Skip to main content

The Team

Denise Thomson, Director 

Denise  has over twenty years experience in the education and training sector, having worked in several training providers including a College of Further Education and various awarding organisations, including NCFE, City and Guilds as an External Verifier.

Denise has been employed at BIIAB for over 17 years in a quality assurance capacity with  responsibility for ensuring compliance with Qualification Regulators as such she has devised strategic quality assurance structures within set criteria to improve operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Denise is the Responsible Officer at BIIAB.


Gareth Phillips, Commerical Director

Gareth has more than ten years experience in the Work Based Awarding Organisation Market, having worked as the Managing Director of the Hospitality Awarding Body, prior to the sale to City & Guilds; the Sales and Strategy Director at EDI prior to the sale to Pearson, and now at the BIIAB. Responsibilities have included all aspects of an AO, including Qualification Development, Sales and Marketing, Operations and Customer Service, and has a strong understanding of working with Regulators and Government Agencies.

Has always been customer service driven, and has improved service to new levels throughout our industry. Provided focus on the Quality Assurance process within Centres to improve efficiencies and the quality of delivery. Created leadership in Employer engagement for over a decade and has worked collaboratively in the tripartite arrangement of Providers, Employers and an AO.

Leading on solutions for WBL Providers for the new Apprenticeship Standards and End Point Assessments. BIIAB are in the process to be approved as an End Point Assessment Organisation.

Will continue to lead on innovative approaches within our markets to further improve on quality and to establish the BIIAB as the AO of choice within the work based learning sector.


Darren Pickering, Director of Finance

Darren Pickering is a CPA, qualified in Australia, with 15 years post qualified experience, and 19 years finance experience in total.  Darren commenced his career at KPMG, while completing his Bachelor of Commerce.  Darren then qualified for his CPA with four High Distinctions out of five subjects including first place in two subjects including Corporate Governance and Accountability.

Darren has been Director of Finance for the BIIAB for the last two years during a period of revenue growth and consolidation of financial position. Prior to this Darren served as Financial Director of Jai Kudo for five years, an optical wholesale company with a turnover of £10M.

Previous roles include financial controller at The Bloomfield Group, Australia's largest privately owned mining company and as an auditor and accountant in public accounting practice.