My name is Catherine R, I work at the Audit Commission. I’m a development manager in the local government directorate and I work in Millbank Tower in London. The main project that I’m involved in is a project called comprehensive performance assessment, which is how we assess the public services that local government provides to local people, and my job is to coordinate the methodology for how we do that.
00:00:24 I was mostly focussed on science subjects, so I did maths, physics and biology A level. I was always very methodical and mathematical in my approach to school. I did a biology degree because it was a subject that I really enjoyed. It was just something which I was really interested in, and I absolutely loved my degree. It was just… I loved all the subjects that I did within it and I wouldn’t have wanted to do anything different looking back now.
00:00:49 I always wanted to be a teacher. My mum was a teacher and I always thought that I wanted to be a teacher, and I did my post-graduate certificate in education following my degree and very quickly discovered that I was absolutely hopeless. I could hear myself nagging and shouting, and I just didn’t seem to have any kind of natural aptitude for teaching at all, which was a big disappointment because that’s kind of what I pinned all my career hopes on.
00:01:18 It was kind of like blind panic, thinking ‘My god, what on earth am I going to do?’ Just because I didn’t know what else to do, I ended up finishing my PGCE because I thought, well, you know, I need to give it a bit more time. I need to really make sure that it isn’t what I want to do. But once I’d finished that, it was just a kind of panic, thinking what on earth am I going to do with my job? Where am I going to work? What am I going to do? Then I decided that I wanted to move to London and do something totally different.
00:01:44 A lot of my friends at the time were moving to London and were doing jobs, kind of graduate jobs in law, and banking, and those sectors that traditionally, kind of, graduates tend to go into, so that’s what I decided to do when I moved to London. I work for a German bank, which has got a reputation of being quite a nice bank, but I just didn’t enjoy the atmosphere there at all. It was very stressful, people weren’t very nice to you, and it just felt kind of a bit soul destroying really.
00:02:14 Fortunately, I was forced into changing my mind because the bank that I work for was taken over by an American company, and I’d only been there about eight months and I was made redundant, so I went travelling to Australia. When I was away travelling, I really kind of thought about what I wanted to do when I got back, and thought about what was important to me in a job, and I realised that I wanted to be somewhere with a different atmosphere. I didn’t want to work in the city; I wanted to work in the public sector. So it really did give me the opportunity to think about what I wanted to do.
00:02:41 When I first started working here, culturally I really felt like I’d come home. I really liked the people I was working with, I really liked the atmosphere, I really liked the sense of working for a team with a purpose rather than just to make money. And there’s such a diverse mix of people working at the Audit Commission, and I just instantly got on really well with everybody, and it really felt like the right place for me to be.
00:03:07 I guess the high point of my career so far is just seeing the things that I’ve been working on published and picked up by the national press. So every year when we publish the results of comprehensive performance assessment, just picking up the times the next day and seeing everything we’ve worked on over the year in print, and hearing people talk about it on the radio, makes you realise that actually what you do is really important.
00:03:30 Ultimately, I think I’d like to work in the private office for one of the big cabinet members. I just really like to be at the heart of government. I really like reading about it in the papers. I really keep up with all the news and I would just really like to be in that environment one day. I’m really interested, when I’m not at work, in conservation and wildlife. I’ve just come back from six weeks in Costa Rica on a conservation and wildlife project. I’m also really interested in sports. I’ve run marathons. I ran the London marathon this year and I’m intending to do it next year. So I like to keep fit; although I’m not one of these people that goes to the gym.
00:04:05 I can’t bear gyms. I prefer pounding the pavements with my iPod on to running on a treadmill in the gym.