Our time at PAG: A chat with ex PAG interns

PAG Staff2023, Article, Interview, Profiles, Recruitment

Our time at PAG:
A chat with ex-PAG interns

As it’s currently the PAG intern takeover, we wanted to reach out to previous PAG interns to find out where they are now and how their experience working with PAG has benefited them. We got in touch with Anna Fosse-Galtier and Ellie Wright to talk about the projects they worked on at PAG, the valuable skills they learned, and how their internships at PAG have helped them get to where they are now.

When did you join PAG as an intern and how long was your internship?

Anna: I joined PAG right after my master's degree from university, in 2019, as an intern. I was an intern for about a year, and quickly was given the opportunity to move up into the organisation, from Junior Consultant, to Consultant, to finally Senior Consultant in 2022.

Ellie: I began working for PAG as an intern in January 2018 and was promoted to the role of Consultant in April 2018. I worked with PAG until September 2020 and loved my time there!

What was the first project you worked on at PAG? What do you remember about it?

Anna: My first project was to support a Multi-Academy Trust (The Beckmead Trust) with the pre-opening of a new SEND school in Hailsham. I had to lead their pre-opening consultation with the local community. What I'll always remember is that they were the first project I worked on, and they became my biggest (and I have to say my favourite) client throughout my time at PAG up until the end as I was working on a free-school bid for them for Alternative Provisions.

Ellie: During my time at PAG, I had the privilege of working on an opportunity area engagement review for Blackpool Council (one of my first long term projects). Blackpool was among the 12 areas chosen under the government's opportunity area policy, an initiative driven by the goal of enhancing social mobility, championed by former Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening.
The primary objective of this engagement project was to identify the key barriers to social mobility in Blackpool and ensure that the policy's priorities aligned with Blackpool Council's initiatives. To achieve this, I had the opportunity to conduct interviews with various stakeholders, including children and young people, parents and carers, school leaders, and local business owners. This provided our team with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by the community. This project proved to be incredibly valuable during my internship, as it provided me with numerous opportunities to learn. In its early stages, I gained invaluable knowledge about conducting consultations with stakeholders and transforming qualitative data into insightful outcomes. Additionally, I honed my skills in strategy formation, report writing, and gained first-hand experience working on a government policy.

What skills did you develop during your time at PAG? How have those skills helped you in your career?

Anna: PAG has been an incredible learning experience for me where I acquired a very large set of skills which brought me places in terms of where I wanted to work and who I wanted to be in my career. While I learned a lot about the education sector, I also acquired critical consultancy skills, including critical thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to drive and motivate a team throughout a project with often complexities to it and tight deadlines.

Ellie: During my time at PAG I learnt a plethora of skills and absolutely loved my time working there. Above anything though, I learnt the value of hard work. I will always be grateful to the directors for that and I am so proud to have worked for Tom & Charlotte.

Where are you working now? How have those skills helped you in your career?

Anna: I am now a Manager at Restorative Justice 4 All, where I act as Centre Manager for a Community Centre in Rotherhithe. This is the job I always dreamt of, as I find value and purpose in helping others, especially vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. Restorative Justice 4 All is an incredible organisation, and our centre provides key services Restorative Justice values (power-sharing, equality, dignity, respect and involvement in decision-making). We run Resilience Youth Clubs during school breaks and holidays where we target young people at risk of becoming involved in crime with an early intervention model, we host after-school clubs, and tutoring. For families and residents, we also provide a Food Bank, a Community Fridge for those who are struggling with the rising costs of living crisis, we have a free gym accessible to all, we provide accessible sports classes for individuals with disabilities, we run restorative justice wellbeing circles for people struggling with mental health or isolation, we also provide IT access (phones/computers) and digital support to tackle digital exclusion, you count it! All this falls under a big research project to build the first Restorative Justice Postcode in the world which I am leading on with others, and feel incredibly lucky to be part of. Without the research and consultancy skills that I acquired at PAG, I would not have been able to get to this stage, and I am forever grateful for everything I learnt there.

Ellie: Currently, I am employed as a Year 6 teacher in a 3FE primary school in Salford and I am going to start my third year of teaching in September. My passion for education and education policy has been a driving force throughout my career, making my time at PAG an immensely fulfilling experience. While I had always had the desire to become a teacher, my time at PAG, along with the inspiring range of clients I had the privilege to work with, significantly influenced my decision to pursue teaching as a profession. During my time at PAG, I had the privilege of collaborating with remarkable MAT CEOs, among them Chris Huscroft from Edukos Trust, Beverley Owens from The Sovereign Trust and Sajid Gulzar and Phillipa Sherlock-Lewis from PACT. Witnessing the significant positive impact they had on primary education was truly inspiring and the achievements they made for our children and young people left a profound impression on me. I must commend PAG for partnering with such exceptional clients, as it allowed me to witness firsthand the transformative work being done in the education sector.

Any advice for current interns?

Anna: My advice would be to take initiative and show interest in everything. As I remember it, PAG is a very fast-paced environment, with a wide range of activities and styles, from marketing to data analysis, to bid-writing, and much more. All have a lot that interns can learn from, and remaining open to all streams can bring you wonders. Additionally, I'd say always reach out for support to colleagues when feeling stuck, but at the same time, use your own tools and find your own answers. As I continue to say, Google has been my best friend since I was an intern, and it still is now as a manager!

Ellie: To any new interns working for PAG, I highly recommend embracing every opportunity that comes your way and actively seeking diverse experiences during your internship. Engaging in various projects will not only help you refine your skills but also allow you to identify your interests and preferences. Additionally, working on an array of projects will allow you to collaborate with the amazing team.

I would also encourage to seize as many chances as possible to visit clients and accompany consultants during these visits. These interactions provide an excellent opportunity to learn and grow (I vividly recall how daunting my first client meetings were, but they had a tremendous impact on building my confidence).

Furthermore, I suggest setting clear goals for your time at PAG and taking the initiative to expand your knowledge. Embrace the learning process, as it will undoubtedly contribute to your personal and professional development. Remember, your time there is a valuable stepping stone in whatever you are aiming to achieve, so make the most of it!