The Governors for Schools team has undergone significant changes in recent years. In 2019, we started welcoming new team members from outside London to ensure placements managers and coordinators are based near the regions they serve. We’ve also embraced a totally remote working arrangement, overcoming various challenges to realise the many benefits of working from home, including increased autonomy, better work-life balance, and a reduced need for commuting.
As an organisation, we’re committed to offering a supportive and friendly working environment to help employees thrive, an ethos that helped us place 1,962 volunteers in schools across England and Wales last year. For a deeper insight into what makes the Governors for Schools team tick, we caught up with newly minted Head of Trustee Recruitment David Ardill to hear about his first-hand experiences of joining the charity.
Changing employers is always a challenge. As I prepared to join Governors for Schools as Head of Trustee Recruitment in June 2022, I felt especially daunted by the prospect of joining a remote workforce after dedicating my career to one organisation for many years. And that’s before I’d even considered the fact I was going to be part of a wildly successful team of focused, high-performing professionals known for their excellent service. With this in mind, getting up to speed quickly and becoming a useful member of the organisation was pretty near the top of my priorities list.
Before joining GfS, I spent over half a decade delivering trustee recruitment services on behalf of the DfE for the now-defunct New Schools Network. As something of an ‘old-hand’ in this area, I arrived with the mission of developing GfS’s trustee recruitment offering. I planned to bring the knowledge I’d gained working on the sector-leading Academy Ambassadors Programme and apply it here to emulate the successes of the initiative. No mean feat!
I was delighted to discover, therefore, that everyone at Governors for Schools offered superb support and care from day one. Every person I met demonstrated intrigue and genuine interest, mitigating the awkwardness that often accompanies remote interactions. If ‘becoming useful’ was near the top of my list, ‘making David feel part of the team’ certainly seemed to sit at the top of everyone else’s. As well as being high-performing professionals, it turned out the GfS team were also thoroughly decent, kind, and friendly humans.
Ever since the pandemic shone a light on the benefits of home working, I’ve been a firm advocate for the autonomy afforded by remote arrangements. Abandoning my two-hour daily commute has allowed me to spend time with my young family, pursue an active lifestyle, and carve out leisure time at either end of the day. Furthermore, the culture of GfS is ideal for the home worker: freedom, flexibility, and trust allow employees to complete work while managing their day to suit their own lives.
Wellbeing allowances demonstrate awareness that real people have real lives and sometimes unforeseen spanners get thrown into the works. If the day job needs to take a back seat for a few hours, the team is flexible enough to accommodate. Small, regular, and informal connections, coffee breaks, quizzes, and chats help to bring disparate people – spread as far afield as Durham and Kent, Manchester and Norfolk – into the same virtual space and miraculously forge a togetherness which has been apparent even in the short time I’ve been here.
My job, over the coming weeks, months, and however long beyond that, is to lead the GfS line in delivering a smooth, high-quality service fit to sit alongside the organisation’s existing offerings. I’m excited to be heading up the shiny new dawn for the trustee recruitment service and feel exceptionally privileged to be entrusted with the responsibility.
Inspired by David’s story? Check out our vacancies
Governors for Schools updates current vacancies on the website. If there are no suitable vacancies for you right now, remember to keep your eyes peeled for future opportunities as we change and grow. We also advertise new roles across our social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.