Merger moves a step closer with the announcement of the CEO designate
7 June 2022
Following the announcement of the planned merger between Open College Network West Midlands and AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group, we are delighted to announce that Kevern Kerswell has been appointed as the designate CEO and will take up the permanent CEO position when the newly merged organisation goes live in the autumn, with a target date of 1 September 2022.
The appointment comes after the merger was announced in January. The merged organisation, to be known as AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group, will see its qualification portfolio almost double. The Group has exciting plans to build on its exceptional end-point assessment, Access to HE, international and vocational qualification offer.
Kevern, who has built his career in education and training over the past 25 years, joined Open College Network West Midlands as Chief Executive in September 2020. Kevern has outlined a vision which includes reaching ever increasing numbers of learners while providing centres with the very highest standards in support and service.
“This is a merger of two closely aligned organisations” said Kevern “we have already started working together and it is clear that both charities share the same ethos and hold similar values and philosophies on furthering education and tackling inequality. We will extend our reach through maintaining our core values which includes, giving an excellent service to our centres and partners with an emphasis on honesty and integrity, with learners at the heart of every decision we make.”
Linda Wyatt, who has been AIM’s CEO for 16 years, will remain in place until September, when she will assume a new role as adviser/consultant until February next year. Commenting on the changes Linda said “Those of you who have worked with me for a long time know that I moved to part-time several years ago with a plan to retire within a couple of years. Six years later, that time has finally arrived, and I am looking forward to enjoying more time with my family. It is with a heavy heart that I will be leaving one of the best organisations I’ve ever worked for, but I know I will be leaving it in exceptional hands. I think this is a really exciting time for both companies and am pleased to be able to see the merger through to next year.”
Kevern agrees: “This is a very exciting event for both organisations, employees and centres. Our greatest assets have always been our people. We pride ourselves on the professionalism, integrity and commitment within both staff teams, and by joining forces we know that those qualities will offer an even more dynamic service to our centres and stakeholders.”
Both Linda and Kevern are delighted with progress so far and are looking forward to continuing to work very closely together over the next nine months.
Liza-Jo, Chair of the AIM Group Board of Trustees is also pleased with the move. “The Shadow Board and I are fully behind Kevern’s appointment, his experience and passion for lifelong learning are evident in the way he has managed and guided Open College Network West Midlands over the last two years. We also want to thank Linda for postponing her retirement until she was confident that the organisation and people who work for her, had a secure future. We see great things ahead for the new organisation”.
The new organisation will continue to operate from sites in Wolverhampton and Derby. Preparations are nearing completion to ensure that customers experience no disruption and benefit from a greater choice of qualifications and end-point assessments.
Anyone wanting to find out more about the merger can contact either organisation in the normal way.
More about Kevern Kerswell
Kevern joined Open College Network West Midlands as Chief Executive in September 2020.
Kevern’s responsibilities span a wide remit but focus on leading the organisations Senior Leadership Team to create and award exceptional qualifications that change lives.
Kevern leads the organisation strategically; with duties that include business planning, risk identification and management, building strategic partnerships and delivering against ambitious targets for growth.
Prior to joining Open College Network West Midlands, Kevern was Chief Executive of another Awarding Organisation and Access Validating Agency (AVA) where he led the organisation through a period of transformation.
Passionate about learning, Kevern built his career in Further Education, operating within a Senior Management Team to deliver a wide range of curriculum aimed primarily at adult learners. Kevern has also played significant governance related roles across a local authority voluntary council, a school and most recently a Further Education College.
Kevern is a staunch supporter of lifelong learning and is particularly proud of the role he has played in creating opportunities for learners to gain new skills and progress into higher levels of learning or new careers. A firm believer in the role that learning can play in delivering social justice, he prioritises the development of qualifications, apprenticeships and other services that tackle inequality and that make a difference.
Kevern lives with his family in North Wales where he enjoys being outdoors as much as possible and can frequently be found kayaking on the many rivers across the region.