In 2018 I was fortunate to be selected as one of two representatives from Wales to join 48 other emerging leaders from around the world as part of the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect programme.
The purpose of the programme is to bring together policy leaders aged between 18 and 35 for nine days advanced policy and leadership development at the Møller Institute at Churchill College in the University of Cambridge and at the UK Houses of Parliament. The intention of the programme is to develop a long-term global network of policy leaders.
As part of the programme, delegates receive expert training to develop a policy action plan, which is based upon a ‘policy vision’ which they have submitted as part of the selection process. Delegates brought an incredibly diverse and interesting range of policy visions to the programme: from sustainability in Indonesia’s fashion industry; to ensuring greater accessibility to the job market amongst formerly incarcerated people in the USA. It was truly humbling to work with such a visionary group of leaders.
"Delegates brought an incredibly diverse and interesting range of policy visions to the programme: from sustainability in Indonesia’s fashion industry; to ensuring greater accessibility to the job market amongst formerly incarcerated people in the USA."
My own area of focus was educational inequality – which sits at the core of the work undertaken by my organisation, Teach First Cymru. Undertaking workshops led by policy experts and engaging directly with senior leaders from a broad range of backgrounds– including business leaders, former government ministers and senior civil servants - enabled me to deepen my understanding of policy influencing, development and implementation. I have no doubt that this will be of significant benefit to me as I work towards my personal and professional goals in the months and years ahead.
As well as the quality of the programme, I was also so impressed by the quality of my fellow delegates. It was tremendous to have the opportunity to explore issues relating to education, poverty and much more with emerging leaders from countries as diverse as Mexico, Pakistan and Nigeria. To experience such diversity – not only of culture – but of thought, skill and expertise was such a powerful and enrichening opportunity.
The Future Leaders Connect programme provided truly invaluable professional development and I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone with an interest in policy change to apply for this transformational programme.