Meet the Trustees!

Our trustees use their insight, knowledge and expertise to shape the direction and the running of the charity.

Read more information below about our trustees:

Joyce Connell

Co-founder (Chair)

Joyce is the founder of the Oxbridge Mentoring Scheme and co-founder of Insight Outreach. She has an MA (Oxon) from Oxford University and completed an MSc at Birkbeck University whilst previously working full-time for Her Majesty’s Government.

She discovered a passion for education while writing her dissertation, researching and comparing educational systems at home and abroad. She created Insight Education in 2006 which ran the precursor of the Oxbridge Mentoring Scheme. In the same year, she was elected to the board of governors at one of England’s leading academies where she set up a similar in-house programme. She has an excellent track record of mentoring students from diverse backgrounds into Oxford, Cambridge and other top UK universities. Passionate about raising aspirations among bright students, promoting equal opportunity and social mobility, she co-founded Insight Outreach so the Oxbridge Mentoring Scheme could benefit many more students.

Nik Cerutti

Co-founder (Vice-Chair)

Nik graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge in 2018. There, he studied Natural Sciences, specialising in chemistry. Nik applied to Cambridge from a large state school sixth-form college in Nottinghamshire with low acceptance rates to Oxford and Cambridge. Nik is highly motivated by improving access to Oxford and Cambridge for students from state schools.

Having tutored since 2012 and academically mentored since 2016, Nik decided to establish Insight Outreach with co-founder and trustee Joyce Connell. Nik acted as project lead and coordinator for the first year of Insight Outreach’s Oxbridge Mentoring Scheme. Even though Nik will hand over management of the Oxbridge Mentoring Scheme while he travels the world before starting his graduate job in 2019, he will continue to fulfil his duties as trustee in overseeing strategic direction of Insight Outreach.

Simon McMaster

Legal Compliance

Simon graduated from Queen Mary College, University of London in 2004 and completed graduate degrees in Public International Law and European Union Law at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. After being admitted to the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, he was called to the Bar of England and Wales as a Barrister. He has also studied a short course in Psychology at Oxford University and holds a Master of Science degree in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology from the University of Brunel. He is currently preparing to start his Doctoral research part-time. Simon considers socio-economic background inequality barriers to further education as an imminent and crushing injustice to both lost gifted young individuals affected and society as a whole.

Rob Purdew

Fundraising and Strategy

Rob is an experienced finance professional, working as a Director in Santander’s Structured Finance division, which involves supporting UK companies to fund their growth plans.

Rob’s passion for education and advocacy is demonstrated through a long track record of involvement in educational initiatives over a 10 year period spanning internal corporate projects, grassroots volunteering, and university student board leadership. During his time at university, Rob was a founding member of Ignite Mentoring, an initiative which mentored high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their future goals.

Rob completed a dual degree programme in finance and economics at the University of Western Australia and is currently working towards completion of the CFA designation.

Barney Holleran


Barney graduated from Hertford College, Oxford in 2015, having studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). After graduation, he worked as an investment banking analyst at Commerzbank AG within the debt capital markets as a fixed-income originator for sovereign and financial debt within Emerging Markets. Following that, he spent 18 months tutoring full-time, including at a cram school or ‘hagwon’ in Seoul, South Korea. He currently lives in Japan where he works as a financial services recruiter whilst studying Japanese.

Having attended an underperforming South London comprehensive for secondary school and a very successful Kent grammar school for sixth-form, Barney was able to see first-hand how beneficial additional extra-curricular support can be in helping pupils to maximise their potential. Whilst at university, Barney was an active member of Hertford College Access, attempting to dispel myths around Oxbridge education and encourage state school students to apply. This combination of experiences encouraged Barney to become involved with Insight Outreach.

Akshar Abhyankar

Partnerships Lead

Akshar is a History & Modern Languages student at Pembroke College, Cambridge. As a former Oxbridge Mentoring Scheme mentee, Akshar is driven to improve access to education and opportunities for young people across the country.

His passion for Insight Outreach is visible in his long engagement with the organisation. Akshar began his journey with us  as a student on the first year of our Oxbridge Mentoring Scheme in 2018. He returned to support us as an impact analysis volunteer in 2019, as a Social Impact Intern in 2020, co-founder of the Cambridge Hub in 2021 and then Lead Mentor for the OMS essay-writing strand in 2022. Akshar has experienced every level and aspect of the charity, and is now working on developing our partnerships with private and charitable organisations alike to further our mission and grow our charity.