The CBI is the UK's premier business organisation, providing a voice for firms at a regional, national and international level to policymakers.
"It was through my work with the CBI that I was introduced to the Academy Ambassador programme. That presented me with the opportunity to get back engaged in the governance and leadership of education in my community, but this time it was as a trustee – or non-executive director – of the multi-academy trust that incorporates eight of the schools in Pontefract." Read more from Phil Jones - President and Chief Executive of Northern Powergrid, Chair of CBI Yorkshire & Humber and Chair Pontefract Academies Trust here.
Civil Service College was founded in 2012 following the closure of the National School of Government in 2010. Civil Service College acquired many of the training programmes that were previously offered by the school and since then has increased the number of programmes on offer, ensuring that the available training reflects the current needs of those working in the Public Sector.
Constructing Excellence South West is the single organisation charged with driving the change agenda in construction within the south west region and forms part of the Constructing Excellence Regional Partnership (CERP).
At a time of rapid growth, property and estate management skill sets are sought after. The multi-site nature of multi-academy trusts, some with up to 60 schools, requires a strategic understanding of building and capital development, facilities management, large scale asset portfolio management and change programmes at board level. Academy Ambassadors is grateful to Constructing Excellence South West for promoting our roles to their members.
ICSA: The Governance Institute is the professional body for governance. With over 125 years' experience, they work with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards of governance and provide qualifications, training and guidance.
Governance is the way that an organisation is directed and controlled. It is the toolkit for the processes and the oversight which drives the highest standards of leadership, accountability and behaviour. Strong governance helps boards and organisations to achieve their goals by acting appropriately and fairly.
In June 2018, Secretary of State for Education, Damien Hinds partnered with the Institute of Directors to encourage the nation’s business leaders to invest in their local community by becoming school governors or non-executive/trustees. Rt. Hon Damien Hinds specifically acknowledged Academy Ambassadors for successfully managing the recruitment of non-executive/trustees on multi-academy trust (MAT) boards.
Lloyds Banking Group is a financial services body with millions of UK customers and a presence in nearly every community. Building on a long tradition of engagement in education, the Group decided to consolidate its efforts by focusing on governance in one specific region. A new pilot programme, StandingOut, was launched in Yorkshire – an area of significant educational need that also has a strong Lloyds Banking Group presence. StandingOut offers selected employees a range of structured opportunities to get involved. The HR and talent development teams are closely involved and specific teams are targeted to ensure key personnel are put forward for the governance roles.
Glen Wilson, Regional Director SME Banking, East Midlands & South Yorkshire, was appointed as a NED at The Mast Academy Trust in September 2016 and says: “Having worked in financial services for the majority of my working life I was aware that my network and perspective is potentially narrow, therefore the opportunity to work in a new environment, sector and among colleagues from different backgrounds was very appealing … The insight gained from being involved in setting up the trust was eye opening in itself and I’m really excited about what the future may hold for us.”
David Rowsell, Head of Education & Employability Programmes says: “At Lloyds Banking Group we have enjoyed a great partnership with Academy Ambassadors. They have proved very effective at connecting a number of Lloyds executives with multi-academy trusts, which now benefit from the expertise of some of our most senior colleagues. This partnership is part of our wider commitment to improving school performance through good governance, supporting our aim to help Britain prosper.”
Mishcon de Reya is an independent law firm with offices in London and New York. Founded by Victor Mishcon in a one-room office in Brixton in 1937, it now employs more than 700 people with over 400 lawyers offering a wide range of legal services to companies and individuals. Academy Ambassadors has been promoting non-executive director opportunities with Mishcon de Reya since 2014 and has attracted employeers as NEDs through a variety of events from 1-2-1 meetings, breakfasts and Social Impact Fairs.
Georgina Yik, Senior Social Impact Executive said: "Social responsibility is at the heart of our core values and our Social Impact Programme has been developed to inspire our lawyers to effect the change they want to see in the world. We understand that lawyers are well positioned to impact society and through our partnership with Academy Ambassadors, we have been able to connect those seeking non executive directorships and board positions with organisations. We want people to develop their potential and be exposed to new thinking from both within and outside the world of law. We pride ourselves on supporting our people in their endeavours and passions through work but also through charity and pro bono support."
Kate Higgins, Legal Director was appointed to REAch2 South Central in December 2014. She said: "A couple of years ago, Mishcon launched its initiative to encourage us to become trustees/board members. At the time, my children were just reaching the end of a fantastic state primary education. Keen to give back, whilst broadening my horizons outside the law, I signed up. With the help of Academy Ambassadors, I was soon placed with a growing and highly successful multi-academy trust. Two years on, I can honestly say that it has been a rewarding experience for me. Schools are businesses in a highly regulated sector, not dissimilar to law firms. I soon felt I was adding value, whilst at the same time benefitting from experience in the board room and learning new and interesting ways of tackling different issues."
"Lots of businesses have quite significant community, stakeholder or corporate social responsibility programs and Northern Powergrid is no different. I find that one of the challenges in this space is picking the right areas to pitch in and help – how to create the maximum benefit. I’m convinced that having a ready pool of talent and expertise to help meet the needs of an Academy Trust, just as they do day to day in their own companies, can make a huge difference to the Trust’s work. It’s relatively early days for us – but we’re committed to making it work." Phil Jones is President and Chief Executive of Northern Powergrid, Chair of CBI Yorkshire & Humber and Chair Pontefract Academies Trust
PwC UK is a professional services firm offering Actuarial, Assurance, Consulting, Deals, Tax and Technology services. They support businesses of all sizes and in a wide range of industries, by helping them with big deals and big changes to their structures and the way they work. They have over 21,800 employees in the UK, Channel Islands and Middle East with over 920 UK partners. Academy Ambassadors started promoting non-executive director opportunities to PwC UK staff in April 2015. Through internal communications and group teleconferences, over 35 individuals have expressed interest in a non-executive director role across England and 14 have been placed on academy trust boards to date.
Kieran McGing, Associate Director at PwC UK in Manchester became a non-executive director on The Great Schools Trust in November 2015: "I got involved in Academy Ambassadors to provide something back to my local community but also to meet similar professionals through my role on the Trust Board. Since joining the Trust I have been able to bring in a range of new ideas and challenge from both a risk and financial perspective, supporting the Trust growth plans (from 3 to 5 academies so far). The role can be challenging at times but ultimately it is a rewarding experience I would recommend and I know that I am bringing a key skill set to Board that would not have been there 18 months ago".
Reece Booth, Associate Management Consultant said: “Becoming a non-executive director not only helps our staff to further develop their leadership skills, it provides the opportunity to gain valuable board experience while they deal with the challenges of building thriving new trusts, turning around failing schools and unleashing innovation. This is important as we believe that each and every one of us at PwC UK needs to be an authentic and inclusive leader who inspires others and can lead clients, teams and others through change. Encouraging staff to get involved with Academy Ambassadors also aligns with the two main principles of our corporate sustainability strategy: 'doing the right thing' and 'being a catalyst for change', which in turn leads to our employees making more enlightened business decisions based on their first-hand involvement with the wider community.”
Women on Boards UK support non executive director (NED) careers with hundreds of non executive director vacancies as well as trustee roles. Academy Ambassadors champions diversity on boards and is grateful to Women on Boards UK for signposting our opportunities to members.