From education to employment

Passionate founder of leading training provider passes away leaving top 20 education business in his legacy

Qube Learning founder, Gavin Whichello

Qube Learning founder, Gavin Whichello, who made the training provider a national name, has passed away following a battle with illness, after recently turning 70.

An entrepreneur with a long history of transforming businesses, Gavin Whichello, acquired Qube Learning in 2006, when the company had a contract value of £700k and led the way in making it one of the most recognisable operations in the industry, with a net worth today of eight figures. Demonstrating a progressive and ambitious vision for the business, Gavin carefully and strategically steered an organisation that is now firmly positioned in the country’s top 20 Training Providers.

Gavin winchello

Born in 1950 to mother Betty and father George Whichello, a docker, he started his professional career working on building sites but possessing a keen interest in physics and impressed by Professor Daphne Jackson, the UK’s first female professor in the subject, Gavin embarked upon a degree in Science and, in 1974, became the first in his family to graduate, with a BSc in Human and Physical Sciences from Surrey University. During his time as a student, Gavin was selected for the first football team in his first term and showed his natural mischievousness when participating in a student take-over of the Vice-Chancellor’s office, turning it into a bar where he wore his robes while drinking gin.

Qualifying as a teacher in 1975 and later on becoming a senior lecturer in computer science, Gavin was a strong-willed and determined individual. He was eager to make his mark in life and would go on to become the head of a successful training company and an award-winning visiting professor, both of which aligned with his passion to help people learn and build on their own professional successes.

Having discovered a talent for computing, Gavin’s career began to develop at a time when the industry itself was beginning its rise to global prominence and he found himself at the forefront of this epoch defining transformation. One of the first to move from mainframe computers to PCs, he became an expert on networks software and started investing in internet companies early on. Working in both the US and the UK, he enjoyed a long and varied career in the technology and training sectors, creating Training International, which became the UK’s largest PC training company and was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1987. He co-founded Winmail, Europe’s leading messaging company, and held a series of executive roles in both public and private technology companies. He funded fast-growth technology businesses and assumed executive roles to aid those companies in the early stages of development prior to public offering.

In 2005, he joined Isotrak, a fleet management business, as CEO and took it from near administration to a high value exit within eight years. He promoted undervalued but key individuals into positions where they could seriously impact the success of the company and viewed this as one of his career highlights.

Later on, Gavin’s passion for Qube Learning developed from a desire to create opportunities for people to better themselves through continued training and development. Rising from humble beginnings himself, he was proof that background need not determine an individual’s future. His commitment to help people from all walks of life succeed was recognised when he was awarded the prestigious Vice- Chancellor’s Outstanding Contribution to Surrey Award in 2019. The honour was bestowed on him for his wide-ranging contribution to the University of Surrey, mentoring several postgraduate and undergraduate students and offering significant financial support to many throughout their studies.

Gavin not only supported pupils, he was a founding member of the Surrey Business School Advisory Board in 2016 and through this, has contributed to the international, executive education and business engagement strategies of the school. An influential voice, he delivered lectures and workshops on the Surrey Business School MBA programme to both full-time and part-time students, giving up significant time to contribute to the student experience. Uniquely, he also ran live Qube Learning board meetings on the campus for the experience of the MBA students.

A strong believer in democratising opportunity, he was instrumental in the development of the Surrey Innovation and Digital Enterprise Academy (SurreyIDEA), a radical new approach to create the next generation of entrepreneurs. His longstanding commitment to widening participation also led him to provide informative classes for the Surrey Business School Young Persons University as well as offering support to other Surrey Business School projects, both graduate and postgraduate.

In his personal life, Gavin was a loving father of four children to Anna, Mollie, Lucy (from his first marriage) and Stanley from his later marriage to Claire. Highly regarded by family, friends and colleagues alike, his passions included sport, history and music. He was also a staunch Francophile who adored the south of France where he spent many happy times with loved ones and his beloved dogs.

Leaving behind a successful business, Gavin worked hard prior to his death in order to ensure that Qube Learning would continue to look to the future with the assistance of his most trusted aids. Though no longer here, his legacy lives on through his work and family.

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