Retail and skills champion Ann Cadman retires from The Source

  • December 14, 2016

One of the city’s foremost champions of getting people into work is to retire from her leadership of Sheffield’s flagship training academy.

Ann Cadman OBE has spent 13 years as managing director of The Source Skills Academy,  the not-for-profit charitable organisation she developed from dream to nationally respected training and development centre.

“It is time to step down from an organisation I am so proud of and hand over the reins, which is vital to the ongoing success of any organisation,” said Ann.

The award-winning academy at Meadowhall has greeted over a million training and conference visitors, trained 7,000 work-based learners, found work for over 4,000 and helped over 600 young people not in education or training to find a future.

Launched in 2003, its existence is down to a unique plan, forged between public and private sector, to help local communities struggling with unemployment. And it was steered from raw idea to reality by Ann Cadman.

Ann, who lives in Ranmoor, studied hotel and institutional management at Sheffield Hallam. Her first job in facilities management at Weston Park Hospital, was followed by time in retail and education.

She joined the services management team at the newly opened Meadowhall shopping complex, and moved into HR.

She explained: “Meadowhall was inundated with requests for support from community groups. Industries had shed jobs and there were people struggling to rebuild their lives.

“I realised a facility was needed to link the local community with local business for training and access to jobs.”

Ann created a business plan for a charitable organisation which could generate the income to support itself long-term and plough profits into supporting businesses in towns and city centres, community groups and charities.

Sheffield City Council teamed with British Land, owner of the Meadowhall site, to ensure the retail centre became more than simply a section of the city where people went to shop. The Source Skills Academy, the first of its kind in the UK, opened in 2003 with Ann at the helm.

Said Ann: “The Source plays a central part in attracting to this region both inward investors and shoppers. We work with major retailers like Ikea moving into the region.  Our customer service training has improved the retail experience for millions and The Source is spearheading a campaign to make the region a WorldHost Destination by next summer, which will train city employees to the service standard seen at the London Olympics and put the region on the map for excellent customer care.”

Ann, who received an OBE in 2014 for her services to the community, is equally proud of the Source’s award-winning apprentice programme, expected to be awarded a Grade 1 with Ofsted by 2017.

Said Ann: “The amazing team at The Source put their hearts into their work and have changed  lives.

“They have helped people unemployed for years to find work, given young people with low self-esteem a direction and helped struggling businesses to prosper. This has a massive impact on our local community and its economy and the memories of people’s smiles, of lives changed, are what I walk away with.”

Ann will be handing over her position as Vice Chair of the Sheffield City Region LEP Retail Steering Group and her involvement with the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce & Industry Council, Don Valley Steering Group Committee and Rotherham Business Growth Board.

She will continue her steering group roles with Revo Community Engagement (formerly the British Council of Shopping Centres) and the Tinsley Art Project and is taking her expertise into other arenas as a consultant. She also plans to spend more time with her grandson, husband Arthur and her daughters Katherine and Denise.

John Mothersole, chief executive of Sheffield City Council, paid tribute to Ann’s dynamism. “When The Source was set-up, it was pioneering – and it still is,” he said. “The fact that it has kept itself at the forefront with energy and quality is down to Ann. I don’t know what fuel she runs on, but I’d like some of it!

“The Source has had an impact on the careers of thousands. The city and the City Region have quite simply got more talented young people into jobs and careers because of Ann.”