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Oonagh Smyth has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Skills for Care.

After a rigorous selection process, Oonagh Smyth has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Skills for Care.

Oonagh will take up her new post with the charity responsible for workforce development in adult social care across England early in 2020.

Oonagh is currently Executive Director of Strategy and Influence in Mencap. In this role, she led a significant strategic change programme across the organisation, which meant Mencap is focused on making the most impact for people with a learning disability in health, employment, social care, friendships and relationship and early years.

Commenting on her appointment, Oonagh said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the new CEO of Skills for Care. Social care is vital. I have seen social care at its best and it is powerful when delivered by people that care, and it transforms lives.

“Skills for Care is an excellent organisation, with a skilled and motivated team highly engaged with employers across the sector. I know from my own experiences the significant impact Skills for Care has on workforce development. So, while I am sad to leave my amazing colleagues at Mencap, I’m really looking forward to meeting all the team and getting to work.”

Oonagh first came into contact with Mencap when she volunteered for a local Mencap Gateway Club in Belfast while she was doing her A Levels, where she saw the difference that social care can make in people’s lives.

Oonagh is also a Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, a cross-sector alliance of 80 social care organisations influencing at the highest government levels. She has a law degree, a Masters in Human Rights Law from Queens University Belfast and an Executive Coaching Masters from Ashridge Business School. Oonagh coaches executives in the charity sector pro bono.

The selection process was led by Skills for Care’s Chair, Dame Moira Gibb, and included challenging interview panels made up of Skills for Care Board members, staff and stakeholders, including experts by experience and employers.

Dame Moira noted: “We had a very strong set of candidates for this demanding role, but Oonagh’s experience and commitment shone through, impressing all of us involved.

“We have appointed a dynamic, experienced CEO who will add real value and fresh thinking to the highly-effective work our team is already doing. The intensive work with employers and workers that Oonagh will lead means people who need care and support in our communities can live the lives they want to.”

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