A Day in the Life - Kate Raclawski

Wed 03 Jul 2013

When 28 year old Kate Raclawski first walked into Milton Keynes College in February this year she was just filling time before taking up a cherished appointment with the Foreign Office (FCO).  Days later and she had torn up all her plans; she had fallen in love with a life in education.  Her temporary part-time appointment had transformed into the full-time Head of Marketing & Communications.

“It was never planned,” she says.  “I had been working in the corporate world, surrounded by suits and here I found myself in a vibrant, exciting, never the same two days running place filled with larger-than-life students and incredibly dedicated teaching staff.  I just had to stay and I’m so happy it’s worked out this way.”

Kate’s job is to help build the reputation of the College and to make sure people in the city know what it has to offer.  “I’m a local girl,” she says, “but I had no idea what they did here and it just blew me away.  I felt it was so wrong that people just didn’t know what an incredible range of courses they could do, what a brilliant atmosphere there is and the extraordinary things young people achieve here every day.”

“The new management team has a completely different approach to Marketing & Communications and realise how important the department is to our future.  I’ve had wonderful support from above and whole new teams in Events and Public Relations so we’re really getting everything onto a professional footing.  In the corporate world you’re always scratching around for good stories to make a splash but here it’s like PR gold just falls out of the sky on a daily basis.  People in Milton Keynes may not know it yet but they have an institution of which to be truly proud here, and we intend to make sure it stops being the city’s best-kept secret.”

Kate admits there is no such thing as a “normal day” in her job because with students around, “anything can happen and most probably will do.  I might be planning for events, looking for potential good news stories or just picking the brains of staff and students alike.  I’m particularly keen on our Open Evenings because I want to be there, greeting potential new students and making sure their first impressions of Milton Keynes College are as good as they ought to be.”  She and her new husband have just returned from honeymoon in Cuba and she says three days in Havana actually reminded her of home.  “It’s chaotic, beautiful, amazing, surprising and so full of life – just like here.  Admittedly the buildings are a bit older there but people want to do things, and that’s just like the students here.”

“I’m a great believer that to communicate an institution’s key messages properly you have to really believe in them yourself and I am so completely sold, so totally committed to getting our message across.  Young people who choose to come here will find it so different from school, with so much more room to be themselves and to indulge their passion for their studies.  Even more importantly with dedicated recruitment teams at both campuses everything we do is geared towards those students using what they learn here as a way to get into work.  It’s all about giving people a real edge in the jobs market and a chance to make their education count.”

So after coming to the College quite by chance and at the same time, passing up the opportunity of a lifetime to work at the FCO, does Kate have any regrets about the way her own career path has twisted and turned.  “Absolutely none at all,” she says.  “As a team, we have a real chance to change things, to change people’s perceptions of what is a fantastic place to live and learn.  The truth is I just couldn’t be happier and I won’t stop until everyone else in Milton Keynes can see why.”

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