I might have gone to work for PwC straight after university, but I wanted to do the Leadership Development Programme. That experience has made me the person I am now. The relationship-building and the resilience I developed through Teach First – these are things you don’t always see in other graduates who’ve come straight to PwC.
During the programme I did a summer project with PwC in assurance. After that internship they offered me a job. I wanted to work in the actuarial team instead so I had to reapply, but it opened the door for me. It meant I’d already met some of the people, and that served me quite well.
PwC recognise the quality that comes out of Teach First participants. I was a hard worker. And, because I’d done the Leadership Development Programme, it meant I didn’t have to go through certain aspects of the PwC assessment process.
Through Teach First I honed my people skills – compassion, interaction, reading people’s body language. Quite often kids don’t tell you how they feel, so you get quite good at that. This helps me in my job now, when meeting clients and working with colleagues - trying to understand things from their point of view and not being too judgemental. My feedback at work tends to be about my ability to build good relationships.
Teach First also helps with confidence and leadership. After all, you’re talking in front of 30 kids every day for two years. It helps me get to know people more quickly and not be shy. And in terms of presentation skills, I’ve got better at that as a result of being in the classroom.
You have to adapt in teaching. There’s always a different problem, such as being told Ofsted are coming in, or having to unexpectedly take a class, so I’ve developed resilience. Some of my colleagues can’t wait for a holiday from work but I know my workload and how to deal with it. I never used to have good organisational skills, but now I know what I need to do, and it helps me stay less stressed.
There’s a wealth of great teachers out there who just don’t know it yet. I’m an engineer and I’ve met only a handful of other engineers who did the Leadership Development Programme. Most people don’t know they should go into Teach First, but they should!