Global Director of Education KidZania, UK
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 26 cities on 5 continents with plans for further developments in some 20 locations including the USA, Canada and South Africa.
Dr Graus has been at the heart of innovation and project development such as ‘KidZania World Online’, ‘Individual Pupil Participation Profiles’; ‘KidZtalks’, ‘KidZania Careers Weeks’, ‘KidZania LitFests’; education ‘Think-Tanks’, ‘Ambassador Schools’ and independent evaluations by, amongst others the University of Cambridge, Cass Business School, Havas Helia, Tribal Planet Inc and Tecnológico de Monterrey. Based on these evaluations’ findings, Dr Graus is now spearheading a ‘Futures Awareness’ campaign to globally introduce careers education into the primary school phase. After all, as he frequently reminds us: “Children can only aspire to what they know exists.” Dr Graus 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, in 2007, he became the founding Chief Executive of the Children's University. Under his leadership, 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.
Dr Graus 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. Subsequently, he became Education Adviser for Manchester City Council, introducing Modern Foreign Languages into the primary school 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 both quality and standards across 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 2019 he was appointed as Academic Leader at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico, also known as Tecnológico de Monterrey, making him an Honorary Professor at the university.
In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List Dr Graus was made an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to children. In 2018, he was granted the Education Leadership Award by the World Education Congress in Mumbai, India.
Prof Dr Ger Graus OBE 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), Junior Achievement Worldwide, as well as the business world, including Tribal Planet Inc, DK, Book Depository, British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), Liberty Global, F1, LEGO, Sandbox, Coffey International Ltd, Beaconhouse School System, and Bett Shows as a member of the Bett Global Education Council. Dr Graus is a regular contributor in TES Global and for TommorrowsChild.TV. He has a monthly column, ‘Becoming Me’, in The Week Junior and is working with Dorling Kindersley (DK) on a series of Futures Awareness books for primary aged children, in ten languages.
In his book ‘Natural Born Learners’, author Alex Beard says of Dr Graus: “In learning terms, Ger Graus is Jean-Jacques Rousseau meets Willy Wonka.” Sir Ken Robinson, author, speaker and international education adviser, observed: “KidZania are extremely fortunate to have someone of Ger’s experience, insight and passion to lead them.”