Greville D'Cunha from DWP shares his experience from the recent ESEL Academy.
I joined the academy to gain new skills as I felt that in my current role I could only do so much to develop myself.
Although I’m not a big fan of completing competencies and the idea of competing against civil servants across different departments was off putting, I told myself if you don’t try you will never know, so I seized the opportunity, applied and was successful. And I’m so glad that I did.
The first day I was really excited, enthusiastic and nervous. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from my 4 days at the academy as there wasn’t much detail provided in the introductory package. But this made the academy all the more mysterious and exciting. On the first day Joe, a previous academy delegate from the Department for Transport, gave his personal experience of how the academy helped him. This reassured me all the more that I had made the right choice in applying for this academy.
Next I met my Concorde family. I was so nervous meeting them as I wasn’t sure what to expect, particularly would we get along with each other, as we had to work on a project together for 12 months, but they were as nervous as I was. That’s where our facilitator Caroline helped break the ice. Caroline was very patient, understanding and helped keep the group focused when we went off the topic. Sorry Caroline but even though you don’t like being called mum, you have become the mother hen of our group.
Throughout the course we developed many skills including developing different learning styles, how to understand what communication method was most effective, how to deliver effective presentation (delivered by Rob Neil from Ministry of Justice), help understanding our personalities, and many more. The course was always high paced, kept us on our toes, and our group was always working together and up to something throughout the 4 days.
Finally, the big day arrived when we had to pitch our idea in front of the dragons (not real dragons but sure felt like it). All the skills learnt during our time at the academy helped us prepare our idea and presentation to the dragons. We were all really nervous but we all worked together so well, helping each other out and we delivered a fantastic presentation to the dragons.
We have already setup a WhatsApp group, telekit and face to face meetings and are all motivated to make our seed bloom into a flower over the next 12 months.
I have taken a lot from the academy and made new friends, new contacts across the Civil Service and got a new family, which I wouldn’t have made by staying still in my role.
What more could I have asked for. I’m looking forward to working with my family and really want to thank CS Local for giving me this opportunity and for making the 4 days really worth while. I really feel energised and excited to share this with my team and can’t wait for my next team meeting. It’s exactly what I needed so thank you again all at CS Local.
I would definitely recommend the academy to anyone wanting a challenge and the opportunity to show your potential and step outside your comfort zone. As I’ve said before always seize the opportunity given as it doesn’t come often. Don’t focus on the negatives such as how many people will be applying for it. Good leaders focus on the positive and what they have to offer. So what if you fail, it’s ok as long as you learn from it because sometimes you gotta fall before you fly.