Cath Sutherland is the original founder of the Virtual Learning Academy. After 30 years of managing successful teams and as a multi award winning manager she completed her Post Graduate in Leadership & Management. She then used this to write, design and deliver programmes to develop managers at all levels of the organisation.
Her passion is to bring learning to those who have encountered challenges along the way to achieving or gaining a qualification. Her team work on a candidate led basis identifying each individuals barriers to learning and helping them to overcome and achieve.
Outside of work she spends her time with her family, dogs and avoiding cooking!
Michelle has been with the VLA since its inception. Roles in previous organisations have included being an IT trainer and managing fast moving teams.
She has been instrumental in developing and supporting the business changing her role to help the business grow and thrive. She now oversees our quality and compliance and has the unenviable task of auditing our adherence so she keeps us on our toes!
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two young boys and is an avid runner.
Louise has been instrumental in the growth of the Virtual Learning Academy in recent years. Louise is responsible for business development and maintaining customer engagement.
She has over 25 years experience of working in recruitment and business development, the last 18 years of which have been within the Highlands business community.
Louise is driven by exceeding client expectations and nurturing client relationships across all sectors and industries. Louise is a lifelong learner and having recently completed her Diploma in Digital Marketing she is now soon to complete her specialist certificate in social selling with the Digital Marketing Institute. When not working or learning, louise is mum to two young children and enjoys the outdoors and eating out.
Recently promoted to Head of Delivery, Mhairi has previously been a Learning consultant and Internal Verifier for a range of frameworks including IT, Data Analytics, Digital Application Support, Management, Digital Marketing and Business & Administration within the VLA.
Mhairi previously worked as network engineer and brings this knowledge and experience to her role within VLA. She is a passionate supporter of woman entering and working in the STEM industries and has recently become a STEM ambassdor.
As well as supporting candidates through IT, Digital and Management qualifications Mhairi oversees our Quality Assurance delivery ensuring we retain our highest standards of confidence from our accrediting bodies. She oversees our Foundation Apprenticeship programme and looks after our health & well-being.
In her spare time, Mhairi enjoys keeping fit, reading, watching films and doing yoga. She also likes getting out and about with her family and Harris her springer spaniel.
It surprises me that Zoe’s title is Administrator. At the VLA, she is so much more. Zoe keeps us right, keeps us organised and keeps us in line!
After spending her formative years in London successfully running hospitality businesses, Kerry relocated to Inverness and retrained in the finance sector. Kerry comes from an extensive commercial and practice background, having achieved a BA in Accounting and Finance through UHI and successfully completed the AAT qualification, gaining fellow member status in 2021. Kerry is well versed in dealing with all aspects of Personal Tax, Company Accounts and Payroll.
Before coming to work at The Virtual Learning Academy I spent two years with MacGregor Industrial Supplies in Inverness as their Training Coordinator which covered a whole host of training needs development and this is where I was introduced to The VLA who we used for staff going through their Modern Apprenticeships. Prior to MacGregors I worked for four years for a Glasgow based Training Provider covering the Highlands as a SVQ Modern Apprenticeship Assessor covering mostly Business Admin, Freight Logistics.
I really enjoy being involved with vocational qualifications and am looking forward to working with the fantastic staff here.
With over 30 years of experience in a variety of roles in different industries in Scotland and New Zealand, including Retail, Aged Care and Security, I thrive on helping an organisation achieve its goals through the capability of its people. I also believe in looking at systems to ensure the processes are in place support everyone to get the job done right first time!
Most recently I was the National Training Manager for a security company in Auckland, where part of the role was developing training programmes to help our staff gain a formal qualification to recognise the skills and knowledge that they use on a daily basis. I strongly believe that when people are trained to do their jobs properly, a vocational qualification is a logical outcome from developing the knowledge and skills they require to do their job well.
As well as delivering face to face training workshops, I’ve recently started to develop online learning programmes to make it easier for everyone to access learning, in bite sized chunks, as a time that suits them. This really helped during the Covid-19 pandemic when we were unable to deliver face to face training workshops, but still needed to make sure our staff were safe and delivering great customer service. I’ve recently returned to Scotland after 21 years in Auckland, New Zealand to be closer to family. In my spare time I enjoy golf and gardening, although that may be more seasonal than in Auckland!