UWTSD’s Wales Academy for Professional Practice and Applied Research leads the way in Coaching and Mentoring in Wales


Later this month, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Wales Academy for Professional Practice and Applied Research will host its annual conference focusing on Coaching and Mentoring in the Workplace.

WAPPAR staff

Staff from the University's Wales Academy for Professional Practice and Applied Research.

The Coaching Today for a Better Tomorrow - Flourishing Communities and Organisations Conference will be held at the Village Hotel in Swansea and will take place on Thursday, November 28th.

The conference will provide an excellent opportunity to hear from international experts in the field with keynote speeches by eminent academics and practitioners, including Professor Stephen Palmer (Professor of Practice at UWTSD’s Academy); Dr Peggy Marshall (CEO of Imago Performance); Dr Siobhain O’Riordan, a Chartered Scientist and International Society for Coaching Psychology Accredited Coaching Psychologist as well as highly-respected leadership coach, Nigel Spencer who’ll be delivering a keynote onBuilding momentum for coaching and mentoring in the legal sector: a 15-year experimental journey’. 

Senior practitioners and researchers in the field will also contribute to parallel sessions on the themes of Coaching today for a better tomorrow: Flourishing Communities and Organisations and the presentations will be made through workshops, performance/practice demonstrations as well as the more formal research presentations. The conference will hold a networking event for the Academy's Coaching Society, a pan-Wales hub for coaching research and practice development too.

“The Wales Academy for Professional Practice and Applied Research has a strong background in training coaches and mentors for the workplace and we were delighted to welcome buyers of coaching, practitioners, Masters and Doctoral researchers as well as our alumni to share best practice and research in the field,” says Dr Annette Fillery-Travis, Head of the Academy and special adviser for the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC).

“We are fast becoming home to professionals throughout their careers - from novices through to advanced practitioners, providing thought-leadership in their fields as we enable people to flourish in their work and thereby drive flourishing organisations.”

Dr Annette Fillery-Travis

Dr Annette Fillery-Travis.

Formerly known as the Wales Institute for Work-based Learning, the Wales Academy for Professional Practice and Applied Research (WAPPAR) provides innovative, flexible and bespoke development for organisations and people and works with clients to provide solutions specific to their needs and context. 

The Academy’s unique methods of delivery mean that its service is timely and cost-effective developing employees to optimise their contribution to their organisation; recognising their past experience and provides academic credentials that evidence their achievements; applying cutting edge solutions to future proof talent and enhance leadership skills, and working alongside organisations to maximise the strategic impact of their training budgets.

Building upon the work of UWTSD’s Wales Institute for Work-based Learning and with over 2,000 graduates from our programmes, the Academy has an enviable track record of supporting organisations and their people in Wales and further afield with clients from as far afield as South Africa, Mauritius and the USA.

“We see this type of work based learning as enabled by excellent coaching and mentoring. It is the way we support our mature students as seasoned practitioners and enable them to make sense of their own experience by reflective dialogue with another whose only agenda is their success,” continues Dr Fillery-Travis

“We know that the evidence now points to coaching as being the premier way of developing self-efficacy in adult and this is being taken up by organisations. One of our Masters students recently researched uptake of coaching in Wales and found that 90% of respondents said that coaching by line managers was one of the major modes of Learning and Development support within their company, and 40% of respondents are now using coaching by external coaches. This is a serious investment.

“We have driven this agenda in a number of professional fields - from developing social workers during their first year of practice to developing clinicians seeking to discover their leadership – and from encouraging teachers to become practitioner researchers, helping them discover the best pedagogy for THEIR children in THEIR context; to working with teachers of Voice, using performance coaching to work with children, single mothers, brain damaged stroke survivors.  More recently, we’ve also been involved in developing apprentices in the police.

“We are also driving the evidence base for what we do with an established research base in coaching and mentoring. Our doctoral community has grown to 28 professionals in only three years with students undertaking professional doctorates and more recently PhDs in a range of fields.  I believe that the Academy epitomises the University’s mission statement of transforming education; transforming live - specifically developing a learning offer fit for Wales, its people and its context.

