eQS’s founding principle is to create a ‘good business that does good’ and the company has been driven by that ethos since 2006. Together, the Group’s portfolio of diversity, equity, inclusion and wellbeing businesses comprise the UK’s leading DEI specialists. Now over 100-strong, the eQS workforce are united in a common goal: removing barriers to learning in education, work and life, and transforming organisational cultures to create social and business benefits on a national scale.
Founded in Newcastle upon Tyne in 2006 by Chris Quickfall, eQS began life as a technology specialist in disability. With Head Offices in Hebburn, Gateshead – a region which has struggled with years of economic decline – the Group has a clear priority in addressing social and economic disadvantage as well as all other forms of disadvantage. The Group itself is currently engaged in our own DEI review, which will set out clear goals on all aspects of diversity including race, gender, sexual orientation and disability.
Our ambitious Group-wide DEI review is designed and delivered by our own workplace diversity consultancy, the EW Group. This project includes a comprehensive diversity audit across all areas of the business from recruitment, management, policies, communications, training and more. Out of this audit we will develop a fully integrated, long-term strategy with a set of measurable actions to ensure that as eQS continues to grow we do so with business practices that are fully inclusive.
The review will highlight the work to be done to ensure full representation at every level of seniority. Today, 40% of eQS’s Board of Directors is comprised of individuals representing a number of diverse groups, including sex and disability. 85% of the ownership comprises of disabled individuals or those with personal lived experience of disability. It’s a good position to build from but we know there’s more to do, particularly on gender and race.
eQS has made great strides at entry level and is passionate about growing and developing talent from diverse backgrounds. The apprenticeship programme has so far seen four individuals progress through the ranks from graduates to team leaders and finance professionals. Our volunteering scheme, has helped three individuals with mental health issues gain valuable workplace experience and skills to help them going forwards.
Early in 2022, the eQS leadership team and Board will join EW Group founder Jane Farrell for a facilitated conversation on inclusive leadership and DEI best practice. eQS is wholly committed to developing a fully inclusive and representative leadership team.
As Chief Executive Officer Michael is responsible for leading the vision of our Group of companies. Michael said: “The eQS Group was founded on the principle of being a ‘good business that does good', where all of our products and services are designed to make a positive and sustainable impact in the world. Over the next five years we want to transform into a ‘great business that does great things’ and I see our people as central to helping us to do that. We recognise that our highly talented people, who share our purpose and our values have and will continue to be instrumental to our success, and we are committed to becoming a leading employer of choice by creating an organisation that is agile and resilient, and develops exceptional people who share our vision to create a more inclusive world."
Andy joined the team in January 2018 and has over 25 years’ experience in the technology industry covering both public and private sectors. Andy’s role as MD is to lead our Disability Support businesses and team. Day-to-day Andy focuses on implementing the company vision and values by inspiring our culture, as well as driving the development of short and long-term business strategy with corporate decision-making on operations and resources. Andy said: “For me it’s about improving the quality of provision for the end user – the learner. Why do what we do, if we are not consistently looking to improve people's lives? The company ethos of doing good for others is something that has always spoken to me on a very personal level. Being in a position to help develop and offer solutions that are designed to help others, really appeals to me. It’s this genuine passion that fuels my purpose in driving the Disability Support business forward.”
Rachael heads up EW Group, working hand in hand with companies to ramp up levels of workplace inclusion. Her clients span 75 countries, from leading British businesses like the Mercedes F1 team, The White Company, British Land and The Economist Group to global enterprises like Adidas (Monza, Italy), Merck Group (Darmstadt, Germany) and Computershare (New York City, USA).
Born in California, Ross now resides in Newcastle upon Tyne with his family. With more than 15 years’ experience as a Chartered Accountant, Ross held senior finance positions across a number of industries prior to heading up the finance team here at the eQS Group. Ross is accountable for driving the group towards its ambitious financial and strategic growth targets. Ross is also hugely passionate about inclusivity and fostering a collaborative working environment where everyone in the team can thrive. On his ethos for work and life, Ross said: “I believe strongly that life is to be enjoyed and challenges should be met by collaborating openly and maintaining a sense of humour.”
Neil has won many accolades since 2009: he has been listed several times in the Times Fast Track Tech 100 and appeared both in the Times and FT. As well as winning the Tees Valley Business Executive of the Year, Neil was also a regional winner and national finalist of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards and was then invited back as a judge. Neil is an active member on the e-Quality Solutions board.
Invate, e-Quality Learning and Learning Labs was founded by Chris Quickfall, who was formerly a DSA student himself. Chris wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until he was at university. Having experienced the services and support provided to DSA students first-hand, Chris started the businesses. This took a clear focus on improving the quality of one-to-one AT training using a personalised approach. Chris said: “I wanted to create a good company that does good. At eQS, we have the opportunity to contribute to the life chances of our students, a responsibility we take great pride in. We are all working towards one goal, and that is to help our students achieve their greatest potential in their studies and in life.”
Pamela is an equality and diversity specialist, executive coach, public speaker and mentor who has held multiple leadership roles within financial services in the UK and internationally over the last two decades. She is a freelance Principal Consultant for EW Group (an eQS Group company) and a Non-Executive Director at eQS. As Non-Executive Director Pamela's focus is on establishing eQS's company values and strategy, working alongside key members to build an effective framework of controls to assess and manage risk. Pamela is passionate about the education and representation of the younger generation and was voted Financial Times Top 5 Female HERoes Future Leaders 2018 for her work in driving diversity and inclusion initiatives and was also voted Brummell’s Inspirational Women City Pioneer 2018 for her advocacy and thought leadership with young people.
Camila is an experienced Human Resources Professional, Mediator and Coach with a demonstrated history of working in public and not for profit organisations. Camila is currently providing strategic and operational Group People support to underpin and facilitate growth, while developing and implementing best practice, inclusive people strategies, polices, practices and procedures to promote and encourage a positive, diverse, and inclusive culture across the Group. As Head of People Camila holds herself accountable for recognising individual potential and developing that potential, ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of everything that eQS does. Camila is committed to equip and empower our people to help drive their organisation to greater growth and success.
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Joy has over 17 years’ experience of delivering end to end transformation projects including infrastructure and applications in both private and public sector. As a strategic thinker with a strong understanding of IT systems and infrastructure his role is to ensure that the business has an adaptable, secure, resilient, and effective IT infrastructure at all times. He believes in developing and maintaining core relationships with stakeholders and partners. Joy has the overall accountability and responsibility of the Group's IT operations, infrastructure, data center, disaster recovery, cloud computing, software development, project delivery, cyber security, InfoSec, procurement, contract management, planning and related on-going advice for the senior stakeholders.
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