From education to employment

Tom Bewick to stand down as FAB CEO in September

tom bewick

FAB Chief Executive to leave in the Autumn of 2023.

The Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) Board of Directors can announce that Professor Tom Bewick, Chief Executive Officer since May 2018, will leave his position at the end of September 2023 to take up a new role.

The FAB Board and staff are very appreciative of the leadership Tom has shown over the past five years, contributing to the strategic representation of the industry; engaging with the UK’s regulators and stakeholders; as well as delivering for members an influential industry peak-level body.

FAB’s digital transformation into award winning trade body

Only recently, the organisation celebrated winning Trade Association of the Year (2023). The year prior FAB scooped the Trade Association Foundation Digital Innovation Award, which was an award for FAB’s digital innovation, Tom led this digital innovation from 2018, several years before the pandemic forced many organisations to adjust to develop a digital strategy..

At the time of winning the Digital Innovation Award Tom said:

“At the Federation, every single member of staff had to retrain for new digital skills, including the overhaul of our website and the creation of a new digital channel in Skills World Live Productions.

“We’ve turned clunky manual membership systems into online digital accounts. We’ve overhauled the format of our flagship conference by introducing hybrid and live-stream technology for all our events. And the Skills World Live Radio Show”

Transforming sector events and conferences

If you have been to a FAB conference over the past couple of years, you will know what an incredible experience it is for everyone attending… and joining online. With the annual FAB conference with LED walls to transform the flow and energy of the event, to being a pioneer in the sector with hybrid livestreamed events. The hybrid event format has also been inclusive, helped FAB members and the sector engage in the latest developments in the Awarding Body world, but even transforming the FAB annual awards so every finalist can be involved with the live hybrid format of the evening event.

Tom’s leadership on conferences has not just transformed FAB’s conferences, but set the bar for all of the sector to follow.

Tom, Kirstie and Alan, FAB conference

SkillsWorld LIVE

SkillsWorld LIVE grew from a podcast with Tom, originally taken on tour with all of the podcasting equipment in his global case.

6 years on since the publication of the Richard Review, which ushered in a new approach to developing and delivering apprenticeships, Tom interviews Chinara Rustamova, Senior Policy Advisor Education and Skills, Federation of Small Businesses; and Charlotte Bosworth, Managing Director, Innovate Awarding / Chair, End-Point Assessment Operational Group, Federation of Awarding Bodies.

Then the pandemic happened, confusion and chaos was all around. So Tom, the FAB team of Ellie Hanson and Karen Daws worked closely with FE News and we launched a daily radio show in the middle of lockdown one, that was truly global and totally live. Hosted by Tom, it really was an innovation, giving personality, humour and hope, in a time when that was hard to come by with everyone locked up in their homes like a bad disaster movie.

The daily radio shows, which everyone at FAB and FE News look back at fondly, but also think we were borderline bonkers for taking on a project much bigger than we had all realised went live on the 23rd April.

No wonder FAB won a digital innovation award! It was totally pioneering. SkillsWorld LIVE grew into a livestream and was the hybrid format for the amazing FAB events. SkillsWorld LIVE also was a total collaboration and was the first time that FE News had stepped into co-produced content and it was a roaring success, loved by the sector. A true beacon of hope, during a really dark time.

The show continued for several seasons in a weekly format and even working with BTEC learners on a radio show roadshow.

The success of SkillsWorld LIVE led to Tom being a regular on TV, which helped bring FE and Skills into the mainstream media.

Professor Bewick and launching the academy

In July 2022 Staffordshire University appointed Tom Bewick as a Visiting Professor of Skills and Workforce Policy, attached to our successful Institute of Education.

FAB also recently launched the Awarding & Assessment Academy, to help take professional development in the Awarding and FE sector to the next level.

Tom has truly led FAB on a journey and been on an epic one himself, from a being a care leaver, who left school with no GCSE pass grades, to being an Special Advisor to the then Education Secretary Lord Blunkett to leading the trade body for Awarding Organisations on a digital transformation journey.

Everything has a season and it is time for a new Chief Exec for FAB and the next stage for Professor Tom Bewick. We just hope it is still within the sector, where he can encourage even more innovation and positive change.

The FAB board have said that they will contact members and stakeholders, outlining FAB’s succession plans and future priorities. In the meantime, we they wish Tom well in his future career.

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