Nico Stevens | Teach First

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Nico Stevens

  • Studied: International Development with Social Anthropology and Politics, University of East Anglia

Becoming a Teach First Brand Manager really appealed to me, as it is an opportunity to utilise my networks on campus whilst gaining valuable marketing and communications experience.

I have a particular interest and passion for educational equality in developing countries and when I heard about Teach First I thought it was the perfect opportunity to gain experience whilst working for and endorsing a charity that targets educational disadvantage at home, here in the UK. My aim in the future is to work in education policy and the Brand Manager role has helped me gain insight into the education sector.

Before I joined Teach First, I was very familiar with the concept of educational disadvantage. I went to a state school in a low-income area and therefore experienced first-hand what it’s like to be in classes with serious behavioural issues, with a lack of qualified teachers to educate us. When I started studying International Development at university I became even more aware of the educational inequalities, lack of access to schooling, gender disparities and lack of curriculum relevance to livelihoods in developing countries. However, it is not until I joined Teach First that I understood the severity of educational disadvantage in the UK.

This is the first year Teach First has been on campus at UEA and so my most memorable moments have been any time I speak to a student and explain Teach First to them, and spark outrage and passion for the vision. The moment students engage with the problem is the most memorable, as that is when they realise they can help make a difference.

The best piece of advice I have been given as a Brand Manager is that every hour on the job changes children’s education and their lives. I would advise new Brand Managers to be brave and confident – use the role to push your boundaries and try things you might have previously been too scared to do.

My favourite event that I have been involved in so far has been our “UEA Teach First Invasion!” Joe (my Graduate Recruitment Officer) arranged for a whole group of staff from the Teach First office to come down to UEA and we were able to hold a stand for two days in the BIO café, flyer, engage with students by the library, do lots of lecture shouts, attend a careers fair and really understand what events work at UEA.

I have gained a lot of confidence in the Brand Manager role. When I started, I was terrified of lecture shouts but with encouragement from Joe, I have managed to overcome my fear and now feel confident standing in front of a group of people and telling them about Teach First. Teach First are excellent at evaluation so I have taken advantage of review sessions with my Graduate Recruitment Officer to really understand my strengths and weaknesses and make targets on how to improve my skills.

The increasing number of applicants to the Leadership Development Programme resulting in more Teach First teachers each year really excites me! It is so encouraging and makes me think that one day, educational disadvantage will no longer exist in the UK.