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Our team is comprised of consulting professionals with extensive experience of designing and delivering vocational educational framework. As well as a scholarship team, who provide dedicated pastoral care and work to ensure international students gain maximum benefit from their time in New Zealand.


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Garry Fissenden

Director, Skills International

Garry is a highly experienced business leader, with an extensive career primarily in financial services and Information Communications Technology.

Garry has a diverse strategic and operational skill set gained from a number of senior management, consulting, and governance roles. He has successfully led a range of businesses in New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific Islands, in addition to being a strategy consultant.

He also has strong not-for-profit governance experience, being the Chair of a national sport in New Zealand and on the international board for that sport.

Taking a strong customer focus to all of his roles and using his broad skill set and experience, Garry builds unique, high-quality customer solutions



Bridget Dennis Skills International

Bridget Dennis

General Manager, Skills International

BMS (Hons)


As the General Manager for Skills International, Bridget ensures Skills International projects are delivered on time, within budget, and to the high standards our customers expect.

Bridget has over 20 years of proven experience in business. Her expertise includes business planning and execution, strategy development, and business development, including strong relationship and project management skills.

Having held management roles in financial, commercial, and government institutions, Bridget’s well-rounded business acumen ensures that Skills International delivers exceptional solutions to our clients.


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Martin Draper

Lead Consultant, Skills International

MSc, BSoc Sci (Hons), BSoc Sci, PPABP

Martin is a highly experienced senior consultant with more than 25 years’ experience in designing vocational education systems, qualifications, competency frameworks, and learning and development strategies.

Martin’s skill set also covers quality assurance, research management, and behavioural assessment and measurement. Combined with a familiarity with both the public and private sectors, this enables him to provide a holistic view of assessing and enhancing both individual and organisational performance.

With a career dominated by senior-level project roles, Martin offers an engaging and flexible style to deliver the best results to Skills International’s clients.




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Cheryl Reid

Head of Assessment, Resources, and Quality, Skills International

Diploma in Adult Education

As Skills International’s quality assurance expert, Cheryl makes sure each Skills International solution meets national standards and is of the highest possible quality.

Cheryl has more than 13 years of experience in auditing for quality assurance. She is an expert in the fields of assessment, moderation, and alignment, ensuring that learning outcomes are aligned to qualifications. Her background working for training providers has also given her vital perspectives on the role they play in the education system.

Her expertise also includes qualification development, best practice assessment methodologies, and working with industry stakeholders for ongoing best practice.



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Lesley O'Dwyer

Head of Business Development, Skills International


As Head of Business for Skills International, Lesley O’Dwyer specialises in business and market development. Her expertise includes RFP management, tender writing, budget planning, project management, planning, strategy and learning and development management. 

Lesley’s strengths lie in building strong stakeholder relationships. She’s particularly adept at understanding and managing client needs.  Having held a number of management positions across a range of industries, Lesley has built up a wealth of experience in managing complex projects and guiding teams to deliver to deadlines at a high standard.

Her project management experience coupled with her business development expertise make her an asset to any project. 


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Catherine Stevens

Research Lead and Learning Consultant, Skills International 


Catherine has well-rounded international experience in higher education, with expertise in learning and development, vocational training, education policy, and research and analysis. She also has extensive experience in stakeholder management, instructional design, and knowledge management.

Catherine has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh and has held teaching positions in tertiary institutions in the UK and New Zealand. She has held roles in consultancy and policy within the New Zealand education sector and has extended this work into developing countries such as Samoa and Vanuatu.

Catherine specialises in working creatively and collaboratively with her clients to identify and deliver high-impact outcomes. With an exceptional combination of analytical skills and teaching and learning expertise, along with a results-oriented approach, Catherine excels at producing effective, modern solutions that are tailored to individual clients' needs.



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Loretta Rutene

Team Leader, Resources, Skills International 

Dip, Cert

Loretta has over 20 years’ experience working in the public sector and a sound knowledge of adult education, workplace learning and assessment. Loretta specialises in developing learning and assessment resources and facilitation of learning workshops. She has recently led successful reviews for New Zealand Qualification Authority of:

National Diploma in Public Sector Māori Level 5 qualification
National Certificate in Public Sector Services (Field Advisor) Level 5 qualification
Public Sector Core Skills domain (unit standards)
Public Sector Māori domain (unit standards)

Loretta also manages The Skills Organisation’s instructional designers and has a comprehensive understanding of blended learning approaches to support workplace learning, Recently, Loretta completed the instructional design of the Induction Programme for the Cook Island’s Public Service Commission.




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Colin James

Qualifications Adviser, Skills International 

CFPCM, CLU, GradDipBusStuds(PFP), Registered Assessor, Associate – GRC Institute.

Colin brings to the Skills International team a wealth of experience in designing qualifications and assessment tools.

Following a 30-year career in financial services, Colin transferred his skills and knowledge to develop qualifications for New Zealand’s financial services industry. He has since applied his expertise to develop competency standards for a wide range of industries, both in New Zealand and overseas. Colin’s areas of work to date include financial services, compliance, specialist trades, and regulatory officers.

Colin’s sound knowledge of industry requirements and good assessment practice enables him to provide vital input to each of Skills International’s solutions.



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Alison Thompson

Senior Consultant, Skills International 


As Skills International's technical, vocational education and training specialist, Alison is very experienced in learning and capability design and delivery. This includes competency-based training and assessment, programme development and moderation withing New Zealand qualification framework programmes. 

Previous experiences saw Alison oversee the implementation of New Zealand apprenticeship programmes and management of existing modern apprenticeship and traineeship programmes.

Alison has over 25 years' experience in both operational leadership, professional development and education roles in a broad range of service organisations, in both public and private sector, commerical and not-for-profit.