Kayzi Ambridge is a current associate on the 2027 programme. She joined 2027 and launched her career in grant-making in 2021 through a placement at the National Lottery Community Fund. In this blog, she talks about her experience applying to 2027, including some useful application tips, share insight into her placement and covers what she wished she’d known before starting the programme.
My placement experience
I found out about the 2027 programme through my volunteering work in the community and applied to 2027 due to my relevant experience supporting communities. At the time I applied I was working on multi-agency flooding related issues and supporting affected communities. Outside of my work life, I volunteered in the community, supporting European nationals to obtain their Settled Status to remain living, studying and working in the UK.
Through the 2027 programme, I have been placed with the National Lottery Community Fund. In my role as Funding Officer, I have been able to use my community and thematic knowledge of our local patch from my volunteering which has informed and provided additional insight to our collective decision making. From day 1, I have been able to get stuck in and contribute. Due to COVID, I’ve not been out and about in the community as much as I would have liked but it’s still early days and I’m looking forward to throwing myself back into visiting funded projects as I’ve always loved the community engagement aspect of all my jobs.
In terms of organisational culture, my team are great! It’s an inclusive culture, very supportive and we’re always open to learning from each other.
The application process
When applying to 2027, I was impressed with the recruitment process. I normally am terrible at applying for roles with competency-based questions even though I knew I could do the job (possibly due to my dyslexia and other neurodiverse conditions). However, I found the 2027 application process to be independent, impartial, refreshingly and consciously unbiased. You are assessed on attitude, co-operation and potential rather than having an established track record in grant funding. I remember being so amazed at the rich diversity reflected in my 2027 cohort. I would encourage potential candidates to put themselves forward to be the change they wish to see in terms of increased diversity in the grant-funding sector.
All recruitment should be like this! The 2027 recruitment process looks for reasons why to include candidates who fit the behavioural aspects in an equal way and not through an adversarial unequal power dynamic process that seeks to exclude them.
Go for it!
I didn’t think for the life of me that I would achieve a place on the 2027 Programme. However, I was curious, got out of my comfort zone and I’m now 5 months into the programme. If you have doubts like mine about being successful, my advice is to give yourself permission, take a chance and have a go.
Your lived experience will shine through and you have nothing to lose. I even found the assessments fun and not scary at all, the 2027 team really want to see and get the best out of you.
Specific application tips
• Read the instructions and take your time
• Ask someone you trust to review what you have written
• Be honest, open, and be yourself
• Check the 8 competencies and make sure that you have covered them in your application
• Ask questions – James, Ben, Dean and the rest of the 2027 crew are really constructive, supportive, and I have full confidence in them (which is a rare thing for me to say!). Feel free to contact them if you have any queries or concerns, especially around reasonable adjustments, I have found 2027 really accommodating towards my workplace challenges
Things I wish I’d known before starting the programme
• Don’t worry about whether you are too old … or too young! It’s the quality of your lived experience that counts; don’t let yourself (or more importantly others) put you off applying because of ageist beliefs
• 2027 is not a competition it is a collaboration, you will learn so much from your peers on the 2027 programme. We support each other and celebrate their successes as well as our own, similarly we support each other when things don’t go so well.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity! I’m glad I’ve invested in ME through the 2027 Programme and taken a chance to see what potential I have, what I can do and to be the best I can be using my lived experience to inform funding decision making.
The 2027 programme is currently open for applications and will close on 27 April at 1 pm. Apply by clicking here.