Jodie Wickers appointed Khulisa’s permanent CEO

Khulisa are delighted to announce the permanent appointment of our new CEO, Jodie Wickers to lead next phase of growth in 2023 and beyond. 

“Jodie has a deep understanding of the challenges that face young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. She brings with her fifteen years of delivering and driving forward therapeutic services for young people and a remarkable record of cultivating and growing teams that achieve outstanding outcomes. As Interim CEO, she demonstrated exceptional leadership skills along with a passion and drive for Khulisa to achieve its full potential. The Board has every confidence that she will lead the organisation through innovation of our therapeutic programme, to achieve even greater impact for our young people.” - Jean-Marc Morel, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Stepping into this role Jodie becomes one of a minority of CEOs across the charity sector with personal experience of the cause they represent  and brings a unique eye to the problem of rising rates of school exclusions combined with 10 years experience as a frontline practitioner working with young people with highly complex needs. 

At Khulisa we know that currently outcomes for excluded young people are poor;

  • Less than 2% of excluded learners get a good pass in English and maths;
  • Only 50% of excluded young people go onto secure long-term opportunities in the workplace.
  • There is a strong link with criminal involvement – half of the prison population are estimated to have been excluded at school - this is why Khulisa is focusing on our preventative programme ‘Face It’ designed for those most at risk of exclusion from school and poor mental wellbeing.
Jodie Wickers, Khulisa's new CEO
Jodie presenting at the 2023 Fair Education Alliance Awards

In securing this leadership role, Jodie shows what can be achieved with the right support at school and the workplace. 

“This is such a pivotal time for Khulisa as we build on our recent award wins and achievements to ensure we can deliver high quality therapeutic services to more young people. I am deeply honoured to take up this opportunity, representing and keeping in mind all the young people I have worked with along the way. I know from personal experience of exclusion, that with the right support, young people can have very positive futures, but that too often they feel 'written off' by society and systems that are struggling. I am fully committed to leading Khulisa through this journey of transformation as we build on our strengths, regionalise our approach and deepen our direct support for young people. I look forward to working in partnership with funders, youth organsiations and our network to raise the profile and necessity of social and emotional skills in closing the disadvantage gap in education." - Jodie Wickers, CEO

Priorities for Jodie at Khulisa over the next three years will be;

  1. Drive Impact through our partnership with Impetus and develop our strategy using learning from young people involved in Face It.
  2. Youth Engagement - Including the voices of young people’s experiences across all areas of Khulisa’s work.
  3. Ensuring we continue to deliver high quality therapeutic work, even as we scale, continuing to prioritise evaluation and its linking our work to to wider outcomes for the education system and society as a whole.
  4. Building a truly trauma-informed organisation, which responds to needs of staff and young people, building stronger relationships in the process.
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