt

Training Team Manager

In 1999, I embarked on my apprenticeship journey at Tops  Parkstone, successfully completing Levels 2 and 3 in Early Years apprenticeship. As I advanced in my career, I assumed the role of supervisor for the 2-3-year-old group. However, life took a different course as I started my own family, leading me to transition into the Training Team, where I earned my A1 assessors qualifications.

I had the privilege of serving as the Key Assessor for both Tops Parkstone and Tops Wareham. With the transformation of Tops Training into Aspire Training Team, we began our journey to diverse locations, including external sites and the expanding network of nurseries.

My commitment to professional growth continued as I attained the Internal Verifiers award, followed by Teaching qualifications, specifically PTTLS and CTTLS. Today, I take immense pride in my role as the Training Team manager, contributing to the dynamic and ever-expanding business and continue to add qualifications to my armour.


Rob Arnold

Business Development Manager

I joined Aspire Training Team in October 2017 and I am the Business Development Manager. I have worked in various roles within the Sales and Business Development sector and am responsible for the Business Development Team.

With the support of my Team I am responsibly for Aspire Training Teams business development activities which include sales and marketing. As well as forming close links with our recruitment team.

The part of my job role the most is watching my team develop and grow and forming close relationships with the employers that we work with.


Becky Pratten

Senior Foundation Learning Manager

I started as a nursery apprentice at a Wareham nursery in 2002. Throughout my apprenticeship I worked with all age ranges from 3 months – 5 years. After completing my NVQ level 2 and key skills level 1, I was promoted to nursery assistant where I went on to complete my NVQ level 3, key skills level 2 and became supervisor of the preschool.

February 2005 saw a new challenge for me as I moved on from the nursery and worked as a child minder and in catering. During this time, I completed my A1 award whilst also volunteering in a nursery.

In 2008 I joined Aspire Training Team as an NVQ Assessor for Level 2 and 3 Early Years.

In 2012 I became Foundation Learning Manager for the Level 1 Childcare course.

During my role as Foundation Learning Manager I have taken on the of marketing the course, recruitment as well as the delivery. I work with 16-18 year olds who have a passion for childcare that need support before progressing into an apprenticeship. This role brings me so much variety and challenge and is so rewarding to see their personal achievements. I now run the Study Programme’s for Aspire and my role has changed to ensuring Tutors deliver the course to a high standard.

I am still in charge of recruiting new students, getting them on-board and love seeing them achieve. I enjoy working with external agencies who are also supporting these young people and sharing information about my course to help others achieve their career goals. It’s great to visit the nurseries and see so many previous level 1 students whose careers have continued to develop with some now in senior/management roles.

Qualifications include; NVQ EYCE levels 2 & 3, Key skills levels 1 & 2, A1 Assessors award, Food Hygiene, Health and Safety, Paediatric First Aid, Child Protection and PTLLS (Preparing To Teach In The Life Long Learning Sector), TLLS (Certificate), IQA Award.


Zoe Horsefield

Early Years Team Leader

In my role as Early Years Team Leader at Aspire, I have over 15 years of educational experience, offering a wealth of expertise. As a qualified Teacher, my commitment extends to nurturing and educating children, learners, and Aspire staff alike. I also serve as a Mentor, guiding new staff members and facilitating their journey towards becoming exceptional trainers. Managing a team is another aspect of my role, all while maintaining a caseload of learners ensuring I stay current and relevant with all roles. In addition, I fulfil the vital role of a Mental Health First Aider, providing support to learners and staff in need, underscoring my dedication to our community’s overall well-being.

My journey as the Early Years Team Leader at Aspire reflects my unwavering dedication to early education, staff development, and the holistic well-being of our learning community. With extensive experience, qualifications, and multifaceted responsibilities, I strive to continue making a positive impact on learners’ lives and fostering the professional growth of educators within our organization.


Stephen Meakin

Team Leader, Business Team

I joined Aspire in September 2018 when I joined as a Business Skills Assessor.

Since then, I have gained the position of Business team leader, IQA and functional skills lead for the Business team and Aspire.
I completed my Assessor award and PTLLS award with LearnDirect whom I worked for, for nearly five years supporting learners in both the business and hospitality sectors to achieve their awards and qualifications. Prior to working for LearnDirect I was employed in the Hospitality sector for over 25 years in various positions with my last position in hospitality as general manager of a prestigious hotel and golf club near Guildford.

Over the years I have experienced many different roles whilst ‘climbing the ladder’ and feel that I am able to apply these experiences in my role, to ensure I am supporting learners, trainers, and managers effectively.