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Seizing the right opportunity can change your life

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John Manzoni speaking at a podium on stage at the showcase event in front of a large banner which reads "A Brilliant Civil Service"

Beneath the stunning chandeliers of Central Methodist Hall in Westminster London, Civil Service Local Academy alumni met with honoured guests to celebrate the life changing impact of the academy experience. Coming into the 8th year, the influence of the academies has been deep and far reaching.

This celebration event showcased the successful and varied projects that each began life as a mere seed of an idea at an academy. Through the nurturing academy environment, the support of mentors and coaches, and ultimately the hard work of the delegates, these ideas were allowed to flourish. The result has been to create lasting change not only for the Civil Service and local authorities, but for the communities we all serve.   More than that though, we celebrated the delegate’s personal and poignant academy journeys. Each one powerfully brought to life on the stage and around the tables throughout the day.

Kathie Bates, Head of Civil Service Local, explains

I'm so proud that something that started life as a challenging pilot has grown into a national flagship programme and 7 years on is making a difference to civil servants across the land, building their confidence, skills and passion to meet the future challenges of the Civil Service head on.

Two people laughing at a table

The day itself began with the excited buzz of renewed conversations as reunited families shared memories that first drew them together. Punctuated throughout by rousing speeches, words of wisdom and encouragement from senior civil servants.

Gemma Harris, the event organiser and a delegate at the very first academy shares

It was clear to me just how much the CS Local Academy has influenced and impacted people in such positive ways, pushing people outside their comfort zones to “get better at being me”, to reference one of our speakers.

What stood out for me on the day, aside from the wonderfully inspirational speakers, was just how much you can achieve when you work together.

Throughout the day a variety of academy projects were featured including:

  • ‘Volunteering in Action’ aimed at encouraging civil servants to utilise their Special Leave for volunteering, specifically with veteran organisations.
  • 'Aspire 2 Inspire' encouraging civil servants to use their volunteering time to be school governors, providing civil servants new opportunities and experience and giving communities much needed support.
  • ‘Forever network’ of the Southern Down family who, through opening up cross government job shadowing opportunities for colleagues, have created and maintained their network for life.

As Nimmi Madadi reflects

These projects add value to the Civil Service by making connections, empowering and enhancing collaboration across numerous departments.

4 people standing on the stage with one speaking at a podium in front of a banner saying "A Brilliant Civil Service"

The day was not simply an opportunity to reminisce. Each attendee left with the sense that this wasn't marking the end of anything, merely a pause to catch breath before the next chapter begins.

Group exercises highlighted impacts of the academies with 100% of delegates reporting personal and/or professional development since attending.

Over 300 responses were captured on the Skills Wall, with delegates collectively identifying over 70 different skills developed since attending an academy.

With new delegates coming through the academies each year, now including academies in Wales and Scotland (and Northern Ireland later this year), there is still much to be done.

For past delegates the work clearly does not finish at the end of the project period. They have a continuing responsibility to share their experiences and to support those taking their first steps to becoming a 'Leader of the Future'. A sentiment clearly felt by one of our most recent delegates Claire McNee

As someone at the start of their journey with CS Local, part of the first Scottish Academy, and just beginning work on their project, I found it very inspiring to hear about what previous academy attendees have achieved. I also feel very fortunate to have been present to meet and hear from John Manzoni. I feel empowered.

7 people posing for a photograph standing around a small table

Chief Executive of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary to the Cabinet Office John Manzoni is very aware the difference that the CS Local Academies can have for the individuals involved, the departments they represent and communities they serve.  He explains:

Mainly, our jobs are all about people.  What this does and what Civil Service Local does is, it enables and empowers people.  It gives them new confidence, it opens up their horizons and therefore it allows them to perform better at work every single day.

If you would like to become part of the academy story, either as a delegate, a facilitator or a mentor, please contact the Civil Service Local team in your area who will tell you how you can get involved.

Why not follow us on twitter to learn more @CSLocal

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  1. Comment by Rozanne Kidd posted on

    What a wonderful showcase event at Westminster Hall and was amazing to hear how much being part of CS Local has really made a difference to delegates personally and professionally. The richness of collaboration and innovation since CS Local was formed has really galvanized the benefits of joining up more across our Brilliant Civil Service. Well done Gemma, Kathie , all co-ordinators and all CS Local Academy Alumni --really proud to be a part of such a committed movement and CS Local Scotland looking forward to a great year ahead! Also excited to see the outcomes of the grewat projects each of our Academy families are working on.