A year ago, it would have been hard to imagine that I’d be helping to prepare the Government’s response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices and consulting on ethnicity pay reporting: I was simply focused on my management responsibilities for the business school at Birkbeck, University of London. Twelve months on and part way through a secondment at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), I can safely say that stepping out of my comfort zone and developing my skills in a completely different environment has made a huge difference to the way I see my career progressing.
A secondment offers people who are happy in their current workplace the chance to participate in a new organisation or role with the longer-term aim of greater progression in their career. Secondees demonstrate themselves to be adaptable and ambitious; as a strong advocate of lifelong learning, I believe not only in developing through study but also through experience.
A highlight of my secondment so far, and something I’m very proud of, is working on the ethnicity pay reporting consultation. It was launched by the Prime Minister in the autumn and closed recently. I will be analysing the responses and advising on the Government’s response. The more evidence and research on how people of different ethnic backgrounds are treated across society I consider, the more I am saddened; but this also means my work is meaningful.
This feeling is reinforced by the people I work with, including my Director General who sent a personal note of gratitude to everyone who worked to deliver the Government’s Good Work Plan in December 2018, which highlighted why we should feel proud that our work will have a direct and positive impact on the workers’ lives. Praise from senior managers is generous and good work is recognised in a variety of ways at BEIS, including in-year rewards.
Alongside progressing work on ethnicity pay reporting, for the remainder of my secondment I will also act as policy lead for my team investigating how Government might best measure, assess and improve the quality of work in the UK labour market. So as a secondee I am given real responsibility, the opportunity to shape deeply meaningful policies and experience that will help me in my future career. I would highly recommend others consider what a secondment at BEIS could do for them and how they might contribute to an economy that works for everyone.
Matthew - Industrial Strategy Fellow in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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