00:00:03 I’m Amanda Hayes, I’m Vice Principal at Kensington and Chelsea College. Vice Principal means I’ve got about six members of staff who report to me. And we meet together regularly to talk about how they’re developing with their particular tasks. I also am a member of the Executive, and we take a sort of bigger look at what the – where the College is, where the College is going to go, opportunities, things that we should be involved with, and things that perhaps we ought to change because they’re not going so well, or because the outside environment is changing.
00:00:39 When I was at school I don’t know really what I thought I was going to do. I was at an all girls school, an academic school, in Shrewsbury. And at that time girls weren’t necessarily expected to have careers, and careers that they’d have for the whole of their lives. They might have had a job for a while, but you weren’t looking for a big career.
00:00:59 The first thing I did when I left school was to go to Art College. And I went to Art College in Shrewsbury. Instead of just doing Art for two or three hours a week, it meant doing it all day every day. The only course I wanted to do, there were only four in Textiles – Fine Art Textiles – in the country. And the best one was in London. That meant leaving Shrewsbury, and a very sort of small town, and a bit back waters in those days, to come to a very busy world city, and live on my own, which was quite daunting, I have to say.
00:01:32 When I was at Art College I did Textiles as my main subject, and I did Photography as my second subject. And one day I’d had a very bad day in the dark room, and everything I’d done had gone wrong. And the Head of Photography hadn’t said very much, but he’d watched. And suddenly I said OK that’s it, you know, I’m going. I didn’t storm out or anything, I just tidied up, and I was just going to go home. And he said – you can’t go now, I want you to do a good print. And I said Oh I can do it another day. He said No, you’re going to stay, you’re going to do a good print, and I’m going to be here. Because he said if you don’t, you’re not coming back, are you? And in fact I hadn’t told him, but I wasn’t. I feel quite emotional about that because it tells me a lot about why I work in this college, and the things that I do, because it does make a difference.
00:02:28 I came into education because basically when I left Art College I did a one year Art teaching certificate. I worked in primary schools, secondary schools, and then a job came up in a further education college. To be honest, I hadn’t got a clue what a further education college was. But I went along, and I got the job. It wasn’t a long-held hope that I would one day work in further education, it was an opportunity that came along, and I picked it up and went with it.
00:02:58 If I think about obstacles, I suppose the biggest obstacle is probably myself. I do lack confidence quite often, and when you have to make big changes, and change jobs, I have thought to myself – my God, can I really do this? But each time I have managed to do it, and I’ve done it well. So I think that is a message to lots people, about having confidence in your own abilities, and taking opportunities when they offer themselves.
00:03:25 I think it’s very important that you’re a rounded person. When you’re working in a stressful environment you can get too bogged down, so you need something that will refresh you. And for me – I read novels, I listen to music, I go to concerts. But I think if you can’t keep that balance, if you can’t draw on those things, that you’re just going to shrivel up as a person.
00:03:49 In some ways I had to, you know, make choices in my life, but I don’t regret anything. And that’s something I feel really strongly about, and I say that to my students, and to my staff. You mustn’t ever go through life saying – Oh if only I had. I think you should never say that, that’s dreadful and I want to get to the age of 90 and say if only I had. You have to make your opportunities and you have to take them.