Welcome to the team, Juliet!

This month, Juliet Edwards will be joining the Bantani Education team as European Project Officer. With a background in the private sector as well as European policy, Juliet was involved in developing the Knowledge Alliances for the EU’s Erasmus+ programme as well as the HEInnovate self-assessment tool for higher education institutions. She is a firm believer in the need to encourage and support more creative and enterprising attitudes and thinking. Juliet is also a visiting lecturer at the Erasmus Hogeschool in Brussels on the topic of current innovations across a range of sectors, and has an abiding interest is social entrepreneurship and the need for adaptive and flexible solutions to meet current societal needs.

Tell us a little about yourself!

Life is made up of experiences that are, in themselves, an education. We never stop learning and should never feel that we cannot learn, adapt and change. Among my various jobs and experiences I have driven lifeboats for the RNLI in Wales, been a horse-whisperer at a therapy centre in Belgium, represented eccentric artists in London and spent weekends supervising groups of soldiers shooting paint balls at each other in the Norfolk woods. Growing up between several countries and in several languages I was often on the move. This has been a strength and, at times, a source of some confusion! My studies were in Art History and Museology and my research focused on the nature of national and state identity. I spent several years working in the cultural sector and developing my communication and marketing skills in a competitive business environment. Gradually I gravitated to Brussels and European education policy at a time when concepts of entrepreneurial education and the so-called “entrepreneurial university” were being re-examined and I was lucky enough to get involved in very dynamic and successful projects that  have helped drive these concepts forward and reached a much larger audience. 

What drives you?

Based on my own experience, I firmly believe that people need to be encouraged to be as creative and flexible as possible in their thinking as this will ultimately help them operate in an ever-changing society where the job for life is all but gone and so many of us are having to create our own jobs or be willing to change and adapt repeatedly. Sadly, most education systems do not currently deliver this and we really need to address this issue. 
We are currently going through a very difficult and worrying phase in Europe. We are seeing the withdrawal and even the collapse of many of the state led support systems put in place after the last war and this is creating a vacuum. A vacuum that is, thankfully, being filled bit by bit by innovative social entrepreneurship projects. Increasingly we will need people who can adapt and think differently and it’s by creating and enabling networks that this will get done and that initiatives will be successful. Together we are stronger than the sum of our parts. 

What will you be working on?

My first priority will be the new ELYME project (Entrepreneurial Labs for Young Migrants across Europe); an EU funded project to help support and integrate migrant entrepreneurs. As one of the partners Bantani will be responsible, among other things, for creating a tool to identify and assess potential migrant entrepreneurs This is an especially topical initiative that will, we hope, provide an example and road map for similar projects in the future. I will also be involved in the EntreComp Connect Conference at the European Business Summit on 6 May to showcase findings from EntreComp users. Meanwhile there are several other projects in the pipeline to get started on!

What do you look forward to in working at Bantani?

I am especially looking forward to the diversity and range of projects and initiatives that Bantani is involved in and the potential to take new paths and find new opportunities. I am keen to help build a network for the company that will increase our scope and help disseminate the results of the work that has already been done which is considerable. I am looking forward to the learning opportunities this will give me.