Honorary Doctorate - 2008
Emma grew up in Sheffield and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from Bradford. In 1987, at the age of 23, she took over her father's Sheffield-based training agency ITA, which provided training and employment opportunities for workers made redundant in the declining steel industry.
From 1991 she decided that all her activities would have one aim - 'improving people's lives'. She founded A4e to deliver social change on behalf of governments internationally, offering employment placement, welfare, education, training and business support to the public and private sectors. To date, the organisation, which employs 3,000 staff delivers frontline public services in the UK, Germany, France, Poland, Israel and soon Australia, has helped more than a million people to enhance their circumstances and realise their potential.
Emma sits as a non-executive on the Board of the Institute of Directors and is a champion for women entrepreneurs. She chaired the regions board of the NSPCC's Full Stop appeal and has founded and funds the Foundation for Social Improvement, a global charity working with the voluntary and charitable sector, giving them access to the best training on fundraising. She is a mentor and supporter of many small businesses and is known for her TV work starring in Make me a Million and Secret Millionaire. She has also won many business awards and honours for her work.