What Gives Me #GiftedJoy – John Cridland

Global Gifted,Talented and Neurodiverse (GTN) Awareness Week 2022.

The Potential Trust Potential Blog

What gives me #GiftedJoy?


By John Cridland.


25 years ago I was asked to do a difficult but very worthwhile role which turned out to result in the most satisfying achievement of my professional life .


I was asked to be a founder member of the Low Pay Commission which was tasked with designing and setting the first ever National Minimum Wage . Two years later a million low paid workers received an on overage 25% pay rise and there was no increase in unemployment .


The achievement speaks for itself; but the efforts required to bring this about were considerable and challenging. We were nine people from different backgrounds with different beliefs and agendas. Some primarily wanted a higher wage to help workers and others were most concerned with small businesses and their ability to pay. Some focused first on individuals whilst others addressed the economy as a whole .


In practice we were all juggling each of these ideas. We were all united in wanting to find the right balance and do the most good and the least harm to people’s prospects and none of us at the beginning of our journey knew what the answer was. We were designing something new from scratch, like building a new aeroplane.


What was important were the gifts that we all brought to the table. We all had different expertise and skills related both to the labour market and in negotiation. These skills were really tested in the months ahead but not found wanting.


We also found that we had another gift which was more surprising and not to be taken for granted; a willingness to listen and learn. We listened to low paid workers and to small entrepreneurs and we listened and learnt from each other. On our visits around the country it was at times unclear which of us came from which background; a Trade Union Commissioner might be asking about business viability and an employer Commissioner about vulnerable jobs!


The net result was that none of the nine of us ended up where we had expected, signalling another gift; the gift of give and take . In the midst of difficult negotiations we had got to know each other well enough to be prepared to compromise .


I remember at the end of those negotiations, after a year’s hard work and a weekend’s intense argument, driving home on a sunny Sunday afternoon with a deep sense of joy. Joy in a job well done and in achieving something really important .


I am a great believer that we get out of situations what we put into them . Serving on the Low Pay Commission really demonstrated this. We brought gifts to the table and I believe we achieved great things together. What better way to find gifted joy!

What gives you #GiftedJoy? Young or old, big or small, email us us at potentialtrust@gmail.com and let us know! We’ll put some of your responses on our website.


About John Cridland


John Cridland is Chairman of the Home Group a national housing association providing supported housing and building homes,Pro Chancellor of Brunel University and a recent Board member of OFSTED. Amongst other things, he was the Independent Reviewer of the State Pension Age in 2016-17, Director-General of the CBI ( Confederation of British Industry) from 2011 to 2015 and a founding Commissioner of the Low Pay Commission which established the National Minimum Wage. John was awarded the CBE in 2006 for services to business.


About The Potential Trust


The Potential Trust (https://www.thepotentialtrust.org.uk) is a small educational charity set up in 1984 to provide, promote and encourage whatever makes education more interesting and exciting for children of high learning potential – especially those with considerably more than the average share of curiosity, perception and persistence – and to enable them to access events and experiences that facilitate their personal and social development and their creative, artistic and practical skills as well as their intellectual abilities.


To this end, The Potential Trust now has four main areas of work to achieve our mission


Questor Bursaries –  The Trust offers small bursaries to children and young people up to the age of 18  from low or lower- income families who have the potential for high attainment in academic or other subjects but who are not achieving at that level and cannot afford to take part in activities that:

  • enable them to learn new things and try new challenges
  • enable them to explore existing interests in greater depth or gain mastery of a subject
  • encourage them to make new friends and improve their confidence and well-being.

Potential Conferences – The Potential Trust runs an annual programme of Potential Conferences on a variety of different subjects relating to learning and high learning potential. A Potential Conference is a professional retreat for a group of up to about 20 people interested in discussing something they are passionate about in this area and that resonates with the aim of the Trust.

Potential Collaborations – As a small charity, The Potential Trust strongly believes in working in partnership with other like- minded organisations who can help it in its mission to make education exciting for children and young people with high learning potential.


Potential Change – in the long term, The Potential Trust seeks to ensure the needs of children and young people with high learning potential in education and in society as a whole are recognised and met and the barriers they face addressed to ensure they receive equity of challenge, experience and inclusion to maximise their potential. This aspect of The Trust’s work includes such as:

  • conducting research into different aspects of high learning potential
  • raising awareness of high learning potential
  • lobbying for equity and inclusion of children with high learning potential in education.

About The G-Word and Global Gifted,Talented and Neurodiverse Awareness Week 2022


Defying popular myths that assume most gifted people are wealthy, white, and will do fine on their own, THE G WORD is a film currently in production that reveals the economic, cultural, and gender diversity of gifted and talented population in the USA at every stage of life, highlighting their educational challenges, social isolation, deep emotional sensitivities, and complex, neurodiverse brains. It puts a face to the physical threats experienced by many in schools and society-at-large, while also revealing a large and lively community of people working hard to meet their needs while challenging the prejudice and trauma that comes with being labeled “smart” in the 21st century.


To find out more about THE G WORD and explore excerpts from the film, click on this link https://www.thegwordfilm.com/home#synopsis


As a result of working in partnership with those in the gifted, talented and neurodiverse community, in 2021 the team behind The G Word launched Global Gifted,Talented and Neurodiverse (GTN) Awareness Week to raise awareness around the world of the rich diversity of this communityh. In 2022, the theme for GTN Awareness Week is Bringing JOY and EQUITY Into Focus. During 24-28th October a programme of webinars, podcasts and discussions will be held on a series of topics related to this year’s theme. For more information and to register click on this link https://www.thegwordfilm.com/gtn-awareness-week

#GiftedJoy #GTNAwarenessWeek #TheGWord