Who got that job?

April 2, 2004

Jennifer Davidson, 34
Job advertised in The Times Higher June 20, 2003.

Director, Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care
circa £35K to £40K

A Canadian "outsider" who had done her homework about Scottish legislation and residential childcare policy so impressed the interview panel that she got the job.

Jennifer Davidson has spent most of her life in Canada and the US. But her father was born and raised in Glasgow and she met her partner, a fellow Canadian, there.

Davidson is heading the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care, a partnership between Strathclyde and Robert Gordon universities, Langside College, Save the Children and Who Cares? Scotland.

The post was to replace the existing director who had been seconded from the Scottish Executive for five years. It was high profile and competition was stiff.

Neil Ballantyne, head of social work at Strathclyde, says: "We had secured five more years' funding, so it was an opportunity to move in a new direction. But we were worried about finding someone. Davidson came from behind. She was not known in Scotland but her communication skills and grasp of policy and legislation shone out."

Davidson, whose early career in Canada involved working with young alcohol and drug users, was looking to move from Texas, where she directed postgraduate social work training and was active in promoting the children's rights.

The post involves transforming residential childcare through equipping the workforce. Historically, the workforce has been underqualified.

Ballantyne says: "She has quickly established herself. She is a known face in the community and has demonstrated that she can engage with people. It was a risk for the interview panel but it has paid off."

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