Our Development Board is made up of subject matter experts, some of whom are associated with the process of transition from military to civilian life and others who have a wide knowledge of rural industries.
The Development Board meets twice a year to advise HighGround’s team and keep it up to date with developments and current trends within members’ respective fields.
David Steele is a Scot from the town of Ayr – ‘The Burns Country’ – he was educated at Ayr Academy and then the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and subsequently spent 45 years in the Army. David was appointed Military Knight of Windsor in May 2010 and lives in Windsor Castle. He continues to play an active role in veterans affairs.
On leaving grammar school after 6th form, left parents’ farm in Cheshire to join the Women’s Royal Naval Service in 1981 as a Wren Radar Operator, achieved rank of Leading Wren.
Commissioned in 1986 into the General Branch of WRNS Officers’ at Britannia Royal Naval College. A variety of appointments followed as WRNS Officers’ were not required to specialise into any particular branch. These appointments included WRNS Radar Training Officer at HMS DRYAD; Assistant Naval Liaison Officer, London, (responsible for coordinating all major warship visits to the Port of London including International ships)
On promotion to Lieutenant, moved into the Intelligence Community, beginning with a tour at the Royal Naval Targeting Intelligence Cell, JARIC, RAF Brampton and ending with an exchange appointment with the US Navy at the Office of Naval Intelligence, in Suitland, Maryland and JIATF East, Key West. Specifically in the Counter Narcotics Division, monitoring and analysing worldwide maritime drug trafficking.
On return to the UK in 1996 was appointed as Assistant Staff Officer Operations, Flag Officer Sea Training and on promotion to Lieutenant Commander in 1998 attended Royal Naval Staff Course at Defence Staff College, Bracknell, before taking up an appointment as a Training Officer at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1999.
In 2002 moved to the Defence Academy at Shrivenham and became course facilitator and coordinator for Higher Command and Staff Course, at the JSCSC.
Remaining at the Defence Academy, transferred to the Joint Equality and Diversity Training Centre in 2005 as the Royal Naval Instructor and subsequently as Deputy Commandant.
Promoted to Commander in 2008 and assumed the role of Commandant JEDTC before retiring at the beginning of 2012, to undertake the position of General Secretary, COBSEO.
I am a dedicated Horticulturalist and have worked in this field for 40 years in many disciplines. My expertise ranges from crop production, amenity, sports turf, work-based learning, lecturer, tutor, teacher, team manager and includes working closely with City and Guilds as an External Quality Assurance advisor and LANTRA. Latterly working as a Land-based Consultant with training providers, FE and HE colleges and HM Prison Service.
I enjoy the outdoors as a keen walker, cyclist and photographer. I also list cooking, preserving and gardening as my hobbies.
‘After studying Forestry at University in Bangor, Geraint spent four years working for the Forestry Commission in the Weald Forest District. He took up his current post, as Head Forester for the Duchy of Cornwall, in 1996 and his role now includes the management of all the woodlands and forests across the Duchy’s estate plus considerable involvement in a number of forestry-related initiatives and organisations. In recent years Geraint has become involved in promoting learning and development in the forestry (and wider land-based) sector; he works closely with many organisations including the Forestry Commission, the Institute of Chartered Foresters, the Royal Forestry Society, Scottish Land & Estates and The Prince’s Trust, to name but a few. Geraint also has a strong connection with the Canadian Institute of Forestry, of which he is an honorary lifetime member.’
Simon Higgens MBE
Simon Higgens left the British Army in December 2012 after 29 years’ service. A Royal Engineer, he deployed on operations to Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq, Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). His final appointment in the Army was Commanding Officer of Glasgow and Strathclyde UOTC where he was involved in establishing a comprehensive and broad network of support for Service Leavers, Veterans and their families in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.
Upon leaving the Army, Simon worked for Babcock International Group as a Senior Programme Manager in their railway business, where he was responsible for Continuous Improvement, Innovation and Business Development. He also led Babcock’s tender for a £500M programme of works with Network Rail. He has recently joined ISS Labour Ltd, a dynamic and expanding supplier of rail support services, as their CEO and will be looking to draw upon the qualities and skills of Service Leavers to fill new positions within the company as it grows.
The following subject areas will be represented on the Development Board:
Countryside & Environment
Career Transition Partnership
Fishing & Country Sports
Land Based Work Experience
Military Charity Liaison
Bicton College/Rural Weeks
Professional Career Development Inc Standards & Quality as well as Work Experience
Rural Skills Training
Viticulture & Cider Making