Reflections from Paul Jenkins on education and training

At the end of September after eight and a half years as our Chief Executive Paul Jenkins retired. He is succeeded by Michael Holland, who took up the role in mid-November.

During Paul’s farewell to staff he shared his appreciation and thanks to colleagues, as well as reflections on the Trust including education and training:

It is now 102 years since the founding of the Tavistock Clinic, and I have had the privilege to lead it for the last eight and a half. It is a very special place and a unique and distinctive part of the landscape of mental health provision in this country and internationally.

In 1920 when the Clinic started its work the country was emerging from the trauma of the First World War. The pioneers of the Clinic had an exciting vision of delivering mental health in the community drawing from the “new psychology” of Sigmund Freud at a time when mental health care was synonymous with the large asylums. Over the course of the century the Tavistock and Portman has made an impressive contribution to knowledge and practice around mental health and wellbeing through the delivery of services, teaching, research and consultancy.

I am very proud of our education and training work and how it has grown and further professionalised over recent years leading to secure independent registration with the Office for Students. It is striking how often I meet people, often at quite senior levels in the health and care system, who have done a course at the Tavi and speak highly of the impact it has made.

I strongly believe that the tradition and expertise the Trust has, has never been more relevant to meeting contemporary needs and improving the mental health and wellbeing of children, families and adults, especially those with some of the most complex needs. The Trust has significant potential to expand its work as an educator by working with partners in the health and care system and offer a broader range of programmes which are still grounded in the intellectual capital of this organisation. There are also opportunities to offer services outside health and care whether it be in education or in the workplace.

Finally, I’d like to quote something from Dylan Thomas, which sums up some of what I feel about leading and now leaving this organisation:

Every morning when I wake,

Dear Lord, a little prayer I make,

O please to keep thy lovely eye

On all poor creatures born to die.

And every evening at sundown

I ask a blessing on the town,

For whether we last the night or no

I’m sure is aways touch-and-go.

We are not wholly bad or good

who live our lives under Milk Wood,

And thou, I know, will be the first

To see our best side, not our worse.

O let us see another day!

Bless us all this night, I pray,

And to the sun we all will bow

And say, good-bye – but just for now

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