UCEA Staff

UCEA's work is carried out by a small team of staff led by the Chief Executive, Helen Fairfoul.

Helen Fairfoul

Chief Executive


Helen has been UCEA Chief Executive since October 2012. She plays a lead role in representing the UK higher education sector in all employment matters, and in the collective negotiations with the sector trade unions in relation to pay and related matters. Helen also leads for UCEA at a European level where she sits on the HE Working Group of the European Social Dialogue in Education. Helen first joined UCEA in the role of Deputy Chief Executive in 2007. Previous roles have been as HR Director and Clerk to Council at the University of Roehampton and as a Director of Personnel within local government. She is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, an Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Employment Studies and her qualifications include an MBA and a first degree in History. 

Roshan Israni

Deputy Chief Executive


Roshan is UCEA’s Deputy Chief Executive with  senior management experience in HR and Organisational Development, gained through work in the not for profit and private sectors: local government, the NHS and Probation Services. Roshan has developed a strong combination of employee relations experience and a wide range of general HR management and OD experience. Roshan has undertaken extensive consultations and negotiations with various local, regional and national trade unions and has led on successful employee engagement, organisational cultural transformation and restructuring programmes. A Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, Roshan’s qualifications include a Master's degree in Management Studies and a first degree in Science.

Andy Fryer

Head of Communications & Membership


Andy is responsible for membership satisfaction as well as developing and delivering an effective external relations strategy for UCEA and its members. Andy provides communications advice and support to members and plays a key role in managing UCEA's public profile and its membership development. He previously held senior posts at a number of further and higher education institutions and his qualifications include a Masters in Communications Management. 

Nicola Carter

Head of HR Advice


Nicola is responsible for oversight of UCEA's HR employment advisory services to members. This includes guidance on employee relations and industrial action; employee engagement; developments in employment practice in HE; and changes in employment law. The advisory team is also responsible for UCEA's work on clinical academics and health and safety in HE. She is part of the UCEA team that works on the New JNCHES multi-employer pay bargaining rounds and is Secretary to New JNCHES.

Alison McGrand

Senior Employment Policy Adviser


Alison joined the team in 2018 and works with Nicola on the delivery of UCEA's HR advisory services to members. This includes guidance on employee relations and industrial action; employee engagement; developments in employment practice in HE; changes in employment law and joint work with the sector trade unions on the gender pay gap.

Emelda Nicholroy

Head of Pensions Policy


Emelda oversees UCEA's work on pensions, guiding and representing higher education institutions as employers in relation to all pensions matters. She represents higher education on the public sector schemes offered within HE institutions. Emelda brings to the role wide ranging experience from both in-house pensions arrangements and consultancy, and has a background in providing technical pensions expertise to employers and Trustees of large DB, DC and hybrid pensions arrangements.

Richard Paul

Senior Pensions Technical Adviser


Richard is responsible for providing UCEA members with technical support on the issues that affect pension provision within the HE sector, as well as engaging with schemes in relation to policy and operational issues. Richard's previous experience includes project managing pension schemes through the Pension Protection Fund assessment period and providing secretarial and governance consulting services to Trustee Boards of FTSE250 company DB and DC pension schemes.

Laurence Hopkins

Head of Research


Laurence is responsible for leading our research and survey services to ensure that we provide timely and high-quality research, analysis and information on reward and employment issues. He is part of the UCEA team that works in New JNCHES negotiations. Laurence represents UCEA on the Concordat Groups which oversee the implementation of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. Previous roles include researcher at The Work Foundation and senior analyst at the Change Institute. Laurence holds an MSc in Public Policy from UCL, is a Chartered Member of the CIPD and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Hayfa Mohdzaini

Senior Researcher


Hayfa is responsible for UCEA's pay and workforce benchmarking, including the Senior Staff Remuneration Survey and the Salary Survey of Higher Education Staff, and provides research and analysis on HE reward and employment issues. Previously Hayfa worked as a researcher in the IDS Pay & Reward team and as a senior HR officer at a multinational company covering employee relations and organisational development. Hayfa holds a MA in Industrial Relations and Managing Human Resources from Warwick Business School and is an associate member of the CIPD.

Rebecca Gregg



Rebecca works on a wide range of benchmarking and research products and services. She is the lead for UCEA’s sickness absence survey and workforce survey and provides labour market and economic analysis to support UCEA in representing its members in national pay negotiations. Prior to joining UCEA Becky was a market researcher for education research agency Shift Learning and an Associate Analyst at Korn Ferry, supporting its higher education pay services. She holds a BSc in Political Economy from King’s College London as well as a Market Research Society certificate in market and social research. 

Sharron Powley

Head of Events


Sharron carries overall responsibility for UCEA's learning and development programme for members plus other events. She develops and oversees delivery of UCEA's annual programme comprising conferences, seminars, master classes and workshops. Sharron has a background working in HR in the HE sector and also in membership services. Sharron is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and holds an MA in Strategic Human Resource Management.

Marc Whittaker

Communications and Events Manager


Marc's role is split between our communications and events functions. He monitors and responds to media coverage of industrial relations and pay and pensions in the sector, supports members with their communications messaging and manages the production of UCEA publications. He also works on development and delivery of the UCEA programme of conferences and other members' events. He has previously held marketing, communications and events focused posts in HE, FE and the private sector. He is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

Lucy Thompson

Business Administrator (Events)


Lucy is the administrator for UCEA's programme of conferences, seminars, workshops and other events. She manages delegate bookings and liaises with speakers and venues.

Matt Lloyd

Head of Business Support


Matt is responsible for ensuring the operational effectiveness of UCEA, including its financial, administrative and IT management and delivering some of our member services. Over the last 18 months he has overseen the upgrade and transformation of UCEA’s technological infrastructure in order to help us deliver an even better service to members in the digital age. Matt began his career in the IT industry before spending 14 years working at membership organisations in the health and care sector in a variety of communications, membership and senior operational roles. He holds a BSc in Environmental Studies.

Kayleigh Lerwill

PA to the Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive


Kayleigh supports the UCEA leadership and senior team with diary management, meetings and events as well as providing support and administrative assistance to our Board. As part of the Business Support team she is a key point of contact for enquiries from UCEA members. Kayleigh also assists with research and project work, including case studies. She holds a degree in English Literature and is currently studying for a Master's degree in Law.

Victoria Gillespie

Business Administrator (Research and JNCHES)


Victoria is responsible for providing administrative support to the JNCHES secretary and Research team. Victoria also assists with in-house design and publication production. 

Graeme Drury

Finance and Business Support officer


Graeme is the Finance and Business Support officer and is responsible for membership and organisational finance administration. Graeme supports UCEA officers across the team and assists with enquiries. He provides the team with IT management and support and has recently completed his Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Advanced qualification.