LDC Top 50 2021
“I have two children with physical disabilities, hidden disabilities and mental health issues. My children could one day be facing the same challenges as the students we help, and that really drives me to push this company forwards.”
Andy Gough is the CEO of eQuality Solutions, which helps students with disabilities to succeed in higher education. After completing his first acquisition last year, Andy is focused on helping as many young people as he can. “My ambition is to keep removing barriers in education, employment and life,” he says. “In 10 years, I want us to be a leading global provider in diversity, disability and wellbeing.”
My ambition now is to keep removing barriers in education, employment and life.”
What did you set out to achieve when you joined the business?
When I joined, the business was stagnating. Staff were disillusioned. We quickly branded the company, which was just known as the “core business” before, giving people something to be proud of. I started with people and culture and then looked at data and continuous improvement. When I joined, eQuality Solutions turned over £4m and I’ve taken that to £6.7m in two years. My ambition now is to keep removing barriers in education, employment and life, and we want to get to £30m in turnover by 2023.
Where does your ambition come from?
I come from humble beginnings. My dad was a miner. He went to night school and turned himself into an electrician. I saw that drive and the hard work and that inspired me. Then, when I was 30, I lost my mum. She was only 55. That gave me a new perspective of life: it can be very short so if you want something, go for it.
Tell me about the social impact you have created?
The majority of the people who work here do it because of our purpose. Either they have a disability or mental health issue, or they know someone who does. That means we do everything we can for students. Many other providers just view the students receiving Disabled Student Allowance as a conveyor belt but we treat everyone as an individual, using neuroscience to tailor our service to help them succeed. Students typically get 10 hours through the scheme and we make sure they use all those hours because we make it fun.