Paul Harris

2019 Alumni Award for Professional Excellence

Chief Executive Officer of VIBE, a UK-based teaching agency

Bachelor of Education (Physical & Health Education), 1999

Paul Harris is driving positive change in the education sector, taking a fundamentally different approach to contract teacher recruitment and creating a unique workplace culture that inspires positivity, health, productivity and innovation.

Paul is Chief Executive Officer of VIBE, a teaching agency that places teachers, teaching assistants, early years assistants and cover supervisors in schools across the United Kingdom. He co-founded the company in 2001 with UOW alumnus Todd Richardson; both were working as contract teachers in London and shared a vision for a better way to match teachers with schools.

VIBE has spurred a new direction and benchmark in the sector, delivering positive outcomes for teachers, schools, students and communities. Unlike traditional recruitment agencies, VIBE’s staff are all educators who share a genuine passion for the company’s vision: to inspire better education and make people happy. They work in teams rather than individually to look after schools, and continue teaching in those schools as part of their role in order to maintain strong relationships and truly understand the individual needs of each school, its teachers and students.

Today VIBE has more than 60 employees – many of them UOW alumni – placing almost 900 teachers each day in around 400 London schools, and has supported over 20,000 teachers from right across the globe. It continues to grow year-on-year.

VIBE’s vibrant, positive culture is pivotal to the company’s success. There is a genuine commitment to the health, wellbeing and happiness of its people and the active fostering of community and enjoyment every day. Staff are provided with nourishing breakfasts and lunches, gym memberships and in-house fitness sessions, plus a wide range of social events that also extend to candidates and clients. VIBE also supports its teachers to access fair pay and ongoing professional development and to navigate new environments.

This deliberately created ‘winning culture’ flows through everything from recruitment, training and career progression to supporting individual physical and emotional health, resulting in a loyal, satisfied, high-performing team. VIBE was named the UK’s Number 1 Best Workplace for 2019, while Paul has been listed numerous times among the Who’s Who of Britain’s business elite. Eager to inspire more positive workplaces everywhere, he recently established his EPIC Sessions program through which organisational leaders can experience VIBE’s unique environment in action to stimulate transformation in their own workplace cultures.

Paul maintains a strong connection with UOW, including sponsoring the inaugural Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities Teaching Immersion Program in Tanzania in 2019.

Chancellor, Paul Harris continues to make an indelible contribution, not only in his profession and industry, but also through inspiring and enabling the creation of more positive workplaces.

It is with great pleasure that I present Mr Paul Harris for the Alumni Award for Professional Excellence.