Interview season at the Churchill Fellowship
Later this month we will begin a four-week process of interviewing applicants for our next cohort of Churchill Fellows. It is a busy time for our small staff team in our Westminster office with all hands on deck. Our Finance Assistant, Bryan Hamilton, shares his reflections on this exciting moment in the Fellowship’s calendar.
I am delighted we will be interviewing Fellowship applicants this spring, for the first time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. After carefully assessing 965 applications, 237 inspiring individuals have been invited to discuss their projects. Some interviews will be by Zoom, but most will be in person. And so, a succession of talented people, united by a common desire to create a more caring and vibrant society, will arrive at our office in Westminster.
It’s a key moment in the Fellowship cycle and for many in the office it is a favourite. It is the moment where names on paper and written project proposals come to life as we meet the inspiring individuals who are on a mission to make change in the UK. The diversity of applicants and their different approaches to addressing the key challenges we face is remarkable. Candidates come from all over the UK, from different sectors, communities and backgrounds. Each offers a unique contribution to solving a problem or improving on existing work in an area they care about, an innovative yet practical approach that can be applied to workplaces and communities in the UK.
"It is very uplifting to hear people speak about work for which they have a passion, and to see that so many skilled and dedicated people are working to improve people’s lives."
On arrival, the candidates are greeted in the lobby by a member of staff and shown upstairs, where they wait to meet the interview panel. The panel is comprised of three experts for the relevant theme the candidate is interviewing under, drawn from our Advisory Council, Trustee board, partner organisations and Fellows. Candidates have three minutes to outline their proposed project before being asked a series of questions from the panel. These questions will help to assess the necessity and value of the proposed overseas research and the likely benefit to the UK when the applicant implements their findings. And then, after only 20 minutes, it’s all over and the applicant can breathe a sigh of relief and head on their way. But for the panel, this is where the challenging part begins. At the end of a day of interviews, discussions are held and decisions are made before the candidates are informed in June as to whether or not they have been successful.
In my time working for the Churchill Fellowship, I have had the privilege to observe a number of interviews. As each applicant distils and conveys what may represent a lifetime’s altruistic work into 20 minutes, the room becomes a crucible of focussed, positive intention. It is very uplifting to hear people who are committed to raising levels of awareness and wellbeing speak about work for which they have a passion, and to see that so many skilled and dedicated people are working to improve people’s lives.
After the interviews, the applicants return to their homes, but for many the journey will be just beginning, as the 2023 cohort of Fellows travels the world to learn insights and practices from experts and innovators. This year’s Fellowship themes address the key issues of education, care, health, the arts, technology, communities, climate change and more. Through exploring practical innovations and exchanging ideas, many Fellows will build long-term relationships and global networks, and become leaders in their fields. They will influence policy and practice at all levels, and together, guided by compassion, in myriad ways, transform society.
The views and opinions expressed by any Fellow are those of the Fellow and not of the Churchill Fellowship or its partners, which have no responsibility or liability for any part of them.