I was on a great course on Friday.
The point of the course was to reflect on your portfolio of work streams over the previous six months and see where things had gone well or not so well. Once attendees had identified key areas to develop we focused on how we could achieve real benefits.
The message for me was to “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
These were JFK’s famous words in his inaugural address as US President in 1961.
Let me explain.
I had been conditioned in my previous employment to assume that everyone would listen to what we said, as an eminent organisation that had been around for over 350 years and was full of ‘experts’ (my definition: someone who knows more than you). This did occasionally happen and produce policy change.
I now need to be reverse conditioned or un-brainwashed. This will help me to see things more from the other side. Instead of just identifying with my words, I want people to look at my profile and think: “I want some of that person’s time to help me out with this problem.” Writing is a form of advance credit.
How does this relate to Alan Milburn and Boris Johnson?
Well, they have both had reports out in the last few days – one authored, the other commissioned. While they are each towards different ends of a political spectrum, there is common ground between both: this is about ensuring the best education for all, which is my area.
Alan wants to make university education and a professional career in the UK accessible to all who have the potential, whatever their background. This is a noble aim. Boris wants to maintain the amazing spirit of the London Olympics which he presided over as Mayor and to develop the motto: “Inspire a generation”.
The reason they need us is because we can help them with a problem. Politics and education don’t really mix. What matters more is that local communities engage with the key issues and come up with their own solutions, facilitated by strategic education partnerships.
Only this way will we produce long-term benefits for all young people by matching them with the career choices they are best suited to.
No fantasies here, just the behr facts.