Meet Dan Picola
My name is Daniel Picola, I graduated from the University of Bristol in 2014 with a first in Italian and Spanish. I first saw an Explore Learning marketing event in my home city of Newcastle, and again when I was studying in Bristol many years ago, and never dreamed I’d be working for the company as an Assistant Director years later!
I previously worked for a large retail company in London, and I wasn’t too happy with the way I was being treated, or the repetitive work I was doing. Interacting with my little cousin at home in Newcastle helped me to realise that I wanted to work with children. Given that the Whitechapel branch of Explore Learning was 10 minutes outside of my house, and had always been curious about the big bright building down my road, I decided that day to do some research on the company. One hour later and I began to write an application.
I started at Explore as an AD in Whitechapel in December on an open offer and loved working with the team there in a really thriving centre. Now I’m an AD in Ilford, and enjoy being able to take part in the success of my own centre. Both centres recently won the Q1 trip to Miami, so you could definitely say my first few months with Explore was rewarded in the best way possible, and a definite highlight for me!
I’d say there’s no such thing as a typical day at Explore. Your roles and responsibilities can range from finance, to managing the schools program. Each requires its own individual attention to make it a success, and that has definitely been the most challenging part of my job so far. I’ll work on everything from tutor recruitment, to retaining members during the day, all leading up to showtime at 3pm – when I get to do anything from welcoming the kids in, tutoring, or holding a parents’ meeting. No two days are the same, and they all throw up their own challenges to solve.
I’ve loved working for Explore Learning so far, but the best bit has to be my daily interactions with the children, and their parents. Every time a parent says that their child was looking forward to seeing you today, or that they want to spend just 5 more minutes in Surf Club to finish a flattering drawing of you, I can’t get rid of my smile. That happy feeling I leave with every day I’ve not found in any other job.
At Explore I’ve learned to manage my workload more effectively, plan carefully so that everyone on the team knows what’s going on, and not to panic if multiple things go wrong at once! I feel I’ve developed over the 6 months I’ve been here, and could see myself launching a centre at some point. If you become an AD, I’d just say not to panic, and learn as you go. As long as you make a difference to the kids during showtime, all the rest will follow!