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.

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