Introducing Paul


Born and raised in the market town of Wiveliscombe in Somerset, Paul was educated at Wellington School and is a life member of the Old Wellingtonians. He went on to study for his degree and a post-graduate diploma in Leeds & Newcastle upon Tyne, since which he’s progressed to become a highly experienced professional in the career guidance business world.

Having lived in the north of England for over 40 years, Paul worked his way from being a careers adviser in schools and colleges, then in Higher Education, before becoming the Chief Executive of one of the first privately owned ‘careers companies’ – serving York & North Yorkshire – in 1994.

Paul led the growth of the North Yorkshire company, winning further contracts in West Yorkshire and,  through a commercial partnership, in Central & West London. By 1998 the London company had been fully integrated into what had then become known as The Guidance Enterprises Group with Paul as its Chief Executive.

The GE Group included a strong commercial arm, providing career management and outplacement services – under the ‘Methven’ brand – together with a range of publications, as well as people development products and services, marketed under the ‘Lifeskills’ brand, which included contracts won in Greece and Cyprus, principally in the banking sector on service excellence, which Paul personally contract-managed.

Alongside his professional skills, Paul enhanced his commercial knowledge and ability, becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Directors on successfully completing the IoD’s Diploma in Company Direction in 1998.

Nationally, having been the President of the Institute of Career Guidance in 1991-2, Paul was also a founding member of the Board of the Guidance Council. He served as a non-executive Director of the Careers Services National Association, of the Guidance Accreditation Board, and of the Pathfinder Careers Charity.

Since leaving the GE Group in 2005 Paul has undertaken, through Boundary Partnership, a number of consultancy and professional support contracts for private and publicly-funded clients. These have included providing strategic advice to Boards of Directors, business planning,  speaking at CPD events for Schools & Local Authorities as well as undertaking research activities. His clients have ranged from a major PLC to a number of careers companies, England’s thirty Lifelong Learning Networks and the Sector Skills Network, LAs, Schools/Colleges/Universities,  and a number of commercial enterprises involved in lifelong learning activities.

In 2003 Paul was a founding non-executive member of the Board of Careers England – the national trade association for careers-related business organisations – and he served on the CE Board until September 2014. In addition, from April 2005 to September 2014 Paul was separately contracted on an annual arrangement to act as Careers England’s Executive Director. This included playing a leading part in national networking – on behalf of the CE membership – with national policymakers and key stakeholders in the publicly-funded career guidance service sector in England and occasionally more widely across the UK.  Paul stood down from the Board and the CE Executive Director role at the end of September 2014.

In January 2010 Paul was honoured to be invited by Government to serve on its national Task Force on the future of the careers profession, chaired by Dame Ruth Silver, which reported directly to Ministers at the Department for Education. The Task Force’s report was published in October 2010, entitled ‘Towards a Strong Careers Profession’ (access the report here). In May 2012, Paul was invited to undertake a 2 years’ on review of the implementation of the CPTF’s recommendations – the published review is available here.

During 2011, Paul led a project team set up by Careers England to seek to establish national validation for England’s circa 20 CEIAG Quality Awards for schools, colleges and WBL providers – implementing recommendation 10 of the CPTF Report. This culminated in the establishment of the Quality in Careers Standard which was formally launched on 1st February 2012, under a Consortium Board initially chaired by Dame Ruth Silver (succeeded by Dr Barrie Hopson) – with Paul acting initially as its Project Leader (and as Organising Secretary for the Consortium – which he continues to undertake today).

With the Standard becoming fully established, Paul was redesignated by the Consortium Board as Quality in Careers Director in November 2014Details of all Quality in Careers matters (the national Standard has replaced the earlier Quality Awards becoming the single national CEIAG award) are on the dedicated Quality in Careers website which Paul maintains: This is now the main professional CEG work Paul undertakes.

Paul was awarded a Fellowship by the Institute of Career Guidance in 2011. With the formation of the Career Development Institute (CDI) which subsumed the ICG, Paul became a Legacy Fellow of the CDI.

He remains passionately committed to securing quality careers education and guidance for all, speaking at national and regional conferences and events on this theme – advocating that all young people and adults need to become rainbow builders” gaining the knowledge, skills and confidence to take control of their learning & work lives (this image below has become his public speaking ‘signature’). 

Paul continues to speak at CEG events across the country for Local Authorities, private conference organisers, educational professional bodies and careers organisations. He concentrates his professional working time upon the Quality in Careers Standard and related matters affecting CEG in schools and colleges.

In the New Year’s Honours List 2016 Paul was awarded the MBE for “services to career education and guidance”. He was honoured to be presented with the MBE medal at Buckingham Palace in May 2016 by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.

In June 2007 Paul was appointed as a non-executive Director of a small enterprise – Citizen Connect Ltd trading as Axia Interactive Media, becoming its Company Secretary in February 2008 and one of its then eight shareholders. In the autumn of 2013, when Citizen Connect became majority-owned by another larger company, Paul and 5 fellow shareholders left the business. However, following a further ownership change, in May 2016 Paul was invited to rejoin the company as its Company Secretary now trading as  Axia Digital and he is also its non-executive director and the Company Secretary for its subsidiary – Axia Digital (Ireland) Ltd.

Please see the page “More About Us” to see further details about Paul & Alison’s personal interests and community involvement.