Permanent Secretary, Jonathan Slater has been working in the Civil Service since 2001. His first role was working in the Cabinet Office. Since then he has been working with various government departments. Most recently in May 2016 he moved from the Ministry of Defence where he was the Director General to his current role the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Education.
This Masterclass was held in the offices of Ernst and Young, overlooking the Thames. It was a fantastic and welcoming environment in which to listen and learn from the Permanent Secretary.
Having spent a year working in an inner-city nursery a few years ago I know how hard front-line staff work. The children that I saw day to day made even tough days brilliant ones. This session was such an encouragement to me because it was clear that he cares and is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children across the country. I also appreciated how respectful and admiring he was when he spoke about how much his parents had impacted him growing up.
It was refreshing that he was so open and honest in the way he answered the questions put forward by fellow Patchworkers. The things that particularly stuck with me were the importance of listening to others, finding what you are passionate about and being able to be open and honest when things are hard. Afterwards I reflected on how I can deal with situations that I find challenging better. I admire how he was able to be vulnerable when talking about events that were challenging.
I am learning to enjoy the challenge of getting myself out of my comfort zone. It reminds me that I can do things that may seem scary at first. I left the evening feeling hopeful and encouraged by what I had learned. In the few weeks since this session I have begun to think about pursuing a career that involves working with children and young people.
Written by Carole Ann Farish