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Chief Executive Officer Gateway Qualifications

This role is for a leader of vision, integrity and commitment to education. The role will be for a dynamic individual who can set the strategic direction for the Awarding Organisation at a time of change and challenge in the post-16 education landscape.

  • Location: Colchester
  • Salary: c.£110,000
  • Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 27th May

About the role.

Gateway Qualifications is committed to making a difference in the world of education, ensuring high-quality learning opportunities for all individuals. With an established national presence, we are seeking a visionary Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead us on the next stage of our journey.

As a leader in the education sector, Gateway Qualifications is committed to bridging the gap between employers and education through our Recognised Centres. Our dedication to excellence drives us to innovate, transform, and serve our charitable cause with unwavering passion.

As we approach the culmination of our current strategic plan and set our sights on the future with our upcoming strategy plan for 2025-2028, we seek a CEO who shares our values and vision. The CEO will play a pivotal role in steering our organisation towards continued success, ensuring compliance with regulatory bodies while spearheading innovative initiatives that empower learners to excel in their education and careers.

The CEO will be at the forefront of driving Gateway Qualifications’ strategic direction and operational excellence, leading the way in developing and implementing overarching visions and objectives in alignment with the Board of Trustees. Navigating the complex educational landscape with innovative responses, they will ensure sustainable growth while maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements.

Overseeing the transformation and change programme, the CEO will drive forward the corporate strategic plan to exceed expectations. Additionally, they will lead the Senior Leadership Team, creating a culture of high performance and continuous improvement. As the face of Gateway Qualifications, the CEO will represent and promote the organisation with key stakeholders, government bodies, and strategic influencers, shaping policies and initiatives to advance education and widen participation. This is an unparalleled opportunity for a visionary leader to make a tangible impact on the future of education and workforce development.

Who we are looking for.

Gateway Qualifications is searching for a dynamic CEO who embodies strategic acumen and possesses a profound understanding of the education and skills landscape. The right candidate will position us as a leading voice in education, working hand in hand with our Recognised Centres to drive regional and national efforts in skills development and create opportunities for learners everywhere.

We are seeking a visionary leader who can navigate the complexities of skills and provider sectors with ease, leveraging their knowledge to position Gateway Qualifications as a trailblazer in education.

As CEO, you will be able to demonstrate a deep commitment to our mission and values, as evidenced by a track record of driving positive change in education. You should possess substantial experience in strategic leadership roles within customer-facing and quality-driven environments, with a proven ability to develop and implement long-term corporate strategies.

Moreover, you should exhibit commercial prowess and an entrepreneurial spirit, capable of driving growth in a competitive and highly regulated environment. Your leadership should enable the cultivation of strategic partnerships and collaborations, furthering our impact and reach within the education sector.

Additionally, the ideal candidate will possess a comprehensive understanding of post-16 skills reforms, education policy, and the broader skills landscape. Strong insights into the regulatory requirements of awarding bodies, including Ofqual, Qualifications Wales and the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) will be invaluable in guiding our operations and strategic direction.

We seek a CEO who embraces diversity and equity, demonstrating a personal commitment to achieving these principles in service delivery and people management. Your ability to build productive relationships with stakeholders in the learning and skills sector will be instrumental in driving regional and national efforts in skills development and creating meaningful opportunities for learners across the nation.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Katy Lennon | katy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07496 885125

Polly Mortimer | polly@peridotpartners.co.uk

Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364033

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Katy Lennon

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Welcome Message from David Ruddy, Chair of the Board of Trustees

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to welcome applications for the position of Chief Executive Officer at Gateway Qualifications.

Gateway Qualifications is a registered charity whose mission is to support all learners to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life. It does this by providing qualifications and assessment opportunities sought by employers and delivered by education and training providers.

From qualifications that cater for current issues like mental well-being, job market dynamics and digital literacy, to transformative courses that aid refugees and offenders we have showcased our unwavering commitment to inclusive learning.

As we move forward, we will continue to respond to the Government’s reforms of post-16 and technical qualifications and cement our position as a new end-point assessment organisation. We will continue with a growth strategy designed to reach more learners across the country.

We are now seeking to recruit an inspiring, experienced leader to guide us in our next steps. This is a unique opportunity to shape the future of an established awarding organisation and to make a lasting impact.

