Emily at Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Name: Emily Boig

Working at: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Studied: Geography (with Industry)

Motivations for applying?
Having studied people and places at university, the grad scheme seemed like the perfect opportunity to put my theoretical knowledge into practice. I wrote my dissertation on health inequalities across England which culminated in some specific recommendations to local authorities on how to improve health outcomes for their populations. I didn’t know at the time I was developing a passion for this kind of change making! I briefly worked in the private sector and quickly figured out it wasn’t aligned with my values. Without knowing exactly what kind of service I wanted to go into, the opportunity to do placements in different directorates through the grad scheme was very appealing and offered the kind of fast pace and variety I was after.

Speak up! It will take some time to feel comfortable in your placement and find where your voice fits, but as my confidence has grown, I’ve found that my placements are most challenging and valuable when I speak up in meetings, about the projects I want to be involved in and be proactive in making things happen. Don’t be afraid to take on challenging projects, there’s a lot of support on the scheme and your fresh ideas will be valued.

How have you changed?
I’ve learnt a lot about how interdependent departments within the council and partners such as the CCG are and how we should all be working a lot more closely instead of in silos. I feel like I’ve become more aware of the value I can add to a project in making those connections and suggesting different ways of working.

Favourite projects?
My favourite project is the one I’m currently working on which is transforming the Further Education offer for young people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities in the borough. It has involved workshops with young people, parents, case officers and education staff to open the question up to loads of innovative ideas, from which we can make recommendations on how to improve the offer. It’s also involved some financial analysis and research that I’ve found interesting. 

What about your development?
The great thing about the scheme is, you can shape how you want to develop. You can do this through the types of placements (front line, strategic, policy) you choose or the type of work you’re exposed to through different projects. I’ve been able to develop my project management skills, workshop facilitation, communication, negotiation and team working skills through a combination of formal training and work experience. I’ve been lucky to have been trained by industry leaders in Agile project management, service design and facilitation methods and have put that training into practice through my work. I’m about to start a new role where I’ll be taking more of a leading role in projects so will have plenty of opportunities to develop my confidence and leadership skills.