The Engage Academy is a year-long professional development programme for the public engagement sector, enabling people to embed high quality engagement into their institution. We asked some of the 2019/20 cohort what they valued most from the experience, this is what they said:
“One of the things that really appealed to me about the Engage Academy is the fact that it’s a year-long process. I’ve been on lots of training courses and left with enthusiasm and ideas but many of these have never been implemented once emails and my to-do list has caught up with me. But the Academy seems different – the three face-to-face parts, and keeping in touch in between, has felt much more like a journey and chance to reflect, develop and improve than a one-off event.” - Lisa Whittaker, Research Engagement Manager, Tenovus Cancer Care
“One thing I’ve realised is that I’m in the right job. There was a time when I doubted it, when it was at its most frustrating, and I wrongly interpreted that as meaning that I needed to find something else. I’m now learning to pro-actively play to my strengths, use my contacts, delineate as well as develop my remit, let go of other things, and make enjoying myself in my role one of my priorities.
I’ve realised how much fun there is to be had with PE, and have been so inspired by the many examples of outside-the-box ideas to get messages across and achieve engagement. So I try hard to sweat the small stuff less, and I’m no longer afraid to create headspace for myself, look up from the keyboard and think on a different level. These days my mind is constantly bubbling with ideas, some of which are already coming to fruition. I’m convinced the NCCPE has had a lot to do with those developments and I’m very grateful for that.” – Myra Wilkinson, Research and Engagement Officer, University of Winchester
"I’ve also been inspired by something that I think has been an undercurrent in many of the words from our mentors and activities here in the academy – the idea that, rather than apologising for our ideas and work, we can truly represent ourselves as people who create value and opportunities for the institutions that employ us – and ask that the partners and researchers we work with also think of their engagement work as not something they do in addition to their job or daily life, but as an important and useful part of it.". – Helen Craig, Public Engagement Manager, UCL