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Francesca Walker-Martin

Reader in Work Based Learning, Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship Course Leader
School of Business

As an academic with a practitioner background in Business Development, Management, Project Management, Training and Development, Change Management and Work-based Learning, Fran has a passion for roles that introduce change, enhance productivity and develop people.

Developing leadership and management potential is highly rewarding, Fran has been honoured to have worked on a number of UCLan Leadership Development Programmes; working with talented and determined people is always challenging but it is a challenge that she relishes. It is always a pleasure to see student's 'lightbulb moments' when something which seemed irrelevant in the classroom suddenly comes to life.

Fran is committed to providing challenge and support environments within the classroom and has developed a wide range of practical games to enhance skills and embed learning. She is a regular contributor at the ASET annual conference, providing practical examples to encourage student engagement. With a strong focus on work based and placement learning, Fran has contributed widely to the current understanding of the value of applied learning in the workplace. Further information can be found on her LinkedIn Page

Fran has a portfolio career and regularly refers to her current role as her 6th career. Originally working in adult mental health (career 1) becoming one of the youngest care home managers at 24, she found that this wasn't the job of her dreams and moved on to a role as a head hunter (career 2), which didn't fit with her personal values, then to Executive Personal Assistant (career 3) which taught her that management was interesting. Her 4th career was within Higher Education, moving through a range of roles from recruitment to project management, before embarking on her 5th career as a senior manager in local government focussing on the development of a pathway from entry to degree level for childcare workers across Lancashire (workforce of c11,000). As she moved through her career(s), Fran discovered the importance of learning through experience, spending 7 years as a part-time lecturer in Information Technology, then joining the UCLan team in 2008 as an Employability Lecturer. In 2010, Fran joined the School of Business as a Senior Lecturer with a remit to develop employability initiatives, such as working on funded programmes with local government to enhance small and medium sized businesses, developing 48 week placement opportunities locally, nationally and internationally, developing and delivering an extra-curricular leadership programme (LaunchPad) and teaching a range of subjects from Project Management to Professional Skills.

A passion for and commitment to placements and work based learning led Fran to work closely with ASET, the Work Based and Placement Learning Association. Joining the Board as a Trustee and Director in 2015, she focussed on supporting the research community within the organisation and also provided work based and placement training across the country. In 2018 she was elected Vice Chair and in 2019, Chair. With the introduction of the Degree Apprenticeships in 2017, Fran became the Course Leader for the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA), one of the first degrees to roll out in the UK. As an early adopter of the new degree Fran remains committed to sharing her experience across UCLan and the wider Higher Education community to support colleagues and share best practice. In 2019 her sustained contribution to the field was recognised through the award of Reader in Work Based Learning.