It’s not quite over yet, but I have had the most fantastic year working with colleagues from a number of different government departments in the east midlands whom I met at the academy event at Lawress Hall in May 2014. You may have read the blog showcasing how much we have achieved so far, linking up with the local community and service provider Age UK.
What I have really enjoyed about this development programme is being able to put the reform plan into practice – to make it real for me, my project team and my customers, and to build the knowledge and capability of staff.
Knowing that the academy year would be over in June 2015, and armed not only with my personal development plan but also my desire to continue to help bring the civil service and the local community together, I am lucky to have a secondment to Bulwell Academy in Nottingham for a year.
I’m 6 weeks in and I feel so at home even though this is such a different working environment. For the last two and a half years I have been a complaints resolution manager at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – a world away from the education sector I am now working in.
But whilst I have a specific role here at the school (to manage and mentor more than 160 Year 10 students, raising their aspirations for a suitable career, giving them the confidence and tools they need to get there), there is an equally big part for me to play in terms of connecting the community and the service providers of this community to Government and bringing my DWP knowledge and expertise to them. This involves me working alongside school governors, training providers, year managers and the safeguarding team, to name but a few.
In an area of high unemployment and relatively low aspiration, this is a real challenge - one that I am happy to accept - that supports the wider aims of the government in its reform plan in reducing claims to benefits and fits in perfectly with the ethos of Bulwell Academy, where “everyone achieves”.