Stephen Mitchell – Independent Chair

Stephen “Mitch” Mitchell currently overseas a small portfolio of businesses operating across sport and physical activity, including his own people development business, Sporting People.

Since leaving the public sector in 2015, Mitch has also helped establish the Switch the Play Foundation (of which he is now a Trustee) which focuses on athlete transition and wellbeing beyond and outside of sport; co-founded Propel Teams which propels founders and entrepreneurs to have a positive outcome; and co-founded Sport for Confidence CIC, a unique, pioneering and multi-award-winning organisation which supports people who face barriers to participation as they get involved in a variety of sporting activities in mainstream settings.

Mitch is closely involved with skills, leadership and workforce aspects of sport and physical activity (Apprenticeships are his favourite subject) which includes his involvement with Ofsted regulated Creative Sport and Leisure, and Ofqual regulated Transcend Awards. Recently he has been working to curate new Apprenticeship Standards, as well as leading an ambitious sector-wide regulation project on behalf of Sport England and CIMSPA.

He is Chairman of Parkour UK, sits on the Board of Active Essex (the County Sports Partnership for Essex), is a shareholder in the Well HQ, a Trustee of the Coach Core Foundation and Chairs the local Active Network for Basildon.

Mitch is a Coventry kid who honed his social skills playing rugby in South Africa, Southend and at Loughborough University. Mitch is a firm believer in the positive power of sport and the role it can play in changing lives, particularly for future generations. When not juggling his business interests he is a father to 3 lively young daughters and happily married to Jen who is a Hypnobirthing practitioner. During COVID, Mitch can be regularly found on his hybrid bike on the country roads around Billericay.

David Kreyling – Owner and CEO

David studied Sport Science at college and Sport Studies at university.  In late 2003 he started his own Personal Training business and fell into Education and Training because he could not grow his business because he could not find anyone with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to employ.

In 2004, whilst still running his Personal Training business, David worked at a college developing sport and physical activity qualifications and training whilst working with employers for the next 6 years. Fusing both education and physical activity work within the Sport and Leisure sector and understanding the needs of employer and the importance of workforce development.

In January 2010, David took a role as a Senior Manager for commercial development at a large college and in late 2012 he felt it was time again to go back to starting another business and joined a Learning Foundation, whose mission was to completely focus on employer led skills training.  In August 2013, David founded Creative Sport & Leisure Ltd and became the Managing Director and in July 2017 became the 100% shareholder and Chief Executive Officer of the company. Creative Sport and Leisure own Active Apprentice and Dave sits as the CEO of Active Apprentice.

David is also a Chief Officer and Director of the Essex Provider Network, which represents Colleges and Training Providers throughout Greater Essex.  He works on behalf of the provider network to lobby at national level to give a voice to Essex Training providers.

David also became a partnership Governor of a local school in 2014 and then spent a lot of his time at the school focusing on funding and finance and then subsequently became the Chair of Finance and then Chair of Governors.  In 2017, David became the Chair of Trust and took the legal responsibility for the school.

Through the exposure to physical activity and sport from a young age, David has been able to use the skills learnt from being part of a team and leading teams in a sporting and physical activity context and uses these transferrable skills in business through his management and leadership styles.  He strongly believes ‘The team is greater than the individual’ and working in partnership is a key driver to success.

When not working, you’ll find David enjoying spending time with his family, travelling, walking his dogs, playing football, volunteering by supporting others in the community and by giving back my knowledge and experience. He can be found generally outside either in the garden or building something usually with the kids!

Gary Denton – Managing Director

Gary studied Business Economics at university, but quickly realised that Sport rather than numbers was his passion. Having played sport from a young age and being a dedicated rugby player, post university Gary studied to become a gym instructor and loved the experience. This choice started his passion for the industry, going on to be a qualified Personal Trainer, running his own business working for big insurance companies rehabilitating those in serious road traffic accidents.

Whilst working with RTA injuries, Gary realised that the training he had received and that of the wider industry, could go further, so when a chance came up to work with those wanting to get into the industry, he jumped at it, here started the passion for education.

Having worked in the industry since 2008 and having worked in every role from Trainer to Regional Manager, Head of Operations and most recently having been the Managing Director of a Training Provider for just over 5 years, Gary has a deep understanding of government funded training provision and how the sector utilises training. The relationships between Apprentice, Employer and Training Provider is key to Gary’s passion for skills development, knowing that it has the power to change lives, industries and communities.

Gary says “Being part of Active Apprentice is a great honour. Working with the next generation of talent within the Sport and Physical Activity sector and partnering with innovative, forward thinking employer partners and creating change is something that anyone would want to be part. It’s massively exciting and something that gets me to work every day”.

When Gary isn’t at work, you’ll find him playing with a rugby ball and his two boys (and a third on the way). He is married to his wife Amie who also works within FE as a Head of Quality. If he’s not at his desk, he’ll be walking his golden retriever Merlin. Gary said, “it’s amazing how many problems I have solved whilst walking the dog, although I think Merlin gets fed up with me talking to him about them and would just prefer a walk!!”

Central Services

Fiona Grocock
Fiona Grocock Head of Funding & Finance
Gemma Willcock
Gemma Willcock Head of People & Product
Laurie Carter
Laurie Carter Head of Community Development
Denise Mooney
Denise Mooney People Manager
Matthew Spenceley
Matthew Spenceley Funding Manager
Debbie Perks
Debbie Perks Executive Assistant
Beckie Mooney
Beckie Mooney Funding & Recruitment Administrator