We Shape Birmingham - Jane Slowey transcript

Title: Jane Slowey
Duration: 3.02 mins


I’m Jane Slowey and I’m Chief Executive of an organisation called the Foyer Federation. We promote and develop positive approaches to support young people who are finding the journey to adulthood particularly challenging and we work mainly through a UK-wide network of 140 living and learning hubs commonly known as Foyers.

My four years spent at the University of Birmingham were four fantastic years, including a year in Florence. What it did was first of all give me a fantastic education. I got the opportunity to spend time developing my talent for languages but university I think is so much more than that. I had the time and the space to develop lots of skills, there were lots of opportunities that have helped me become the woman I am.

I came back to Birmingham for really practical reasons. I got married, had my children, my husband’s job was in Birmingham, so that’s where we made our lives but obviously there was an attraction because Birmingham was where I’d spent my time at university. But I grew up in the South West and Birmingham didn’t have a particularly good name and in fact I think I was the only person from my small grammar school to even apply to Birmingham, never mind actually come here. But I think Birmingham draws you, I think it gets under your skin and that’s why I was very happy to make my life here.

Having an impact on the City of Birmingham is important to me, I think because it’s such a great city. It’s a young city, it’s a very vibrant and diverse city and I suppose if you feel drawn into somewhere and you feel that somewhere is welcoming you, I think – well certainly I feel that I wanted to make a contribution to the life of the city myself.

The advice I’d offer students planning to study at the University of Birmingham would be to immerse yourself in the city, be part of its life, let it get under your skin and then put something into the city yourself and my experience is you’ll get a huge amount back.


Birmingham’s such a fantastic diverse city and there’s something for everyone. It’s a city with manufacturing, it’s a city with a vibrant cultural sector, it’s a city with a huge and interesting public sector and a thriving voluntary sector, so there’s something for anybody and it's a place where you can really develop your talents.