09 May 2022

Meet the Future First team: Emily Barnes

We've got a fabulous team at Future First, and we thought it was high time you got to learn more about them. First up it's Emily Barnes, Regional Programme Manager North.

What do you do at Future First?

I’m Regional Programme Manager North, which means I lead our plans to build and grow across our Northern region. I want to work with more schools to ensure we’re helping as many students as possible connect with relatable role models and discover what life can be like after they leave school!

Where are you from, and where do you live now? What do you like about those places?

I’m from a small village in the North East of England. I then spent several years in Cambridge and London and I’m currently based in Nottingham, as I slowly make way back to the North East! I love the village where I grew up and go back as often as I can, but I do love living in city spaces where I can explore new places (mainly restaurants!)

What did you study at college/university and why?

I studied History at university – mainly because it had been my favourite subject at GCSE and so I just kept going.

Tell me about your career history, from your part-time jobs to how you got here

When I finished University I returned home and worked in hospitality for a few years. I then had a bit of a break, and went to Australia for a few months. When I returned, I started volunteering in local museums and galleries, mainly doing school and family activities. In 2014 I moved to Cambridge for my first ‘proper’ job as a Learning Officer for a heritage charity. I’ve had various roles in arts, heritage and education charities, all within the learning teams, delivering programmes with schools across the country.

What are you passionate about?

Food! I’m obsessed with reading restaurant menus and can spend hours pouring over cook books. I love to cook and I love to eat. I visited Japan in 2019 and the whole trip was one big culinary adventure!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I started to run during lockdown and finally completed the couch to 5k, but I’ve now returned to indoor sports. I’ve played badminton since I was a teenager and I’m a big fan of bouldering. I also enjoy trying to squeeze in a swimming session, during my lunch breaks! But I’m also a bit of a couch potato and can easily binge an entire Netflix series in a weekend…

What’s it like working in the education/charity industry?

Hard work! I’ve loved my roles because they’ve always been about trying to help schools and young people, but this does also highlight how tough it can be for young people trying to find their place in the world and what an amazing job teachers do.

What have been your work highlights from the past few weeks?

I work with lots of our employer partners and delivering these programmes are really fun because they often involve students meeting a whole range of different people and chatting to them about their career journey. As a fairly new team, its also been great to meet people again in “real life” at our all staff meetings.

What’s one unusual or interesting fact about you?

I once did a stand up comedy routine based on my time working in museums.

Which of your role models would you most like to meet and why?

I love Wallace and Gromit and when I was younger wanted to work in stop motion animation, so to meet Nick Park from Aardman Animations and find out more about what it’s like to work in that world would be fun!

Connect with Emily now

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