Why did you choose to join Mott MacDonald?
Cambridge Education were advertising for a Junior Education Adviser role at a time when I was looking to expand my career to get overseas. The company has a good reputation for providing specific, technical expertise in education projects, which I believe to be a great strength over and above other large management consultancies that give their employees a vast range of sectors to deal with. These factors combined to inspire my application to Mott MacDonald, and now that I am in India managing a TVET Project, I can safely say, it was the right choice!
What is the best thing about your job?
The best part of the job is the incredibly interesting range of situations that I find myself in as a Project Manager overseas. Not only have I had to learn to manage a huge variety of people among the consultancy, client and beneficiary teams, but I have also had to adapt myself to new cultures, which throw up different lessons in diplomacy. Since I made the choice to study Archaeology and Anthropology at University it has always been my desire to deal in such various and differing scenarios. In addition, the purpose of the Projects that we manage are often very high on the political agenda of Ministries or entire Governments – this puts us at the heart of debate and turmoil – it is very challenging but also a privilege to be a part of.
How would you describe the culture of Mott MacDonald?
Mott MacDonald prides itself on being a people-driven employer – offering shares, benefits, and development to its employees through regular reviews and chains of management. I consider my own team in Cambridge to be my work culture, and it is a very positive one. Our team are passionate, driven and committed to the principles of collaboration and continuous improvement. There is real openness among colleagues and the managers are encouraging and flexible to change. The culture is one of serious professional care, combined with fun, passion and camaraderie.
What project are you currently working on?
As I have so far only been on one long-term posting, I would have to choose that one. I have been in Delhi for almost two years on the India-EU Skills Development Project, which is funded by the European Union. It aims to support objectives of the Indian National Skills Policy (2009), specifically with regards to development of a qualification framework and labour market information systems. We are a small long-term team of only 3 international and 2 national colleagues, based at the Ministry of Labour & Employment, who were the original authors of the Project. While India’s Policy is highly ambitious in its focus on quantitative gains in the numbers of people qualified and employed – 500 million additional by 2022 – the Project provides a focused input on improving the systems required to quality assure and develop TVET provision. It is a very exciting time to be in India and a part of this initiative, given the political attention focused on skills. However, with politics comes misdirection, targets, agendas, and inefficiency – issues we must contend with in a bid to be heard over the din, as we advocate quality, quality, quality.
When you’re not in the office where can you be found?
Hopefully you will never find me in one place – I enjoy photography, exploring, cycling, partying! In Delhi I have had a wonderful time exploring the city and its people. When I’m not buying something – there is such an array of beautiful wares – I’m observing language, colour, mess, noise, and light. I’m also being observed – India’s people have a penchant for staring! No matter, it is a photographer’s paradise, and a gift to find people so happy to have their picture snapped. Since being in India I have successfully hosted one exhibit and won one category in a Photography competition at work – the thought of what next is exciting to contemplate!
If you could have lunch with any three people who would they be and why?
Why make it three – I’d have all my Grandparents, bring along my sister, Mum and Dad, and then throw in Billy Connolly, Martin Scorsese, Fernando Pessoa, Viktor Frankl, and Tolstoy – that would be a good lunch!