Manchester United star scores success for Doncaster firm

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A Doncaster education firm kicked off its biggest ever conference earlier this month – with an assist from football legend Dennis Irwin.

The former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland star was guest of honour and star speaker at a pre-conference charity dinner hosted by the Highfield Group to launch its conference, held at Old Trafford in Manchester.

The conference, which was headline sponsored by Marks & Spencer and ProTrainings, brought together nearly 600 delegates from across the training and education sector in the UK to discuss the latest changes to vocational learning and apprenticeships.

Speakers and sponsors included names such as ASDA, City of London Corporation, Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust (DCLT), Food Standards Agency (FSA), Laing O’Rourke, MITIE, New Scotland Yard, Security Industry Authority (SIA), Serco, Staples, Superdrug and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

The dinner, held the evening before, helped to raise funds for Visually Impaired Children Taking Action (VICTA), which supports blind and partially sighted people under the age of 29. Guest of honour Dennis Irwin, who was a key part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering Manchester United team in the 1990s and early 2000s – making over 500 appearances between 1990 to 2002 – spoke about his career and took questions from the audience.

Jason Sprenger, Highfield Chief Executive, said, ‘It was a great honour to have one of modern football’s true legends and gentlemen as our special guest and to kick our conference off in wining style. We raised over £4500 on the night for VICTA, which is a fantastic achievement, and welcomed nearly 600 delegates to our conference the next day to discuss the numerous changes and issues affecting the training and skills sector. It’s testament to how far we have grown that we were able to attract some of the biggest and most recognisable names in industry to either speak at or sponsor our conference, and we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback received’.

The Highfield Group, which publishes training books, materials and e-learning solutions, and develops vocational qualifications and apprenticeships, has expanded rapidly to become one of the country’s leading educational companies, employing nearly 250 staff at three sites across Doncaster with a further office in Dubai.