Pedro Vargas / Senior Operations Manager, Brazil

What's been the most important thing you've learnt as a result of working with the British Council?

I have been working for the British Council in Brazil for approximately 12 years now and electing the most significant thing I have learnt throughout these years is not easy. On reflection, however, I would say it is the importance of having clear Values, set out and reinforced by an organisation.

Prior to the British Council, I had never worked for an institution where there was such a powerful statement regarding its Values. Although they have been updated slightly across the years, their essence has never changed, supporting me in my career on several occasions when facing challenging circumstances. In these situations, reflecting about our Values has helped me to navigate and adapt to different scenarios and changing environments, to try and take the best decisions. This is definitely something I will take with me in my career and personal life.

What skill have you developed or learnt working here?

I believe the main skills I have developed go beyond the formal training the organisation has provided me throughout these years such as the “hard skills” like SAP knowledge and project management certification. In fact, the skills I would highlight are the “soft ones”, fine-tuned by having the opportunity to work for an organisation with an international outlook, liaising, connecting and learning with and from colleagues(collaboration), clients and partners from diverse countries, cultures, backgrounds and idiosyncrasies, which have shown me different ways to look at problems (creative thinking and problem solving), the ever changing organisational context of the areas we work in (adaptability) and being stretched and taken out my comfort zone with different projects and challenges (resilience).

How would you describe the people you work with?

I have had the privilege and pleasure to work with colleagues from different countries and regions of the globe during my time working here. Looking back and also at now, I believe I can say there are some common traits that seem to permeate our staff “DNA”: the passion for the projects and programmes we deliver, the drive to making a difference in the lives of the people we work with and the commitment to cultural relations and mutuality, which is at the genesis of our organisation. 

What other area or business unit would you like to explore within the organisation?

I have had the opportunity to be in various roles, departments and sectors at different levels of seniority inside the organisation. I have worked as a Project Officer and Project manager for Education, HE, Science, Society, Arts and English, acting Digital Manager, acting Director Higher Education, Deputy Director of Operations and my current role as Senior Operations Manager.

I still have the curiosity to explore other areas within the organisation, potentially now with a more regional spectrum.

What do you think the British Council could/should do more of?

We really need to keep abreast and connected with our key audiences and do this by continuously improving our customer and market research and analytics to better understand them, so that we can engender projects, services and products that, ultimately, will continue to keep us relevant as an organisation.

What would you like to say to anyone interested in working with the British Council?

To be part of the British Council is to be part of an organisation with worldwide influence and reach, it is a place of diversity where you will have the opportunity to work with some of the most incredible contents, projects, teams and individuals. You will be able to see the result of your work impacting people’s lives and the community they live in; may it be in your home city or on the other side of the world.

Just a final heads up: getting a grasp of all acronyms might be a little overwhelming at first…but you are not alone, we have all been there. And yes, it is difficult at first to explain to friends and relatives that you do not work for the Consulate.