Phil Bond

A glimpse into the life of an Executive Leader at Trinity and what he is doing to help shape Trinity’s commitment to customer service and proper safeguarding.

Why did you join Trinity and what attracted you to trinity?

I joined Trinity College London in 2015 when Trinity acquired English Exam Centres, where I was working as the Business Director. Initially, I transitioned across as Head of Secure English Language Test (SELT) Delivery, eager to be part of setting up the new SELT service, with a plan to move on once that work was completed. However, over nine years later, I am still at Trinity and as motivated as ever. As a former high school teacher, my career has always been in education. The opportunity to contribute to Trinity's mission of providing high-quality educational assessments and support to learners worldwide was incredibly appealing. Trinity's commitment to maintaining high standards and fostering an inclusive learning environment resonated with my own professional values and goals.

What is the role of a UK&I Director and what does your day-to-day look like?

As the UK&I Director, my role encompasses several key responsibilities. I serve as the SELT Concession Manager, supporting the team in maintaining full compliance, delivering a high level of customer satisfaction, protecting the integrity of SELT exams, and working with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on all aspects of the service. Additionally, I oversee the strategy of the Business Development functions for all products available in the UK and Ireland across our entire portfolio, ensuring we maximise our potential. Day-to-day, my work involves a mix of strategic planning, team management, and stakeholder engagement. I spend time coordinating with various departments to ensure that our goals are aligned and that we are meeting our targets. Regular meetings with the UKVI and other external partners are also a significant part of my routine. I work closely with my team to address any challenges that arise and to ensure that we are continually improving our services and processes.

Why are SELT assessments so important?

Secure English Language Tests (SELT) hold a special place in my career and remain a passion of mine. I am extremely proud of the incredibly high standards of service the team has achieved. SELTs are essential for legal migration processes, where applicants must demonstrate the requisite level of English to work, study, or live in the UK. SELTs play a crucial role in supporting the UK’s long-established history of providing high-quality education routes for overseas students. They help attract talent to the UK's workplace, filling gaps in shortage occupations across a range of important industries. Furthermore, SELTs assist those wishing to settle in the UK in having the English language ability necessary to integrate into society.

How does Trinity ensure it delivers excellent service?

At the time of writing, Trinity’s independent rating of 4.9* from 34,000 reviews and ranking as the number one Educational Testing Service on TrustPilot stands as a testament to the hard work and efforts of the team in delivering a high-quality customer experience within a high-security testing environment. This success stems from a well-embedded customer-first culture and a deep understanding of their needs. We recognise that making a Visa application with the UKVI is often part of a life-changing journey and for some, it can be a complex and stressful process. We strive to be as supportive and welcoming as possible.

Polishing and enhancing the customer journey is a key strand of Trinity’s programme of continuous improvement. We continually look for ways to improve the service through the use of digital technologies, refined communications, learning support, and accessibility across the entire end-to-end customer journey. Close analysis of all customer feedback plays an important part in driving our Continuous Improvement agenda.

You are a big champion of sustainability. How is Trinity transforming to become more eco-friendly?

Yes, protecting our planet and resources is high on everyone’s agenda, and there are many ways in which we can all make a difference on a day-to-day basis and with our long-term strategic aims. I am fortunate to work with many colleagues who are equally passionate about sustainability. In 2021, we launched our SELT Energy Champions initiative, with representatives across all our SELT offices working together and with their respective teams to deliver and monitor initiatives to reduce our energy consumption and wastage. The results have been phenomenal. What is heartwarming is seeing how much enjoyment and satisfaction comes from this programme, which is delivered with a good dose of creative flair. As we continue to evolve, supported by the Executive Leadership Team, sustainability has become well embedded into a wider social value programme. Moving forward, there will be additional investment to ensure its success.

On top of your role as UK&I Director, you are also one of our Designated Safeguarding Leads. What does this entail and why is this an important part at Trinity?

