Moving on from CfEY
18th August 2020
After a brilliant 3.5 years at the Centre for Education and Youth, I will soon be moving on to start a PhD in Social Policy at the University of Bristol. My PhD will focus on Relationships and Sex Education and discourses around menstruation. As I’ve mentioned in blogs, articles and podcasts over the past few years, I am passionate about dismantling menstruation stigma and I am excited about the opportunity to research this area in depth.
That said, I will really miss my role at CfEY and my wonderful colleagues. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a CfEY Associate and Senior Associate. Working here has challenged me, helped me learn about research and policy and shown me what it’s like to work in a genuinely supportive team.
What I’ll take with me
The Centre for Education and Youth is a unique organisation. I have been lucky enough to learn some key life-lessons here that I hope to take with me.
1. The best leaders are empathetic and kind
I’ve met many people who think that leadership is about telling people what to do and creating a culture of fear. At CfEY, however, things are very different. If you want to lead a team towards a common goal, it pays to listen to them, get their buy in, show flexibility and be open to challenge. I will not forget that.
2. “Professionalism is not about pretension”
In my experience, the policy world can be difficult to engage with. This can make people who don’t fit the mould feel excluded. Their stories and perspectives, therefore, often get forgotten. It needn’t be this way though. “Professionalism is not about pretension” is a phrase we use to talk about ways of working at CfEY. People at CfEY interact in a friendly and informal way. Not only does this create a healthy work culture, it makes it easier to do your job well! Conducting research, working with organisations in the education and youth sectors, writing and public speaking is so much easier when everyone feels relaxed and included.
3. Understanding your own values and appreciating nuance is important if you want to work in education/youth policy and research:
The distinction between policies that do and do not work is not always clear cut. Whilst research can help us to answer questions related to policy-making, it is important to acknowledge and be honest about our own values and how they influence the policies we advocate for. My time at CfEY has taught me to value nuance and consistently examine what I believe in. I hope I will always do this.
I want to say a massive thank you to Loic, not only for taking me on, but also for creating a work culture that values difference and encourages people to thrive. Opportunities to work somewhere like CfEY, with a leader like Loic, really don’t come around very often. I will always be grateful that I got to do it.
I want to give a shout out to CfEY’s Head of Policy, Bart, who has been a fabulous manager and mentor to me over the past couple of years. Thank you for all your support and encouragement. Working in the Policy Strand with you has been ace!
Thank you, also, to my brilliant CfEY colleagues. Ellie, Sam, Iesha, Gemma, Vanessa, Abi, Phil, Alix and Will. You are all incredible and I know that you will go on to do even more great things.
Working for CfEY
I will be sad to leave the CfEY team, but I am looking forward to seeing someone else benefit from the opportunity to work here. CfEY are currently looking to recruit a Junior Associate/Associate in the Policy Strand (see here). If you would like to ask me any questions about the role, or my time at CfEY more generally, don’t hesitate to get in touch. My email address is [email protected].