Planning a transformation in educational outreach delivery

Engineering Development Trust

Consultant: Anja Batista Sonksen

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Anja Batista Sonksen

“Anja was excellent and the timing couldn’t have been better. She really did add value and her external view helped to reaffirm a lot of our existing views but also look at things in a different way.”

Julie Feest, Chief Executive, Engineering Development Trust

The Engineering Development Trust (EDT) is an educational charity which connects schools and industry and inspires young people to consider STEM  careers by engaging them in a variety of programmes, experience days, projects and placements. Chief Executive Julie Feest initially wanted a review of the charity’s fundraising strategy but when Covid-19 struck she and her team were forced to rethink the way the charity delivers its programmes in the short term. They had the foresight to shift focus onto the longer term, starting with a strategic review.

Pearl of Wisdom:
Research for Better Strategic Decisions – several days of strategy consultancy from Associate Consultant Anja Batista Sonksen.

Provide informed consultancy to help EDT review its strategy and build a plan for the transformation of the charity ready for the post-Covid future.

Weekly Listen and Learn sessions were set up during May 2020 to gather impressions about EDT, its scope and purpose, from a panel of industry partners, sponsors, educators, alumni, trustees and HRH ambassadors, as  HRH the Prince of Wales is a patron. Anja was able to attend the sessions and take part in discussions on the action paper, adding her insight where she saw it was needed most.

From this information, Anja wrote up a summary of the points raised and her recommendations. These were discussed with the senior leadership team and presented to the Board.

Anja subsequently conducted two workshops with members of the EDT leadership team and external stakeholders, one to develop the Mission Statement and one to strengthen EDT’s brand, which actually constituted 11 sub-brands and had thus become diluted.

Anja facilitated a structured and informed way of thinking for the EDT leadership team. She left them with a set of slides, which documented the feedback from the Listen and Learn sessions and subsequent strategic discussions, along with the workshop summaries and recommendations for the Mission Statement, Elevator Pitch and Branding.

Julie described Anja’s ability to flex into different areas, such as branding and fundraising, as “brilliant” and was keen to set about delivering on her recommendations.

Consultant’s insight:
What a year 2020 was for charities! Particularly for a charity like EDT, which had a USP that Julie described as “having strong industry partners delivering F2F content to students”. When Covid arrived, they knew they needed to pivot and start to reimagine themselves. This open mindset and the awareness that all stakeholders, from alumni to corporate partners and board members, needed to be included in the strategic review presented an opportunity to use learnings from this time of crisis to modernise and grow EDT.

Management understood that not only did project delivery need to be adjusted to the new normal, but a mission statement and cleaner branding were needed to prepare EDT for a transformation that would set the organisation up for not only the time during and after the Covid disruption but for the medium future.

About Pearls of Wisdom
Pearls of Wisdom is our campaign to mark the 30th anniversary of Action Planning, for which we have given away £100,000 worth of free consultancy, spread over 56 separate packages. You can read more about it here.

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