Brian Bell, Chief Executive Officer, Fedcap Employment was awarded ERSA’s Outstanding Contribution to the Sector 2020 on 23 July at a virtual awards ceremony. 


In the news
Employability leader given nationwide recognition, read more in FE News article 3 August here


Brian’s approach has delivered real results to people who need it the most
Brian’s success is focused on his understanding and belonging to the sector and an ability to recognise what will and won’t work. 


Brian has devoted his career to readdressing social injustice – and has helped millions of people in the process.

From being a dedicated Jobcentre adviser in the 1980s to a leading innovator in the sector in the present day, Brian has spent years designing, developing and delivering cutting-edge services to help people who find themselves disadvantaged within our communities. He has consistently used his expertise and influence to achieve huge impact in the UK and beyond.

Driven by a strong social purpose coupled with commerciality, Brian has achieved results in the public, private and voluntary sectors. He is rightly recognised across the sector as an expert in creating innovative interventions that work for the people who need them most.


From his roots as an Unemployment Benefits and Jobcentre Officer in the 1980s to the prominent employability expert and leader of an international company that he is today, Brian has never forgotten why he does what he does. Growing up in one of the more deprived areas of Gateshead in Tyne and Wear, he witnessed inter-generational unemployment up close. This, coupled with the lack of support available, had a big influence on Brian and fuelled his desire to change the way families were supported.

Brian gave 20 years of his career to the civil service. And with the government wanting to innovate further, Brian helped to create and was one of the founding directors of Working Links – a new social purpose business created by the Chief Executive of the Employment Service, designed to deliver improved effectiveness and entrepreneurial vigour to the delivery of welfare to work programmes. At the time, Working Links was the first UK company to be set up with a public, private and voluntary ownership structure.

From a standing start, he was an integral part of the team that created the largest welfare to work organisation in the country, with an eventual £150m turnover. As he rose through the ranks to lead the organisation, he ensured that those at the front end of the business were representative of the communities where they worked, that they understood and were sympathetic to the local needs of people being supported, were empathetic and were empowered to deliver the service they felt best met the individual need.

Recognising the growth of the sector over the years and his own early career development, Brian was instrumental in the further professionalisation of the welfare to work industry with the launch of both Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), of which he has been the chair, as well as accredited qualifications for employment advisers through his work with the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP).

Working Links was also the first organisation to be awarded the ‘excellent’ Merlin rating, which assesses providers’ work with
supply chains such as charities and SMEs.

Brian left Working Links in 2018 but his impact on the teams he had built up didn’t end there. When Working Links ceased trading the following year, he was part of the team that was able to save jobs and continue the support being offered to thousands of people through the creation of the new market entrant Fedcap Employment and Fedcap Scotland in early 2019. He is now leading the new organisations with success, following numerous new business wins as well as strategic acquisitions and novation to continue his desire to help people be the best they can be.

And his impact has been felt worldwide, with the two organisations working internationally to export best welfare to work practice to governments in the Republic of Ireland, Singapore, Chile, France, Poland, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, USA and Canada.

Brian’s has never forgotten his roots, he is one of a kind, true to his ideals and values. His success is focused on his understanding and belonging to the sector and an ability to recognise what will and won’t work. His confident and authentic approach has focused the organisation to deliver real results to people who need it the most.


For more details on the ERSA Employability Awards 2020, please see here


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