New Board Leadership at Federation of Awarding Bodies

Today, 22 October, the Federation of Awarding Bodies announces the appointment of new leadership of the Board of Directors, following the planned retirement of Paul Eeles (Chair) and Terry Fennell (Vice-Chair) from the Board at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 8 December 2020.

Following a transparent succession planning process over the summer, led by the Board, the Federation is delighted to announce that Kirstie Donnelly MBE and Alan Woods OBE will both become Co-Chairs of FAB at the AGM.

The position of Co-Chair of the organisation is an innovative move. It comes at a time, when the Federation is wanting to continue to step up its policy influencing, member engagement and stakeholder co-operation roles, by working closely with our hard-working and dedicated staff team, led by our Chief Executive, Tom Bewick.

FAB has recently undergone a Board-level strategic review, which will see the organisation transform into a best-in-class digital industry association over the next three years. That strategy will better enable FAB to deliver the services that both our members, their staff, and customers will demand in these very challenging times.

Welcoming the appointment, Paul Eeles and Terry Fennell said: 

“On behalf of the whole organisation, we would like to congratulate Kirstie and Alan for taking on the baton from us at Board level. As colleagues, we know the real respect they both have across the education and skills sector for what they have achieved. There’s no doubt Alan and Kirstie will provide inspired industry leadership for our part of the education profession during these unprecedented times.

“After our combined tenure on the Board of 14 years we both feel that we are leaving FAB in excellent hands. A recent member survey found that 97 per cent of awarding and assessment organisationsin membership are satisfied with the performance of FAB. More importantly, we occupy a different place in the skills ecosystem, as a representative trade association, to where we did four years ago. The leadership of the entire Board and the passionate work of the staff team has meant we can punch well above our weight in all the key lobbying and policy influencing circles.”

Commenting on their appointment as Co-Chairs, Kirstie Donnelly MBE and Alan Woods OBE said: 

“FAB is a fantastic organisation to be a part of. Our appointment comes at a time when further education is at last centre-stage in our national story about how we build a more prosperous, productive and inclusive economy in future. Our role is to make sure that it is a bright future built on better skills and opportunity for all.

“The great thing about our part of the sector that we come from is we recognise the importance of a diverse skills ecosystem. We will continue to work with the whole sector, including FE colleges and private training providers, as well as the governments across the UK, to ensure that world-class qualifications directly leading to skilled jobs and new opportunities for career development become the norm for everyone.

“There are some significant upcoming challenges, including an FE White Paper in England; but also other key policy and regulatory reforms in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our task will be to listen to and work with FAB’s entire membership to chart the best way forward. We’re already planning a series of virtual ‘Town Halls’ with members and key stakeholders in the New Year.

“We’d like to recognise Paul and Terry for the excellent leadership they have displayed in taking the organisation forward over these past several years. To have volunteered the amount of time and energy to the cause that they have is absolutely extraordinary. The whole sector is indebted to them.”

This article was updated on 24 October to replace an earlier draft of this announcement, which was uploaded to our website in error.