From Palaces to Prisons: how everyone deserves to be treated with the same respect

by Jun 27, 2023News, News & events

Having been in the Foundation team a year now, it’s clear that Michael Osbaldeston’s reputation precedes him. He knows everyone there is to know in the education and skills world in London and beyond and is one of the greatest networkers I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing work a room. The reason why he’s so good at this? Michael is genuinely interested in talking to people and finding out about them; whoever they are and whatever their background.

Michael first joined City & Guilds in 1995 after meeting the then PR and Publicity Manager when he was working at Redbridge College:

‘We were the College which City & Guilds would come to when they needed an education provider to be involved in a project. I always said “yes” and then worked out how to make it happen afterwards. At this time I was given honorary membership of City & Guilds and when my contact retired I was invited to apply for her job.’

Initially Michael was part of the Corporate Communications team at City & Guilds and managed press relations, marketing, exhibitions and events, advertising and sponsorship. He then went on to be responsible for evolving the City & Guilds brand, managing relationships and also the reputation of the organisation.

In 2005 Michael was invited to WorldSkills 2005 in Helsinki and there began the partnership of supporting and sponsoring the UK team and the WorldSkills Competition for a number of years.

‘I ended up going to every continent in the world with WorldSkills which has been an amazing opportunity and this is where the ambassadorial part of my role evolved. I was invited by the Indian Government, the South African Government, the Columbian Government to speak about skills and profile City & Guilds on a world stage and so I did just that.’

Conversations that started at WorldSkills in 2005 led to the UK putting in a bid to host WorldSkills London 2011. Michael was part of the team which won the bid and made this happen in Melbourne in 2006. He was then seconded to the WorldSkills delivery team for three years managing Stakeholder Engagement for one of the largest skills events that London has ever seen.

Michael attributes staying at City & Guilds for so long to the ‘talented and committed people he’s worked with both in and outside of the organisation.’ Following his role at WorldSkills, Michael wanted to create a way of recognising employers and developed the concept gaining buy-in from Trustees and eventually the Palace. Thus the flagship Princess Royal Training Awards were born and launched in 2016.

Michael is currently Special Advisor and Skills Ambassador based in the Foundation Team. Whilst acknowledging that it may be small in size, Michael is proud of how the team punches above its weight and feels that the whole team are equally committed to delivering on the organisation’s values.

City & Guilds’ purpose is important to Michael and is closely aligned to his own internal values; another reason why he’s stayed with the organisation for over 25 years. He feels that this strong sense of purpose has threaded through all of his previous roles, from working for the church (where he began his career), to the FE world and finally to City & Guilds.

And this really does sum Michael up. He is passionate about creating pathways for everyone to succeed, regardless of their personal circumstances and he believes that everyone without fail has something valuable to contribute.

So next time you’re at a skills event, look out for Michael. He’ll either be part of the speaker line up, catching up with someone he knows or making new connections.  Go and say ‘hello’, and you’ll leave the conversations feeling really pleased that you did.

On behalf of the team and wider organisation, we want to wish our colleague Michael Osbaldeston a very happy special upcoming birthday and thank him for everything he’s achieved to-date for City & Guilds.

Want to be kept up to date?

Sign up to City & Guilds Foundation email alerts and newsletter

Previous posts

Recognising excellence through the Livery Company Prizes

Earlier this month we hosted the annual City & Guilds Livery Company Prizes awards at Mansion House, home of the Lord Mayor, The Rt. Hon. Professor Michael Mainelli (Alderman). Each year City of London Livery Companies award prizes to honour outstanding learners...

Celebrating our heritage whilst focusing on the future

The 145th Yearly Meeting of the City and Guilds of London Institute happened at Plaisterers’ Hall in the heart of the City. This beautiful Livery Hall reflects the grandeur of a bygone era in a modern setting. The current hall was opened in 1972 and backs onto the...

Creating collective impact in the rehabilitation sector

This is a guest post by Ian Bickers, Founder of Unlocking Justice and member of our Future Skills Commission for Prisons. When the City & Guilds Foundation organised a day bringing together the people they are partnering with in the rehabilitation space, I was...

Learn about the latest findings on Neurodiversity at work in our latest report

At City & Guilds we are all connected by our common purpose: to help people develop their skills. And our City & Guilds Foundation was established back in 2019 to really amplify our purpose and particularly with a focus on supporting individuals who face...

Foundation & Friends podcast: Inspiring Inclusion with Sparta Global

Here at City & Guilds, our purpose is helping people, organisations and economies develop their skills for growth. Through our Foundation, we act as a catalyst for this work, by helping remove barriers to getting a job, celebrating best practice on the job and...

Championing apprenticeships: Insights from City & Guilds’ Young Learner Advisory Team

With nearly 150 years’ experience of successfully supporting training and skills development across the UK and globally, City & Guilds believes in listening to learners. Our new Young Learner Advisory Team (YLAT) guide us by sharing their valuable insights and...

What we learned about making applications more accessible – for refugee women and for all

Access to training and learning opportunities is one of the barriers for refugee women with experience of seeking safety to start or progress their professional lives in the UK. This includes financial barriers, as well as other barriers related to accessing...

Improving young refugees’ educational outcomes through our partnership with the Positive Youth Foundation

At the City & Guilds Foundation we’re passionate about advocating for, and supporting, people who face barriers to accessing skills development. Two years ago, we looked at supporting refugees as a beneficiary group – and have supported a number of different grass...

Bookings now open for City and Guilds of London Art School Spring and Summer Short Courses 2024!

The City and Guilds of London Art School are delighted to announce the launch of their Spring/Summer 2024 Short Courses. A perfect last-minute gift for yourself or someone you love! Next term, they will be extending their pilot programme of Evening Courses with Spring...

Celebrating the very best training and development programmes in the UK and Ireland

Last week, 53 recipients from the UK and Ireland were warmly welcomed to St James’s Palace, in London, to receive their Princess Royal Training Award from Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal.

Podcast episodes

Foundation & Friends Podcast (2024-)

​Green Skills Podcast in collaboration with Green Edge (2024-)

Hosted by Dr. Michael Cross and Fraser Harper, this podcast series explores the critical transition towards a sustainable planet and the pivotal role of green skills in shaping the economy.

Listen now

City & Guilds Foundation Podcast (2021-22)

Share This