A businessman and councillor from Hove has been appointed as the chief executive of a national board that represents organisations awarding professional qualifications.
Tom Bewick, 47, who has championed skills training and apprenticeships, will run the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB).
He stood for Labour in the 2015 local elections, won a Conservative seat on Brighton and Hove City Council and chaired the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee until the start of last year.
While dealing with schools and children’s social services, Councillor Bewick also set up a task force which encouraged employers to take on more apprentices.
FAB chairman Paul Eeles said: “Following a robust and comprehensive recruitment process, the board decided on a candidate that brought the strongest possible experience in lobbying and policy influencing of the skills and qualifications agenda.
“Tom Bewick has an exemplary track record of building solid representative industry organisations and working with government.
“He has influenced skills policy spanning a 25-year career both in the United Kingdom and internationally, most recently in the United States.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Tom over the coming months as we strive to put the value of our qualifications and assessment organisations at the heart of the UK’s rapidly evolving technical education, skills and apprenticeship systems.”
Councillor Bewick said: “I’m delighted to be appointed to this role.
“Throughout my career I have been passionate about leading and representing organisations committed to growing a highly skilled and qualified workforce.
“The fact is that strong qualifications, assessment and awarding organisations are the engine room of a 21st century economy.
“Without good qualifications, people can’t get the rewards they deserve and our society will not succeed.
“I will be unrelenting in putting forward the positive case, representing FAB members’ interests and explaining why the public should listen to what is a fantastically comprehensive and diverse industry.
“I’m proud to represent a sector that provides so many individuals, employers and communities with the means to succeed up and down the land. I can’t wait to get started.”