Our sustained growth and increased engagement are testament to our significance in the wider education sector. Our commitment to building relationships has led to collaborations with diverse stakeholders from universities to well-known employers, ensuring our qualifications remain relevant, flexible and valued.

Our increased commitments have brought with them a number of organisational challenges. We have made significant changes already, expanding our team, reviewing our ways of working, and broadening trustee recruitment to our board. We need to continue to reimagine and improve our own practices whilst mindful of our core mission of supporting all learners in acquiring the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

Due to the retirement of our current CEO after 15 years of dedicated service, we are seeking a leader with proven experience in the challenges and opportunities of senior management. This work will entail moving forward with existing recommendations and commitments whilst leading work to review our strategic direction and support our workforce through change.

This is an exciting opportunity to use your skills, experience, and influence to lead our talented committed and passionate team as we embark upon the next steps of our journey.

If you have the areas of expertise we seek and are inspired by the journey we are taking, we would love to hear from you.


David Ruddy
Chair of the Board of Trustees

About Gateway Qualifications

At Gateway Qualifications, our focus is on creating the highest level of in-demand qualifications which are accessible to everyone enabling all learners to thrive. Our expert teams have been supporting providers and changing futures for more than 30 years.

Gateway Qualifications’ ethos is firmly rooted in the Open College Network tradition from which it emerged. The Open College Network (OCN) was first launched in Manchester in 1982, when Open Colleges sprang up across the country, with the core aim of providing a credit-based approach to learning.

In 1992, the Essex Open College Federation was founded, and in the following years this was merged with other Open College Networks in the Anglia region becoming OCN Anglia. In 2005 OCN Anglia and OCN North and East London and Hertfordshire merged to become OCN Eastern Region.2014 marked another important step forward for the organisation and saw the rebrand as Gateway Qualifications. We looked at ourselves, our sector, our customers and our learners, and created a brand that echoes everything we stand for.

Our mission is to support all learners in acquiring the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in.

As an Awarding Organisation, we do this by providing a wide range of regulated qualifications, Access to HE Diplomas and Apprenticeships to education and training providers.

Gateway Qualifications is based on the following principles:

  • We are all individuals and will thrive with learning that suits the way we learn.
  • Every learner is different, and we offer a range of flexible products to cater to their needs.
  • Learning champions future success and the positive experience you have of learning is just as important and life-defining as the success at the end of it.
  • Inspirational learning experiences empower learners, build their self-esteem, confidence and life skills, and make them more employable.

Gateway Qualifications is a Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity. Subject to the provisions of the Charities Act, the Articles of Association and any directions given by special resolution, the business of the Charity is managed by the trustees who may exercise all powers of the Charity.

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    please fill out the form below.


    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Job Description and Person Specification.

    To formally apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement (ideally maximum 2 sides of A4 each) that clearly outlines your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification, including your interest and motivation in applying for this position.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Application: Gateway Qualifications – Chief Executive Officer” into the subject field. You will receive an acknowledgement on receipt of your application within 2-3 days. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, please make contact with our admin team.

    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Katy Lennon | katy@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07496 885125

    Polly Mortimer | polly@peridotpartners.co.uk

    Drew Richardson-Walsh | drew@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07739 364033

    As a sector-leading executive search consultancy, we know the importance of creating recruitment processes which are fair, inclusive and free from bias. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity and developing a process that values differences.

    If you have a disability that meets the definition set out in the Equality Act 2010, and you can show that you meet the ‘essential’ criteria described in the person specification, please let us know.

    If you experience any technical or accessibility difficulties, need help making an application, or have any additional support that needs to be considered as part of the interview and selection process, please let us know.

    Recruitment selection processes are based on evidence of competence stated in the person specification and in relation to our values.


    Closing date: 9 a.m. Monday 27th May 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome:  Wednesday 8th June 2024
    First stage interviews: w/c 24th June 2024 (online)
    Psychometric testing: w/c 1st July 2024
    Second stage interviews:
     w/c 8th July 2024 (in-person)

    We are in the process of confirming interview dates. We will update the site once confirmed and contact those who have applied.

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Gateway Qualifications are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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