Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2014
What have you been doing these past few months, Kevin?
It’s been incredibly busy! I met my Clore Social Leadership coach on three occasions, where a number of themes were discussed and worked through: exploring tactics for lobbying government, top team development, and organisational growth. In September I met my cohort of Clore Social 2014 Fellows at a self-organised residential. It was a great opportunity to catch up with everyone and swap ideas – I feel even more motivated to make the most of this unique opportunity. I’ve also finished writing up my Clore Social research, which is a huge personal achievement.
In addition, I recently became the Chair of the Centre for Youth Impact, whose director is 2012 Clore Fellow Bethia McNeil. So I have been busy getting to know more about their work and planning for my first board meeting.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Wrapping up my research has been challenging and invigorating; I investigated short-term outcomes for measuring youth employability. During this process, I veered between worrying that I had bitten off more than I could chew, realising the enormity of previous literature and the scope of current practice, to then being concerned that my findings were too small. As I near the final result, I'm pleased. I hope the outcome scales and tools for practitioners I developed will be of practical use to organisations in the field.
How has your leadership had an impact on those you work with or for?
This summer saw the very first cohort of young people we engaged through ThinkForward 'graduate' from the programme after four years of support. Back when we started we had a smaller team, so I was particularly close to some of the participants. The results have been better than I could have ever expected with the first 100 getting into work, and over 49 going to university. It was uplifting to see them celebrate at a graduation event they organised themselves on the rooftop of our partners Nomura. Read the City AM article about the graduation.
In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
As a result of the Fellowship I have become more confident in my work with the ThinkForward board. At a series of board meetings this quarter, I supported them to review our work over the past four years, undertake an audit of their own skills and, using what I learnt on last year's Clore Social residential, try to foresee what future opportunities there might be for ThinkForward. As a result, we have drafted clear objectives for the next 12 months, as well as a board development plan for their own work.
Tell us about an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship programme.
I have learnt the value of generating a greater public profile for our work. In September, the ThinkForward social impact bond I led became one of the first in the world to successfully complete. Through it we have supported 1,000 young people into education, employment, or training, and we were able to make a modest financial return to our investors. See an infographic explaining the outcomes of the social impact bond.
I was delighted when the Prime Minister recognised our efforts in his speech on the 'smarter state': "ThinkForward …places highly qualified ‘super coaches’ in schools where they identify and work with young people most at risk of not getting into work. In Tower Hamlets, this has reduced the NEET rate amongst some of the most at risk pupils by 88%, saving over £40,000 per pupil."
Twitter: @kevin_munday ; @thinkforward_uk
Personal website/ blog: www.kevinmunday.com
Current principal role: Managing Director
Current principal organisation: ThinkForward
Other leadership role 1: Chair
Other organisation 1: Centre for Youth Impact
Other leadership role 2: Trustee
Other organisation 2: Catch 22 Multi-Academy Trust
Other leadership role 3: Director
Other organisation 3: Young Lambeth Cooperative
Research: Ready for Work: Building young people's capabilities for employment
Research topics: Children and families; Education; Employment;
Secondment host: Department of Education