Dr Ger Graus OBE is a renowned figure in the field of education, where, since March 2017, he holds the position of the first Global Director of Education at KidZania.
KidZania, where children aged 4 to14 can experience the world of work through role-play, is designed to inspire and empower: “from inspiration to aspiration”. Since its inception in 1999 in Mexico City, KidZania now has a presence in 24 cities on 5 continents with plans for further developments in some 20 locations including the USA, Canada and South Africa. KidZania London is the UK’s first such educational entertainment centre.
Ger Graus has been at the heart of innovation and project development such as ‘KidZania World Online’, ‘KidZtalk’, ‘KidZania Careers Week’, ‘KidZania LitFests’; education ‘Think-Tanks’, ‘Ambassador Schools’ and independent evaluations by, amongst others the University of Cambridge, Cass Business School, Havas Helia and Ernst & Young. Based on these evaluations’ findings, Ger is now spearheading a ‘Futures Awareness’ campaign to introduce careers education into the primary phase. After all, as he frequently reminds us: “Children can only aspire to what they know exists.” Ger started at KidZania London in 2014, where he has been responsible for developing the UK-wide education strategy, including partnerships with schools, Higher Education, commercial and third sector learning partners.
Before this, he was the founding Chief Executive of The Children’s University in 2007. Under his watch, the Children’s University became a multiple-award winning international charity providing 5 to 14-year-olds with exciting and innovative learning opportunities outside school hours. The Children’s University’s global reach now extends as far as Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East.
Ger moved to the UK in 1983 when he began his teaching career at Taverham High School in Norwich. He next moved on to a management position at Winifred Holtby School in Hull. He was Education Adviser for Manchester City Council, introducing Modern Foreign Languages into the primary phase, and later Senior Inspector for Salford City Council. After that, he became Director of the two Wythenshawe Education Action Zones based in the south of Manchester, leading improvements in 29 schools.
Ger Graus was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Staffordshire University in 2011 and was made an Adjunct Fellow by the University of Adelaide in 2013. In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List Ger was made an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to children.
Ger now works with and advises organisations globally on the learning agenda in its widest sense, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Council of Europe, Ashoka, the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21), as well as businesses such as Tribal Planet Inc, Book Depository, The Void, Highbrow and Britvic.
In his book ‘Natural Born Learners’, author Alex Beard says of Ger: “In learning terms, Ger Graus is Jean-Jacques Rousseau meets Willy Wonka.” Sir Ken Robinson, author, speaker and international adviser, observed: “KidZania are extremely fortunate to have someone of Ger’s experience, insight and passion to lead them.”
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