Biennale Committee 2024

Andy Brown

CAPLA and Champlain College-Saint Lambert, Canada

Andy has taught for over 30 years in a variety of contexts. For the last 12 years he was a Pedagogical Counsellor at Champlain College-Saint Lambert in Montreal. He had the absolute pleasure and honour of working with a deeply caring and committed RPL (RAC) Team delivering an RPL service towards a college qualification (AEC) in Transport & Logistics.

His research interests include RPL retention/progression, assessment and he believes that the RPL process can be a transformative experience and is a vehicle through which people can realize their own potential and professional goals.

Andy has been on CAPLA’s Board for a number of years, first as a member, then as Vice Chair. He was elected Chair in December 2020. He is excited to collaborate with the amazing Board to continue to meet CAPLA’s mission to its membership and the wider RPL community.

Fergus Craddock

Education and Training Boards Ireland

Fergus has worked in adult and community education and social inclusion for close to twenty years, as formerly the Education Programmes Coordinator in the Dublin Northwest Partnership to his current role as Active Inclusion Manager with ETBI. Fergus holds an MA in Adult and Community Education, Postgraduate Diploma in Criminological Studies and Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation in Social Enterprise.

Dr Ruud Duvekot

European Centre Valuation Prior Learning, The Netherlands

Dr Ruud Duvekot (1960) studied Economic and Social History at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His thesis ‘Leren Waarderen’ [Valuing Learning] (2016) analysed the impact of validating prior (formal, non-formal and informal) learning experiences (VPL) on personalised learning, and the worlds of learning and working.

Since 1994 he manages a longitudinal research programme on the learner’s perspective in lifelong learning and the validation of prior learning in learning cultures and through case studies across the globe. The key-question in this programme focuses on the preconditions and principles of a holistic learning culture in which ‘the learner’s voice’ can effectively be expressed, heard and facilitated.

He is Professor Validation and Work-based Learning in the Netherlands, UNESCO Research Fellow of the UNESCO Institute for LifeLong Learning and chairs the European Centre Valuation Prior Learning (EC-VPL). He developed the VPL Biennale concept in 2014 and hosted the 1st VPL Biennale in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, also in 2014.

Grace Edge

Technological Higher Education Association (THEA), Ireland

Grace Edge is Director of the National Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in Higher Education Project. Funded by the Human Capital Initiative, Pillar 3 (Innovation & Agility), this is a collaborative initiative across fourteen higher education institutions, including the Technological Universities, the previously established Universities and the Institutes of Technology. The project aims to streamline and strengthen RPL, to enhance staff’s capacity to do RPL and to engage with employers to explore RPL opportunities for upskilling/reskilling workers. Grace has almost 20 years’ experience in higher education as a student, administrator and researcher. She is specialised in multi-institutional projects, with a proven track record of initiating and delivering reform to support institutional and national strategy and effective higher education management.

Susan Forseille

Thompson Rivers University, Canada

I have been privileged to work for 22-years at the intersections of career development, prior learning, and education. I have had the privilege of working as the Director of PLAR (prior learning assessment and recognition) at Thompson Rivers University, Canada since 2018. Recent research has been focussed on PLAR persistence, decolonizing PLAR, micro-credential assessment, and how PLAR impacts career development. I am a passionate PLAR advocate and am proud to serve on both the Canadian Association of Prior Learning Board (CAPLA) and the British Columbia Prior Learning Action Network (BCPLAN). Most recently I was honoured to accept a position on the editorial board of Prior Learning Inside Out (PLAIO).

Deirdre Goggin

Munster Technological University (MTU), Ireland

Deirdre Goggin is based within the MTU Extended Campus and has worked in RPL and Work Based Learning (RPL) since 2003.  In that time, she has been actively engaged in many aspects of RPL which have been instrumental in informing practice and policy in MTU. She has contributed to scholarship, policy, practice, procedures and professional development at national, European and international levels.

As part of her role within MTU, Deirdre engages with industry to enhance awareness and opportunities for those within the workplace seeking to upskill, reskill or up-qualify. She has engaged with colleagues within the university on the development of customised solutions to workplace needs incorporating RPL and WBL. Nationally, Deirdre has engaged with many bodies seeking to develop RPL systems and supports in response to changing regulatory and job requirements.

Deirdre Harkin

South East Technological University (SETU), Ireland

My role as Project Lead for Recognition of Prior Learning in South East Technological University (SETU) is an exciting opportunity to build agility into programme provision and create pathways to learning.

I am a highly motivated education professional with over 20 years’ experience in teaching, delivery of professional development and change management. As Regional Development Officer with the National Behaviour Support Service and Assistant National Coordinator with the National Council for Special Education I was committed to embedding inclusive and innovative practice. I am passionate about the provision of high-quality educational opportunities for all learners with a strong focus on delivering transformative and sustainable organisational change. As Project Lead for the Micro-credentials programme at Trinity College Dublin and as a member of the Irish Universities Association MicroCreds team I was responsible for driving the development and delivery of Trinity’s first suite of micro-credentials and in shaping the national MicroCreds framework.

Alan Hogan

Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board

Alan Hogan is a Further Education and Training Manager with Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, the state education and training authority for the Limerick and Clare region in the mid-west of Ireland. Alan manages the Further Education and Training Support Service function of Innovation, Development and Quality within the College of Further Education and Training, with responsibilities for such areas as Quality Assurance, Curriculum Development, Professional Learning and Development, Technology Enhanced Learning, Monitoring and Evaluation, and the development and management of consortium-led apprenticeship programmes.