“I strongly believe that my own professional career has flourished, in part, because of the coaching and mentoring I received from key people in my life. From teachers who took the time to see my potential; professors who mentored me throughout my university career and to leaders who have nurtured me enabling me to give my best. When I am teaching I always ask my new students to think about the coaches and mentors who have made a real difference to them and I have never been disappointed.

“This has led me to research and work to get coaching and mentoring for us all in the way that suits us and enhances our learning and hence our self-mastery.  I am fond of quoting Doaist sages and my favourite quotation is from one who identifies - the only thing we need to do on this earth is learn - and coaching and mentoring is best way this can be done. For in learning we achieve self-mastery and wellbeing in our lives. 

“During our first Coaching and Mentoring conference that we held last year in Swansea, we wanted to look at the range of ways coaching is used and how it is used, hearing from our very own Professor of Practice, Stephen Palmer and then from senior practitioners in the field, including Peggy Marshall, CEO of Imago Performance and research fellow at UWTSD who looked at coaching culture; exploring how coaching can be used across an organisation. It was also very beneficial to be able to look specifically at coaching within Education and Professional Development with Peter Jackson as well as a having a coaching supervision demonstration and education workshop with Professor Kay Livingston.

“I was struck when helping to put this conference programme by the increase in the number of papers and publications on Coaching and Mentoring.  When I wrote the CIPD book The Case for Coaching back in 2005/6 I reviewed the literature that existed on the subject at that time. There were a couple of hundred papers that included case studies and the number of doctorates was in double figures only - usually relating to leadership. Today, my bibliography software holds over 1000 publications, and this is just a snap shot of what is available. We have a number of Professional Doctorates in Coaching and/or Mentoring as well as PhDs and masters programmes with excellent research. Therefore, we can now ask the question: how do practitioners use this body of knowledge and engage with it and participate within the research so that our clients get the best value from it?

“It is through conferences such as this, that we can critique and engage with both practice and research, to see what is coming on the horizon from research as well as what has worked well in practice,” concludes Dr Annette Fillery-Travis.


Delegates at last year's Coaching conference.

UWTSD’s Wales Academy for Professional Practice and Applied Research prides itself in developing people to help them value the experiences and learning gained in the workplace through a variety of different pathways. The provision offered at the Academy is learner-centred and encourages inclusion, widening access and lifelong learning.  The Academy has a distinctive portfolio of multi-award winning employment-focused programmes that are delivered through blended learning routes delivered by a highly respected team of staff, many of whom have influenced and shaped regional and national agendas and polices in their respective areas.

Dr Annette Fillery-Travis is a senior coach educator, researcher and author. After a successful career as a research scientist, where she was Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and author of over 50 academic papers, Annette began a second career with the Professional Development Foundation after attaining a Masters in Professional Development. She became CEO and designed leadership programmes for public sector managers and school leaders, and manager coach training programmes across a range of sectors.

During a sabbatical at the University of Manchester in 2008 she was responsible for the overhaul of the Masters in Educational Leadership and in 2010 Annette moved to Middlesex University where she was Head of the faculty for the Professional Doctorate where she has supervised over twenty coaching doctorates and ran the Work and Learning Research Group. She has also worked as a consultant to a range of Fortune 500 organisations including Nationwide US across a range of sectors.

She was principal investigator for a EU funded pan-European project on the Modern Doctorate and took up the post of Head of the Wales Institute for Work Based Learning – now the Wales Academy for Professional Practice and Applied Research - at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David two years ago where she is perusing her passion for the facilitation of professional development of individuals.

To find out more about the Wales Academy for Professional Practice and Applied Research, please visit: https://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/wiwbl/

And to book your ticket for this year’s Coaching and Mentoring conference, please visit https://tocyn.cymru/en/event/ef2ba999-5661-419e-ab00-0b0e6b13fefa

Further Information

For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies, Principal Communications and PR Officer on 01267 676908 / 07449 998476 sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk