I was recently denied the opportunity to interview for a role that I believe perfectly matches my knowledge, skills and experiences. Below is the complete Personal Statement that took 2 days to complete because I was required to answer specific role-related questions.
I felt confident and was looking forward to elaborating upon my answers face to face but this was not to be.
No matter how confident one is, doubt quickly rears it’s head and I can think one of two things:
1. I am deluded
2. HR tick box shortlisting procedures can sideline many worthy candidates.
You tell me. Am I deluded or am I an E&D Specialist?
Has this happened to you?
Further to graduating from Napier University, Edinburgh and Trinity College of Music London, I have successfully achieved a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the Institute of Education and Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS). I have additionally achieved Edexcel Level 3 BTEC Award in Management, Edexcel Level 3 NVQ in Management, The Pacific Institute Facilitator for PX2 PROGRAM and Facilitator for the Investment in Excellence certification and the American Express Europe Limited – ICP (Instructors Certificate). Within the next month i will complete PRINCE2.
Strong track record of progressing equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education
I have a wealth of experience delivering training, teaching and learning to a wide age group and in a variety of contexts. This is evident in my delivery style which is inclusive, supportive and also ‘challenging’ to encourage learners to think and develop. Developing equality and diversity is my passion and this has led to devising the cross campus respect campaign from inception to staff training.
Currently, within the capacity of Equality Officer at Sparsholt College, which delivers FE and HE courses, I am responsible for devising and delivering an inspiring and timely equality and diversity initiative, the RESPECT TUTORIAL PROGRAM; a 2-Unit (15 Part) tutorial and Tutor Forum program, based upon the EQUALITY ACT 2010, which offers opportunities for staff and students to explore and celebrate their own uniqueness and which creates a forum for the development of real and measurable cultural enhancement.
Each short module contains a variety of INTERACTIVE and ADAPTABLE activity options which can be delivered at a level suitable for all learners AND to suit individual teaching styles and environments.
This program forms the foundations of the larger RESPECT CAMPAIGN, a cross-department Pro-Equality initiative to engage with the local community throughout the academic year, culminating in a community-wide festival in the Summer Term.
UNIT ONE is in 5 parts and is an introduction to key terms and concepts:
A. FEELINGS & EMPATHY
B. ACTIONS & CONSEQUENCES
C. STEREOTYPING & LIMITING LABELLING
D. DIVERSITY & DISCRIMINATION
E. HARASSMENT & VICTIMISATION
UNIT TWO is in 10 parts as follows:
A. Introducing the EQUALITY ACT 2010 – What it means for YOU (Interactive exploration to illustrate how the Act affects us all)
B. – J. Each covering a “Protected Characteristic” and designed to be delivered at a time to coincide with national or international days in the Diversity Calendar.
The entire program has been successfully delivered within a tutorial setting but modifications to suit business aims have led to the offer of an alternative delivery of the introductory modules, with UNIT ONE to be delivered during Induction Week by E & D Staff to combined Tutorial Groups and their respective Tutors. This has several benefits including:
1. Encouraging a sense of community amongst the student body
2. Relieving some of the pressure from Tutors
3. Covering key concepts in a fast-paced, fun and interactive way
4. Ensuring a standardised delivery.
5. Providing a clear statement to new students that equality and diversity are central to the college’s mission.
Beyond devising this program and delivering weekly training to relevant staff, I was additionally charged with the creation of training for Business Staff and the Induction of new permanent staff. This has involved devising and delivering interactive training on a range of equality related topics such as Achieving Authenticity, in which all academic staff explored the concept of limiting labelling from a personal perspective and then how this may impact upon their interaction with individual learners. Sharing Good Practice events have included combined training sessions with Business and Academic Staff in which mixed teams were led towards discussion on Policy and Procedure regarding tackling challenging behaviours including bullying and harassment.
This interdepartmental initiative greatly benefitted from the insight and recommendations of staff from a range of areas who were able to share strategies and offer suggested solutions to any conduct and performance issues that may arise.
This role has grown to include the selection and coordination of RESPECT student and staff Ambassadors who support the promotion of all equality initiatives and events and over the last two academic years I have run cross-departmental events which have benefited numerous charities.
There is now a drive towards further developing the RESPECT Program and though the detailed gathering of stakeholder feedback, the focus is set to be tailored for specific learner groups and to be broader in delivery; including the sourcing of speakers, workshop providers, the development of easily accessible E & D Resources and the establishment of Peer Mentoring.
My enthusiastic, committed and passionate ethos towards E&D and inclusivity has led to a range of inspirational training sessions for staff in two very different contexts (one a tertiary college and the other a land-based college 15 miles apart). In addition to the well-planned and structured sessions for academic staff, I have responded to the needs of business support staff and delivered a series of differentiated respect sessions, to meet their needs. The impact of the sessions is evident in classroom based activities, tutorials and beyond the classroom. The feedback from this training has been overwhelmingly positive and there is a marked improvement upon retention, achievement and the recruitment for the next academic year.
In-depth knowledge of equality and diversity issues in regard to both staff and students, including knowledge of relevant legislation
As a lifelong equality advocate I have always been passionate about embracing the uniqueness of all individuals and celebrating diversity, since this positively enhances the workplace and the wider world.
Personal and professional life have always included the broadest range of individuals whose similarities always far outweigh their differences. This said, I have a keen eye on injustice and an awareness of the subtle prejudices which can create professional discomfort and personal distress.
I am a writer and speaker on social inequality and an active player in the Equal Love Campaign UK, which has challenged the marriage inequality legislation at the European Court of Human Rights. As a speaker I have spoken at anti-hate crime events and have led workshops on living with authenticity, unlimited by labels. This is also the mission of the Give ’em Hope Campaign which I set up 2 years ago to use video and written stories to inspire and uplift those who may feel marginalised or isolated because of gender, sexuality, race, physical or mental ability, or age.
Whether as a teacher, writer, speaker or personal and professional development facilitator, I have always referenced legislation, with a keen eye on developments as they occur. Specifically, THE EQUALITY ACT 2010, which has brought together previously separate laws that covered different equality areas for example – age, race, sex, disability into one piece of legislation and has not only combined previous discrimination legislation but has added to it. The purpose of the Equality Act is to strengthen, harmonise and streamline 40 years of equalities legislation and covers different types of discrimination, Direct and Indirect Discrimination, as well as Harassment and Victimisation.
Experience of researching, applying and promoting equality and diversity policies and initiatives and sharing best practice
I believe this to have been covered in my answer to question two but to summarise, I would say that my research has been thorough in devising Equality Act 2010 training for Academic and Business Staff and delivering the RESPECT CAMPAIGN Tutorial Program to tutors, who in turn delivered to their tutees, has been an illustration of sharing good practice since the program was guided and not prescriptive, which required an extensive production of differentiated resources to suit a broad range of students.
Substantial experience of managing staff, projects and budgets successfully
Within my career I have been a Learning and Development Coordinator for American Express, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia), where key responsibilities, within this role, were coordinating training with recruitment needs; Devising and delivering training on Products, Processes and Systems for New Accounts EMEA; the Creation of learning tools and resources; Staff training and support; Assisting HR colleagues, department heads and line managers in the identification of training and development needs as part of the firm’s performance management process; measuring the effectiveness of training and development in terms of reaction, learning and impact on the commercial success of the firm; developing a proactive L&D team and the development of trainees to support the business objectives.
I have also been Greenwich Theatretrain Franchisee and School Manager. This role involved program planning, Staff and Student Recruitment and Retention, Budget Planning, Accounting, Publicity and Promotion, Project Coordination, Event Management (both large and small scale); the building of Creative Partnerships, Student Welfare and staff/student/parent liaison.
At Greenwich Community College, I was Head of Performing Arts. Here I was responsible for the coordination and delivery of BTEC FIRST & ND Performing Arts (Musical Theatre); the creation of relevant learning resources; writing Schemes of Work and Assignment Briefs; Internal Verification; Coordination of External Verification. Additionally, this role involved staff recruitment and support; Portfolio Development; Strategy Planning; interdepartmental liaison and coordination with regard to performance events; student guidance towards entry into Higher Education providing the correct balance of knowledge, skills and experience to audition for Drama School, University or to enter the profession directly.
I manage freelance staff for my company NBI Associates. As Program Director for this Cultural Enhancement and Diversity Training Company my principal roles include, creating, coordinating and delivering education programs which utilize Arts and CBT strategies to encourage personal efficacy, goal setting and to eradicate limiting labels. We support organisations in identifying and recruiting influential change leaders, building and communicating a shared vision, and advise on how to effectively remove obstacles to securing that vision.
Currently at Andover College: Principal Roles as a Music and Media Lecturer; Equality Officer; Lead Internal Verifier and Course Leader. Responsibilities include the teaching of BTEC Level 2 and 3 courses, AS and A2 Music; Guidance towards Edexcel Qualifications and onto HE; Support and direction for student performances and coordination of enrichment programs.
Additionally, lecturer in Personal and Professional Development for NEET Learners and currently, within the capacity of Equality Officer, I am responsible for devising and delivering an inspiring and timely equality and diversity initiative, the RESPECT TUTORIAL PROGRAM; a 2-Unit (15 Part) tutorial and Tutor Forum program, based upon the EQUALITY ACT 2010, which offers opportunities for staff and students to explore and celebrate their own uniqueness and which creates a forum for the development of real and measurable cultural enhancement in terms of recruitment, retention, achievement and progression.
Core responsibilities across these selected roles have included managing staff and staff development within an annual budget; devising and delivering staff development initiatives, including Embedding E & D, Differentiation using Resources, Strategies for Tackling Challenging Behaviour, Achieving Authenticity, and Active Citizenship; Support and Supervision, in terms of appraisal and lesson observation; coordination and monitoring of Arts, Key Skills and Tutorial programs; and Curriculum Development and Quality Control – Leading on curriculum innovation and development, providing a curriculum which embeds equality and diversity, and promotes the benefits of inclusion; leading internal verification and the coordination of external verification; assessing and monitoring student recruitment, retention and progression; leading and managing curriculum and ‘self and team critical’ course review processes within the annual cycle of self-assessment; setting and monitoring targets for recruitment, attendance, retention and achievement; and ensuring the effective use of feedback from all stakeholders (staff, students, parents and carers, HE providers, work-based learning providers) to continually inform and improve pedagogy.
Experience of building relationships with key stakeholders and decision- makers
The introduction of Equality and Diversity initiatives have required careful and methodical relationship building strategies with all stakeholders and this has included meetings with management, academic staff, and students who have required clear, detailed information on the objectives and benefits of the proposed training. The second stage has involved staff and students taking ownership and “buying in” to the project. Feedback from stakeholders throughout the process of development and delivery has meant that the community have felt part of the cultural change that has taken place and this sense of pride and greater motivation has been harnessed to further develop the initiative.
As a Learning and Development Coordinator for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia), American Express Europe, my key responsibilities were coordinating training with recruitment needs; Devising and delivering training on Products, Processes and Systems for New Accounts EMEA; the Creation of learning tools and resources; Staff training and support; Assisting HR colleagues, department heads and line managers in the identification of training and development needs as part of the firm’s performance management process; measuring the effectiveness of training and development in terms of reaction, learning and impact on the commercial success of the firm; developing a proactive L&D team and the development of trainees to support the business objectives.
In other professional roles and within my personal life, particularly as campaign coordinator for the International E & D Initiative Give ’em Hope Campaign, I have utilised similar strategies to share ownership for cultural enhancement.
High-level written and oral communication skills (A/I)
Strong interpersonal skills (A/I)
Good MS Office skills, particularly using Word and Excel
I am a writer on social equality issues and have been published for a number of years in a variety of publications in the UK and USA. A selected article archive can be found by using the following link: http://www.nbiassociates.co.uk/Article-Archive.html
2013 should see the publication of my first book. NEVER BLEND IN is the first in a potential series of books on achieving personal authenticity.
This groundbreaking, inspirational and vital book of exclusive celebrity and deeply personal non-celebrity interviews, is aimed primarily at a young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning audience.
The book, however, is also of value to educators, parents, family and mental health professionals seeking insight into the LGBTQ experience.
Role models from education, entertainment, law enforcement, medical and emergency services, politics, religion and sports have participated in this accessible and much needed discourse to illuminate the reader’s journey of self-discovery and to illustrate that living a life unlimited by labels will lead to personal, professional and spiritual fulfilment.