As the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) at Trinity College London, my role encompasses several critical responsibilities aimed at ensuring the safeguarding of all students and staff involved in our examinations and any wider activities. This role is integral to our commitment to creating a secure and supportive environment. My responsibilities include policy implementation and compliance, training and awareness, responding to referrals, liaising with external agencies, and providing support and guidance.

Protecting vulnerable individuals is crucial at Trinity, where we have a diverse community that includes children, young people, and vulnerable adults. The DSL role ensures that we protect these individuals from harm, abuse, and exploitation. Creating a safe environment is fundamental to our aims, and by prioritising safeguarding, we foster a culture of safety and trust. Our reputation as an educational charity and awarding organisation is built on trust and integrity. Effective safeguarding practices help maintain this trust with students, parents, educators, and other stakeholders, ensuring that Trinity remains a respected and reliable institution. We have a legal duty to safeguard those in our care. Fulfilling the DSL role ensures that we meet our statutory obligations and uphold the highest ethical standards in all our operations.

You are part of Trinity’s ELT, what is the ELT and what is its role in Trinity?

The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) at Trinity College London plays a pivotal role in guiding and overseeing the strategic direction and operational management of the organisation. As a member of the ELT, I work alongside other senior leaders to ensure that Trinity fulfils its mission and continues to excel as a leading exam board and educational charity. The ELT is composed of senior executives responsible for making key decisions and providing leadership across all areas of Trinity College London. Each member brings diverse expertise and experience, ensuring Trinity operates efficiently, innovates continuously, and remains responsive to the needs of our stakeholders.

The ELT sets the strategic vision for Trinity College London, establishing long-term goals and priorities that align with our mission. This involves identifying new opportunities, anticipating challenges, and ensuring that our strategic plans are effectively implemented. We oversee the day-to-day operations of the organisation, ensuring that all departments function smoothly and cohesively. This includes managing resources, setting performance targets, and monitoring progress to ensure we achieve our objectives.

To remain at the forefront of education and assessment, the ELT promotes innovation and transformation. We explore new methodologies, technologies, and approaches to enhance our services and maintain a competitive edge. The ELT ensures the financial health and sustainability of Trinity College London. We are responsible for budgeting, financial planning, and oversight, ensuring that resources are used effectively and transparently. Identifying and mitigating risks is a crucial function of the ELT. We develop and implement risk management strategies to protect the organisation from potential threats and to ensure resilience and continuity.

The ELT is vital to Trinity's success and sustainability. Our collective leadership ensures that the organisation remains true to its mission while adapting to the changing landscape of education and assessment. By fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and excellence, the ELT helps Trinity College London deliver high-quality services and uphold its reputation as a trusted and respected educational institution. Last year, we proudly celebrated our 150-year anniversary, a testament to our enduring legacy in education. As a member of this team, I contribute to shaping the future of Trinity and ensuring that we continue to make a positive impact in the world of education.

What do you enjoy most about your role and what advice would you give to our future leaders?

What I enjoy most about my role is the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of learners and professionals. Being able to contribute to their success and seeing the positive outcomes of our work is incredibly rewarding. The collaborative environment at Trinity, where ideas and innovations are encouraged, is also a major highlight. Working with a dedicated and passionate team, all striving towards a common goal, makes every challenge worthwhile.

My advice to future leaders is to remain adaptable and open to learning. The education sector is constantly evolving, and being able to navigate changes effectively is crucial. Build strong relationships with your team and stakeholders, as collaboration and communication are key to achieving success. Lastly, always stay true to the mission and values of the organisation. Maintaining a clear focus on the impact of your work on learners will guide you through any challenge.

Finally, what is the best thing about working at Trinity in your opinion?

The best thing about working at Trinity is the sense of purpose and community. We are all united by a shared commitment to providing high-quality education and assessments that make a real difference in people's lives. The supportive and inclusive culture at Trinity fosters professional growth and personal satisfaction. Knowing that our work helps individuals achieve their goals and contributes to the broader educational landscape is incredibly fulfilling.



“Trinity's commitment to maintaining high standards and fostering an inclusive learning environment resonated with my own professional values and goals.”

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