Meet Katie Forsyth
I applied for the AD role a few months before I finished University back in 2014 and started just after I graduated. I had seen an Explore centre in my local Sainsbury’s many times and after seeing an advert online I decided to apply. I was interested after seeing so many children run into the centre all looking so keen to get inside. I had been teaching drama to children and realised that working within education was something that I really wanted to do, however I was also very keen to develop further skills in business and Explore looked perfect! After accepting the job Explore offered me many different locations that I could move to and I decided to relocate to Camberley in Surrey as I was excited to get started straight away and not be put on a waiting list. I wanted to be able to see a different place and be able to meet new people and this really allowed me to challenge myself as I learnt about a new curriculum. This was a big challenge as I had never lived in England before and wasn’t aware of how the curriculum worked. But with support from my team, Regional Manager and Head Office, I soon understood and felt confident in how the curriculum worked. My journey has been quite a long one to where I am now. After moving to a different part of the country and meeting so many new people, I decided to return home in June 2016 where I currently work in one of the Edinburgh centres.
Before Explore I had worked as a tour guide, and I really enjoy chatting to people. I soon realised that this would become handy in Explore as I spend lots of my time talking to parents, children and teachers. On a typical day I start at 11am and prepare for some of my parents meetings that I have in the morning. After chatting to the parents I update them on what their child has been doing and we agree on any changes to their current programme. I will then have some time to work on my own responsibilities, I am in charge of tutor training, school relationships and community marketing and I have the independence to work through these by myself. After lunch the centre changes and at 3pm the children start to come in. After settling the first few children in I head to the front of Sainsbury’s and chat to parents as they come into the store. I am keen to see if they have heard of us and want to invite them to come to the centre for a trial session. Later on we have our additional content class and one that I am in charge of is Succeed in Secondary, this is a class for our older children. Tonight we are debating so we discuss what debating is and we facilitate their learning by allowing them to practice on each other.
Personally Explore has really helped me to go with my instinct and having a huge level of responsibility straight away made me need to prioritise jobs and develop my own time management skills. This is something I know I am now really good at doing. I am looking forward to continue to develop my skills particularly in finance which I had never had experience in before, this has quickly became something I enjoy and taking charge of it in the centre allows me to feel very involved in the business side of Explore and this is an area which I developed as I become more confident and look forward to developing further as I aim to become a Centre Director.
For a new person starting out at Explore I would encourage them to ask as many questions as possible, when you start there are so many new things to learn, you have the best resources available in your Centre Director and fellow Assistant Director. By becoming a close knit team you will bond and create close friendships with each other.
What I really enjoy is meeting a new child and seeing them grow in confidence as they overcome their own personal challenges. Whether it is confidence to ask for help, learning a new maths method or starting to write their name we always have a reason to celebrate a child’s achievement, which really gives me a reason to look forward to coming in every day.