Public First makes two new hires

Public First has hired John Cope, currently Head of Education and Skills at the CBI and Tom Waterhouse,  currently at The Crown Estate to join their team

John will join Public First’s fast growing education practice as Deputy Director for Education. At the CBI, John led their policy and campaign work on education, skills, and social justice on behalf of 190,000 members including most of the FTSE and smaller firms. Prior to this, he advised three former education ministers, was a founding director at the Education Policy Institute, and spent 5 years working in Parliament. Working with all political parties, John has represented the CBI on education in the national media as well as on various high-profile groups, such as the BBC’s education advisory board and the government’s National Retraining Partnership.

John will play a particular role in expanding Public First’s practice in Higher Education. At the CBI, he worked with more than 80 universities and 40 colleges. In the last year, Public First has worked with a range of universities and sector organisations to deliver a range of services including economic modelling and impact reporting, policy analysis, strategic counsel, campaigning work, and select committee and media training. Clients include Pearson, Oxford University, Universities UK, the University of Nottingham and Cranfield University.

John said: “I have worked on HE and skills issues extensively at CBI, including advising members on the Augar review; supporting the use of the apprenticeship levy; and building proper technical pathways for colleges and universities. With education firmly top of the agenda under Boris Johnson – but with a range of opportunities but also challenges on the horizon – I am looking forward to continuing to work on these complex issues and providing insight and expertise to Public First’s clients”

Tom Waterhouse will join as an Associate Director in the Campaigns Team. He brings a wealth of experience on running local, regional and national campaigns, including from his time as Deputy Head of Ground Operations for the Vote Leave. In his current role he leads on stakeholder engagement for The Crown Estate across major redevelopment projects in Central London. Prior to that he has worked as a consultant at Portland Communications and at the House of Commons as a senior parliamentary assistant. He also has direct experience of local Government having served as a local councillor in Enfield.

Tom said “From 15 years of campaigning experience I know that if you want to change policy, you have to show that the public are on your side. That’s why I think Public First’s unique blend of policy insight, opinion research and grassroots campaigning is the future of political consultancy. I’m thrilled to be joining their team and having the opportunity to work with their wide range of exciting and forward thinking clients”

James Frayne said  “The addition of John and Tom to our growing team will add major heft to our grassroots campaigns and education policy practice. The phrase “rising stars” is often overused, but you only have to look at their careers to date to see that in both their cases it is clearly warranted. We can’t wait to have them onboard”