Limerick and Clare ETB are one of the leading advocates and providers of Recognition of Prior Learning within the further education and training sector in Ireland. In addition to significant development and provision of RPL mechanisms for applicants to achieve certification across the College of FET, the implementation of a Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning process to fully achieve an EQF Level 5 Advanced Certificate in Hairdressing has been recognised nationally and internationally as innovative and ground-breaking, and the case study “Recognition of Prior Learning for the Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Hairdressing” has been included in the recent edition of PLA Inside Out: An International Journal on Theory, Research and Practice in Prior Learning Assessment,

Alan Mandell

Alan Mandell

SUNY Empire State University, USA

Alan Mandell is Professor of Adult Learning and Mentoring at SUNY Empire State University and SUNY Distinguished Service Professor. For more than 40 years, he has served as mentor, administrator, and faculty in the Social Sciences and created workshops and consulted on various aspects of adult learning. With Lee Herman he has written extensively about the role of the mentor, including the book, From Teaching to Mentoring: Principles and Practice, Dialogue and Life in Adult Education. With Elana Michelson, he has written about experiential learning, portfolio development and current issues in adult education (including the edited, “Adult Learning in the Age of Trump and Brexit”), and with Xenia Coulter, he regularly writes about and edits materials on learning and higher education (including the edited, “Adult Educators on Dewey’s Experience and Education”). Recognition includes the Eugene Sullivan Award for Leadership, the SUNY Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Teaching, and for Professional Services, the Empire State University Foundation Award in Mentoring, and the Turben Chair in Adult Learning and Mentoring. With colleague, Nan Travers, he edits the journal PLA InsideOut.

Janet Morris-Reade


Janet Morris-Reade is the CEO of ASPECT BC (Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training).  She works to provide leadership, education, advocacy, and public awareness in support of community-based workforce development service providers, working with government and stakeholders to ensure that the needs of those seeking a meaningful and sustainable livelihood are met. With over 20 years’ experience in the non-profit sector, she serves on a number of boards and committees in BC and Canada.

Siobhan Murray

Donegal Education and Training Board, Ireland

With a strong commitment to facilitating growth and development, Siobhán plays a pivotal role in assisting individuals seeking to engage and achieve formal qualifications through the RPL/ VPL process. Overseeing hundreds of RPL applicants achieve validation, her impact is evident as Donegal ETB’s RPL Provision secured the prestigious 2023 ETB Ireland Excellence in Further Education and Training (FET) Award. An accomplished training consultant, Siobhán’s RPL influence extends across sectors, from healthcare, childcare, financial services and tourism to advocacy and volunteer groups. Her qualifications include a Post Graduate Diploma in Educational Studies (Trinity College Dublin), a Master of Education in Adult and Community Education (NUI Maynooth) and a NFQ Level 9 Certificate in Recognition of Prior Learning (Atlantic Technological University, Donegal). As part of the Donegal ETB’s FET Services Enterprise Engagement team, Siobhán elevates existing workforce skills throughout Donegal and beyond.

Martina Needham


Martina has more than 20 years’ experience with the Further Education and Training (FET) sector in Ireland.  As Adult Education Officer with Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB), validation or recognition of prior learning (RPL) was a key feature of her work in supporting lifelong learning and social inclusion.   She worked on a number of validation projects and initiatives including: the TOBAR project (Defence Forces), validation of transversal skills for low qualified employees in the food processing industry, and supported individuals and groups through the validation process.  Martina worked to ensure that RPL provision was underpinned by quality processes, and was involved with the development of a toolkit of resources to support the FET sector implement RPL as a part of their provision.    She currently provides support, training and guidance to providers who wish to embed validation of non-formal and informal learning as part of their provision.  

Nan Travers

Dr Nan Travers

SUNY Empire State University, USA

Dr. Nan Travers, Director, Center for Leadership in Credentialing Learning at SUNY Empire State University, focuses on research, policies and practices of the recognition, validation, and credentialing of learning. Currently, she is the PI and co-lead for a U.S. Department of Education grant Credential As You Go: Transforming the Credentialing System of the U.S. She has been the PI for multiple grants focused on prior learning assessment and credentialing. Travers serves as founding co-editor for the journal: PLA Inside Out (

Ernesto Villalba

European Center for the Development of Vocational Education and Training (Cedefop)

Ernesto Villalba works at the European Center for the Development of Vocational Education and Training (Cedefop) since 2011. He first started working with the Europass and contributed to the development of the European Skills passport (now My skills). Currently, he is responsible for Cedefop’s work on validation of non-formal and informal learning. He has worked, together with the European Commission, on the monitoring, implementation and evaluation of the 2012 Council Recommendation on validation as well as in the European Inventory and European Guidelines updates.  He has served in different committees and working groups of the European Commission, ILO, OECD, and UNESCO and published several articles on validation of non-formal and informal learning, including guest editing a special issue at the European Journal of Education.

Before joining Cedefop he worked at the Center for Research on Lifelong Learning (CRELL) at the Joint Research Center of the European Commission, contributing to the Education and Training Monitoring (former, progress report towards Lisbon objectives) and carrying research in the area of transversal skills and its measurement. He holds a Ph.D. in International and Comparative Education from Stockholm University.

Andrina Wafer

Quality and Qualifications Ireland

Andrina Wafer is Head of International Mobility and Prior Learning in Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI); focuses on national policy, progress and practices in RPL (validation). She is currently scoping a national approach for RPL, reviewing and refreshing QQI policies, criteria and guidelines. As Head of NARIC Ireland, linking RPL and fair recognition to enhance mobility, inclusion and the realisation of potential for everyone including refugees and migrants are of particular interest.

An active member of the national and international RPL community through the work of the EQF Advisory Group to which she reports on national progress, participating in many projects and working groups and in the development of reports, she is a founding active member of the RPL Practitioner Network Ireland.

An experienced educator with thirty years’ senior level experience in national policy, Andrina previously worked as a teacher/arts facilitator.