EMPRA (Education Marketing & PR Agency) is an award-winning, full-service PR and communications agency working exclusively in the education sector.
We work with schools, colleges, universities, academies, free schools and university technical colleges (UTC) and offer strategic, creative, innovative, and above all, effective solutions.
Throughout all our work we are always results focused: whether you need to recruit more students, gain more business, or build a bigger and better reputation.
Meet the Team
Ruth Sparkes, Director
Ruth has handled contentious and crisis issues, as well as marketing and strategic public relations for Cornwall College (the UK's 3rd largest college), Harlow College, East Surrey College, South Kent College and The University of Winchester.
She has also worked with AimHigher and other various public and private sector organisations such as the former DfES, TheStudentRoom, Coursework.info and the CSE at Sheffield Hallam University.
Ruth was a contributing writer of the Principals' Qualifying Programme - a 'must' for all college principals.
Paul Deb, Digital Services Director
Paul has over 10 years digital experience in the public sector.
He has worked on numerous high-profile projects in education, with clients such as the British Council, DCSF, LSC, LSN, CWDC, Learndirect, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and numerous universities, colleges and schools.
He has also significant experience in the health sector, specifically the NHS Cancer Screening Programme; being responsible for the 6 separate local area websites that comprise the London Breast Screening service, as well as the Intranet for the National Bowel Screening Programme.
Judy Belbin, Head of Editorial
Judy has a wealth of experience as a journalist. She has worked for every kind of newspaper, including national Sunday and daily, regional daily and weekly newspapers.
Her experience spans more than three decades and includes every kind of story from those in the international spotlight such as the Falklands Conflict to more modest parish council meetings. She has interviewed people from all walks of life including bestselling authors and Lords of the Realm to postmen – and everyone in between.
Her years as a journalist have given her an in-depth understanding of the newspaper industry and how it works.
Debbie Greene, Head of Communications & Events
Debbie has worked in PR and communications for over 10 years. In fact, her first PR role was with Ruth in helping to turn a failing college around. She’s highly creative but has her feet firmly on the ground.
She connects her creativity and her superb organisational skills to be an inspired event manager. Debbie has won national awards for her work in both the education and housing sector; and in 2009 was a finalist in the UK wide Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Excellence Awards.
Dermot Martin, Media Adviser
Dermot has been a hard news journalist for more than 30 years. He has worked for national newspapers including The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian/Observer titles and various provincial newspapers as a reporter and editor. His educational background is in science (Chemistry degree) and he retains a strong interest as a writer on scientific, medical and technical issues. In the mid nineties he was appointed launch editor of a direct marketing magazine for the Royal Society of Chemistry (Analysis Europa). He has had extensive work published in the fields of medicine, chemistry and engineering.
Andrew Westoby - PR & Communications Director
Enthusiasm and professionalism make Andrew an asset to any venture. Working for over 20 years in communications and marketing he has a hands-on attitude to strategic change.
Andrew is good with technology and has a pioneering spirit about the application of digital media. His fascination with the business of storytelling equips him perfectly for developing messages that reach the right people at the right time.
Andrew has extensive project leadership skills, working recently with a variety of stakeholders to launch and promote a new FE campus. He uses a range of management tools to get things done.
Susan Delgado - National Media Specialist
Susan is a former assistant editor of Times Educational Supplement and played a pivotal role in its relaunch as a prize-winning magazine after a century as a newspaper. She now specialises in providing communications and marketing support across the education field.
She is also communications director of Generating Genius, which works in partnership with schools to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds access elite universities. She is especially interested in the policy debate around widening participation. She also loves spotting a good story!
Andrew Weltch - HE Specialist
Andy is EMPRA’s higher education communications specialist, having held senior public relations roles in three universities, where he won awards for PR projects and publications.
He began his career as a newspaper journalist before entering corporate communications in Cardiff and London and then moving into higher education.
His work has also covered adult education, colleges and companies serving the education sector, and has ranged from creating and implementing national promotional strategies and developing communications plans for multi-million-pound programmes, to mini-projects around a single press release or publication.
Andy is also a former adult education tutor and is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
Donna Hewitt - Projects Director
Donna has spent the last 10 or so years working in marketing. She has a passion for marketing and is truly adept at project management. Experienced in both higher and further education, Donna has worked in-house at universities and for large multi-national marketing and PR agencies.
Donna is never afraid to ask questions, and will get to know your organisation - taking nothing for granted. She enjoys getting under the skin of an organisation to find out what needs to be done to help them grow; managing complex projects to ensure they are completed on time and to budget.
Marta Clayton - Projects Director
Marta is an award-winning PR consultant and trained journalist. She helps organisations meet their business goals with thoughtful and creative PR. Her experience includes developing PR strategies, including award-winning communications campaigns; media relations; copywriting; managing corporate branding and website design and development projects; and event and crisis management. She is an Accredited Practitioner with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and holds the CIPR Post-graduate Diploma in PR.
Nick Warren - Marketing specialist
Nick has spent over 30 years in the FE sector as a teacher, Director of Marketing and as a researcher, trainer and writer. He has developed effective marketing strategies for numerous schools and colleges, drawing on evidence from the ILR and qualitative research. He has also undertaken projects for the AoC, LSIS and the Scottish Government.
Lauren McManus - Marketing Executive
Lauren brings a young, fresh and new approach to Marketing and PR. Her work has covered creating collateral including brochures, flyers, factsheets, PowerPoint presentations and customer case studies as well as writing content for websites and blog articles to help take schools, colleges and businesses to the next level. Lauren has a talent and passion for creative writing. Brimming with ideas, she is results-focused and enjoys seeing the return on social media.
Lauren graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2012 with a BA in French and Classical Studies. Alongside working full-time, she currently studies for the Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification. She has previously worked in a Marketing capacity for the global telecommunications organisation, Alcatel-Lucent.
Lauren spent a year working in Paris, living and breathing the French language and culture, and hence has a good fluency in French.