It’s back to school for some, but now is the best time for anyone to learn new skills

This September is a special one in our house, our little boy waves goodbye to nursery, and we’re preparing ourselves for his first day at school. Prep so far being ironing on name labels, double checking P.E. kit lists and catching up on the class WhatsApp!

But as Freddie starts school and we return to work, it doesn’t have to mean returning to what we did before, it could mean returning to work and taking the opportunity to do things a little bit differently. Afterall, Freddie will be doing everything differently, a new place with new people, learning new things.

There is much to be learnt from the way our children approach the new school year. As Freddie stepped through the classroom door for his taster session, I admired his want to connect with peers, his openness to new experiences and his thirst for learning. It actually made me want to be a bit more Freddie. As I watch him take his first tentative steps into this new world, I can’t help but wonder how I witness similar transitioning and rapid growth in skills when our Pilotlighters join their very first programme with Pilotlight.

Mandi Cresswell, CEO of Meadow Well Connected, a charity supporting kids and adults to improve their skills and confidence to have a better life, notes that motivating children is often about positive peer support.

“I would say in broad terms we encourage children to look out for one another, create peer groups around specific interests and always encourage them to encourage one another to try things. I think forming positive social relationships and ‘coaching’ others is a great way to find positives in challenging circumstances.”

Working with their peers and finding positives in challenging situations is something our Pilotlighters encounter on every programme they participate in. Working as a team, guided by a Pilotlight Project Manager, they coach charity leaders and their boards through the challenges they face. They also connect with over 500 other Pilotlighters and charity leaders through a host of learning and networking events, developing skills and knowledge of the third sector together.

Lesley-Ann Fox, Family Support Officer at Grace House, a charity offering a range of specialist services supporting children and young people who have complex disabilities, nods to the sense of achievement.

“A good motivational technique to use is to promote positive praise over emphasising the good things that a young person does. This gives them a sense of achievement.”

Our partner charities that go off to change the world are better equipped to do so because of the support, challenge and encouragement provided by our Pilotlighters and our community of purpose. Two years after participating charities have, on average, increased their reach by 30% and their income by 27%. In return, our Pilotlighters grow their networks and develop Board level skills while only committing to three hours a month to Pilotlight.

Every time Freddie worries or complains about going to school, I’ll be reminding him how important lifelong learning is. When did I stop following my own advice? We certainly can learn lots about development from our children.

Are you ready to challenge yourself and take your skills to the next level?

Becoming a Pilotlighter has been a perspective shifting experience for Sathya Bala, Head of Global Data Governance at Chanel: “Being a Pilotlighter has been truly rewarding as I can see how my business expertise and leadership experience directly helps charities think critically about improving their organisation. The multiplier effect of coaching and supporting a charity CEO and their Board is very powerful. It has been so illuminating to realise I can use my voice to bring value to charities doing positive work in the community. It has built my confidence in exploring being a trustee myself, something I may not have believed I could do without the Pilotlight experience. And you meet amazing people along the way, having fun, learning and making a difference.”

Find out more about how you can join us and develop your skills.