These candid stories and wise words are a powerful toolkit to encourage, inspire, uplift and give hope to those who need it most; those who may feel disenfranchised or who may lack self-belief.
Inspired by the life of Harvey Milk and with a foreword by his nephew Stuart Milk, this book includes original and insightful interviews with actors Alan Cumming OBE (Cabaret, Spy Kids, The Good Wife), Stephen Fry (Peter’s Friends, Wilde), Anthony Rapp (Rent), Colton Ford (The Lair), Marcus Patrick (My Wife & Kids, CSI: Miami, Passions and Dancing With The Stars), Scotch Ellis Loring (Frasier, Malcolm in the Middle, 24, Alias, Touched by An Angel) and Adele Anderson (Fascinating Aida); key equality advocates, educators and influencers of policy Sue Sanders (Schools Out), Charles Robbins (CEO, The Trevor Project), Stephen Williams MP, Jack MacKenroth (Project Runway, Queens of Drag: NYC), Rabbi Denise Eger, Lt. Dan Choi and veteran human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell; filmmaker Parvez Sharma (A Jihad for Love); musicians Darren Hayes (Savage Garden) and Levi Kreis (Tony Award winner for “Best Featured Actor in a Musical” for his role as Jerry Lee Lewis in the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet) ; sporting greats, NBA star, John Amaechi (author of Man in the Middle) and Olympic swimmer Bruce Hayes; transgender trailblazers Calpernia Addams, the Rev David E. Weekley (author of In from the Wilderness) and Jamison Green (author of Becoming a Visible Man); Mental Health professionals, Gladeana McMahon, Antoine Spiteri and Dr. John Shafer; writers Tom Robb Smith (Child 44, The Secret Speech), Leslea Newman (A Letter to Harvey Milk), Linda Goldman (Coming Out, Coming In), Michael Musto (The Village Voice); Del Shores (Sordid Lives) and Stephanie Silberstein (Shades of Gay); representatives from organizations including The Trevor Project, The Harvey Milk Foundation, PFLAG, FireFLAG, The Gay Police Association and Schools Out and colleagues of Harvey Milk; Anne Kronenberg, Daniel Nicoletta and Tom Ammiano.
These stories of living authentically, with dignity and unlimited by labels will help readers to understand how self-esteem determines the path they choose and that life need not be a self-fulfilling prophecy when they improve self-concept, drive out fear and embrace new challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, eliminate self-imposed limitations and cease dependence on others to provide validity.
As a key player in the Equal Love Campaign UK, I have been interviewed on the BBC, LBC, and even Russian Television news about the current marriage equality legislation.
As an equality advocate, I am currently promoting an online campaign to celebrate diversity through video and written stories.
The Give ’em Hope Campaign, founded in 2011, is an inclusive and inspirational celebration of diversity; an online video initiative to encourage and uplift those who feel marginalised, isolated or limited by labels. We exist to bring hope to those who need it most and do so by sharing our stories.
The campaign, which tackles the “isms” creatively, has grown, with the support of numerous international cheerleaders and proactive participants and can now be found across most social networks as well as on the official website and youtube channel.
As a motivational speaker, I have spoken at the London Metropolitan Archives, The LGBTQ General Assembly, and have lead Active Citizen workshops at the NUS LGBT Conference. Additionally and perhaps notably, I have shared a platform with Stuart Milk and Peter Tatchell at the 2010 NO to Hate Vigil in Trafalgar Square. This annual event, organised by charity 17-24-30, has been a positive response to Hate Crime in the Capital.
My background in arts and education, combined with a solid understanding of Cognitive Behavioural Strategies, and a genuine passion for Equality Advocacy drive every aspect of my work as a personal development facilitator, motivational speaker and writer.
Experience of planning, prioritising and organising your own work or resources and proactively working with others to achieve team objective
My working life has always involved planning, prioritising and organising my own work and resources, whilst proactively working with others to achieve team objectives; often with multiple deadlines to be met, I have good organisational skills and strong interpersonal and communication skills which mean that I take responsibility whilst delegating and utilising the strengths of those within my team.
As a creative and collaborative educator and educational manager with 20 years of industry experience I am confident in providing principled and practical leadership based on equality, diversity and inclusion; supporting a departmental vision; keeping abreast of policy initiatives and trends to help in ‘future proofing’ the work of any department; creating a culture that enables managers, trainers and support staff to provide teaching, learning and courses that are up to date, innovative, relevant and which meet the professional development needs of staff and students.
