Jo Wright shares her experience at Further Education Women’s workshops

Womens workshop

Jo Wright, Founder and Managing Director of De Novo Advisory shares her experience at Further Education Women’s workshops.

The Women’s Leadership network held four workshops in March, two focused on getting more women onto boards, and two others focused on getting more women to consider being actively involved in finance and audit committees.

These focused and interactive workshops were attended by a total of 44 women at the City of Oxford campus and the City of Bristol College conference Centre. The overall feedback and response for this event series has been excellent. Attendees joined from a range of private and public sector including; Activate Learning, Morley College, Wiltshire College, Sussex Down college, John Ruskin College, City of Bristol College, Bath College, Mountlands College, Maranatha Language School, and AOC.

De Novo’s founder, Jo led a session on ‘Management to bring stability and enhanced value’. Over the last four years Jo has immersed herself into the Further Education sector, motivated by genuine interest and concern for colleges facing demands for rapid transformation. Many are lacking the skills, resources and importantly strong leadership to secure an improved and sustainable future. She focused on how to spot the early warning signs, why organisations fail, what transformational change is affecting the sector and which skills and experience are required to lead an organisation out of a challenging situation. Jo shared recent case studies but also offered a personal account of the obstacles and benefits she has experienced in her career.

“The Further Education sector suffers from the effects of under resourced and skilled leadership and governance teams, who simply do not have the essential experience needed to adequately address the immense financial scrutiny, pressure and other stringent requirements they are now facing. Ahead of new Insolvency legislation taking effect, lenders are also mitigating risk wherever possible, and alongside the ESFA, they are insisting strong Management and Governance teams are in situ to really drive the transformational change needed to secure viable and sustainable colleges. The right team is critical to future success” remarked Jo.

“Achieving better balanced and more effective teams, from workforce level right through to senior management and governing bodies can be aided by recruiting and engaging with a diverse cross section of people, and importantly, ensuring they are developed as individuals irrespective of gender. Employers must focus on the skills, knowledge, experience and potential of their teams to create an inclusive culture that identifies and progresses top talent into their senior roles.” concluded Jo.

Feedback from workshops included, “insightful, very worthwhile, thought provoking,” and “I feel more confident in applying for a board position”. Given the success of the events, the Women’s Leadership Network are exploring further events nationally on this theme.

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