Working in Partnerships at Apps for Good

Fergus Knight – Product & Partnerships Manager at Apps for Good

I remember my first day at Apps for Good pretty well.

Nerves threw me off my game a bit, I’d been made redundant from the start-up I was working for about a week before Apps for Good gave me an offer, so I was a little low on confidence.

I needn’t have been nervous.

My new line manager Sophie was very friendly and made sure I had everything I needed to start. My new colleague in partnerships, Max was helpful and talked me through the weekly touch-points as a fundraising team.

The rest of the team were introduced to me over the next few weeks and made me feel welcome and relaxed in my new role whilst giving me a great understanding of what each of them bring to the organisation.

It took a while for me to bring in my first partnership, probably a few months.

I remember it was a simple engagement partnership with AOL, who actually ceased to exist halfway through the partnership in a bit of a twist. I also took on some account management from Max as he had moved on shortly afterwards.

Starting life at Apps for Good was a slow and measured process of getting to know new colleagues who are all extremely passionate about how digital skills need a bigger place in education, and about the aspirations of the next generation of social tech, as well as growing into the role.

I had a good first year though and things did speed up.

I brought in a decent chunk of funding and finishing it off running four partnerships of different sizes was very satisfying, and in my second year I worked with a partner and Donna, our content lead, to develop a project around AI that quickly became our Machine Learning Course – that’s an official part of our content library now.

Things changed a little for Apps for Good in my third year working here, as we started to deliver more face to face workshop content that provided exciting new value for the corporate partners I was managing.

We tested some workshop days with Spotify who by that stage I had built a great relationship with, and started to validate workshop content as a team.

As a result, I was then able to bring in a grant project with the Careers & Enterprise Company, who we are still working with, to deliver around 30 of these workshops to students most in need of skills provision across the UK.

As a result of that boost in capacity, we are now entering an exciting new chapter at Apps for Good, delivering more face to face content that our corporate partners love than ever before, and having a big impact on the lives of young people in the process.

Whilst there’s an undeniable satisfaction in contributing to hitting our funding target, being involved in team-wide strategy like the new workshops or our Machine Learning course has definitely been the highlight of working here over the last four years.

That strategy-focused and collaborative culture has helped me understand where my strengths lie and establish real direction in my career. It helped me realise that the direction I want my career to move in is towards Product Management, and my role in partnerships has helped me to build both the necessary business awareness, stakeholder facing and creative problem solving skills to succeed in this direction.

Apps for Good have supported me from the outset brilliantly, and saw that I was making a big contribution in a new area and allowed me to slowly transition into this new role.

I wouldn’t be a Product Manager and be doing what I now know is best suited to my skill set without the experience I had working with the team at Apps for Good in a partnerships facing position. It’s a job that’s help me grow as a professional and as a person, and helped me discover and realise where I can bring real value to a cross functional team.

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