Cross-sector trustees come from outside the industry the board they serve operates in. For instance, a board in the education space might benefit from introducing a trustee from a background in business, government or charities. This promotes a broader perspective on the board’s issues, allowing for strategic guidance and networking opportunities from outside the industry, which can lead to innovation, sustainability and more effective governance.

The challenges facing the education sector, specifically within awarding organisations, often require fresh perspectives and innovative solutions. Including cross-sector trustees on your board leads to a diverse range of professional backgrounds and a wide range of experience at the decision-making level.

While traditionally an AO might be attracted to trustees from within the education sector, we believe that embracing cross-sector expertise brings a host of benefits and opportunities for growth.

Here are some compelling reasons why recruiting trustees from outside the education sector can be advantageous:

Fresh Insights and Innovation

Individuals from diverse sectors bring unique insights, experiences, and innovative approaches to the table.

Their fresh perspectives can challenge conventional thinking and inspire creative solutions to complex issues. For example, a trustee with a background in technology may offer valuable insights into digitalisation, a fundamental topic in assessment and delivery for awarding organisations.

Strategic Networking and Partnerships

Trustees with connections in other industries can facilitate strategic networking opportunities and partnerships that benefit AOs.

By tapping into their networks, these trustees can forge collaborations with businesses, not for profits, and government agencies to enrich their programmes and qualifications and access funding opportunities such as the lifelong loan entitlement.

Governance Expertise

Trustees from other sectors often bring a wealth of governance experience and strategic leadership skills to the boardroom.

Their expertise in areas such as finance, risk management, governance best practices, and organisational development, can strengthen the governance structures of AOs, ensuring sound decision-making and sustainable growth.

Diversity and Inclusion

Embracing diversity in trustee appointments fosters a culture of inclusivity and broadens the perspectives represented within the organisation’s leadership. Trustees from different sectors may bring insights into diverse communities, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds, helping educational institutions better serve the needs of all learners and stakeholders.


By welcoming trustees from diverse sectors, awarding organisations can harness the power of collective wisdom, foster innovation, and drive positive change in the education landscape.

Get in touch to find out how we specialise in identifying and recruiting dynamic trustees who bring a wealth of cross-sector expertise to the table, empowering your awarding organisations to thrive.

Paloma Zamora is our Principal Consultant in our Awarding and Skills Organisations recruitment practice. Having worked in the education sector since 2015, Paloma is inspired by the role that awarding and skills organisations can equip a generation of people to improve their communities. You can connect with Paloma on Linkedin, or email her at to learn more about recruiting the right trustees for your awarding organisation.