Strong analytical/statistical skills
In terms of analysis, I have been responsible for the gathering of staff and student feedback both during and at the end of course delivery. This has been analysed and changes implemented as a result; since stakeholder insight is vital to the ongoing growth and success of cultural change training and all other initiatives.
This Quality aspect to my role is vital in understanding the statistical shifts in enrolment, retention achievement and progression.
Additionally, I have had the responsibility of leading and managing curriculum and self and team critical’ course review processes within the annual cycle of self-assessment
Keeping courses relevant and up to date requires continued research and analysis of social, cultural, political and subject specific information so that training is a positive experience and so that differentiated resources can be maintained as living documents.
Experience of using initiative and creativity to resolve problems, identifying practical and suitable solutions
Upon completion of my PGCE from the Institute of Education, University of London, I was immediately recruited as a Head of Performing Arts in a Further Education setting; where my implementation of student-focused and individualized teaching strategies led to a dramatic increase in retention, achievement and progression.
Perhaps a most significant achievement has been that, at a time of cultural evolvement and financial cutbacks, which led to an extended period of consultation, with all Arts Departments at threat of closure, I was able to restructure and combine assignments, devise manageable and individualised assessment methods and support all students in achieving with high grades an entire academic year ahead of schedule. This was a period of personal uncertainty but having supported staff and students throughout this time, I felt great satisfaction in the certain knowledge that I had delivered a quality of education that would allow students the opportunity to progress on towards Higher Education or, in some cases, to enter the profession directly.
Devising and delivering the RESPECT Campaign at Sparsholt college has been a personal project from conception and the requirement to tailor the resources and delivery style to suit different learners (both staff and students) in tertiary and land-based environments has meant that I have had the opportunity to analyse the program and find appropriate solutions to the delivery of E & D. Communicating with staff and students at all stages in the development and review of the program has been incredibly beneficial in highlighting the various diverse requirements of each area.
Excellent team-working skills
Continued professional development in Mediation, Facilitation, Educational Management and Project Management all enhance my ability to provide strong, clear, supportive leadership and to effectively build a communicative, cohesive and motivated team. I am passionate about sharing good professional practice, with regards to differentiated learning, through the innovative utilisation of technology, with the objective of streamlining the workload for both staff and students, whilst accommodating the diverse needs of each learner to optimise individual achievement.
I am a proactive member of any Management Team with the ability to provide principled and practical leadership in a collaborative setting where communication, cooperation and creativity are fundamental to maintaining high standards and to meeting individual and business aims.
High-level understanding of and commitment to equality and diversity issues relating to staff and students in higher education
As with most institutions of Higher Education, The University of East London is the learning environment of choice for a diverse student and staff body. With a large proportion of the community from ethnic minority backgrounds and a representative percentage of learners, business staff and educators who identify with one or more of the Protected Characteristics within the Equality Act 2010, it is vital that inclusion is encouraged and that diversity is actively celebrated.
For many, University is their first experience of living away from family and, finding themselves in a new city and/or country can be incredibly daunting. Research has highlighted the vulnerability of students within this particular group and the potential for self-harm and even suicide ideation can be augmented when young adults find themselves isolated in a new environment. Higher Education staff need to have an understanding of the full range of issues which may arise from having such a diverse population and all, no matter their contracted role, should have a thorough awareness of the policies and procedures that exist to support, guide and protect both themselves and the students within their care.
My personal commitment is one which I would expect of colleagues and this is to develop shared values and tackle issues, challenge prejudice, stereotyping and bullying in a non-confrontational and accessible way and to empower staff and students by giving them the tools to effectively deal with bullying and conflict as a community.
Finally, the creation of a SAFE SPACE through encouraging teaching and business staff to analyse current policy, procedure and practice on bullying, to visualise and share strategies to further enhance safeguarding in the learning environment is a key approach to supporting all students and staff to fulfil their full potential.
Review from the IfL – David E Watters PGCE QTLS
He quickly articulated interesting answers to the questions I put to him and his story made for a very intriguing article.
I have already approached David about working with him again in future as I strongly agree with the direction of his work.”