MatchFit Operations Director, Emily Courtney

What were your key roles before joining MatchFit?

I worked for the recruitment company Reed for 15 years. It was here that I first met Bradley, [MatchFit Managing Director, Bradley Honnor], during a contract that Reed Learning was running with a number of Education Departments in several prisons. Most recently I worked as the HR & Operations Director for Reed Learning and had responsibility for the operational delivery of training services and internally for managing the HR function.

For lifestyle reasons, on leaving Reed five years ago, I set up my own consultancy. During this time, I worked with a wide range of firms and projects including most recently a contract with Microsoft and a year working on the Fox/Disney integration.

I kept in touch with Bradley and he approached me to see if I would be interested in working with him at MatchFit. The timing could not have been better, and I have been with the firm since September 2020.

Why did you join MatchFit and what are your key areas of responsibility?

I joined because I was excited by the opportunity and, having known Bradley for so long, knew it would be a good fit. My responsibilities are operational and centred around the delivery of our services. I work closely with the Ministry of Justice team on how we can best deliver our services to client groups based in a number of geographies and with a significant number of staff. On a wider scale I am charged with ensuring we have the right processes and people in place as we grow.

What makes MatchFit stand out from your perspective?

I have always liked variety in a role and I like the breadth of what we do here at MatchFit. The fact that we are working with a client the size of the Ministry of Justice creates challenges, but it is also interesting to work with a client that has so many moving parts and employs so many people. It is a partnership in every sense of the word and exciting to be a part of. As a company we embrace a modern flexible way of working. We access expert help when we need it to support the small nucleus of the business, and all bring different skills.

What have you found most challenging and most rewarding about the role so far?

The biggest challenge is the breadth of opportunity presented by working with a client like the MoJ. The increased use of technology in everything we do is also a challenge given the need to integrate systems with our clients and, of course, the impact of Covid-19 on the delivery of our interventions. In terms of what is most rewarding, it really is the fact that what we do makes a real difference to those who take part and that everyone is enjoying being part of it. It is positive, forward thinking, different and as I said, offers real value.

Have you found any unusual ways to relax in lockdown?

Like many people in lockdown, we have acquired a puppy, Pippa, who is seven months old. I think with everyone being in lockdown pets have become so popular with families who are now spending all their time at home.

Given the restrictions placed on us all, I have never walked my local streets or around my local area as much I have in recent months. The importance of being able to leave the house and get some fresh air has never been as starkly illustrated as it is currently.

In a ‘normal’ world, what’s your favourite thing to do when you have free time?

I know it might sound a little trite but it really is the ability to spend time with friends and family. I miss the simple things like going to a café or the pub with friends at the weekend. Outside of that, the freedom to go swimming, which has always been something I enjoy and have missed during lockdown.