Are you in your final year of university? Do you like Lego? Do you want to tell everyone you work at the University of Cambridge?
Well, you’re in luck: Cambridge have created a new job which pretty much every student would kill to do – the Lego professor of play.
No matter how grown up we tell ourselves we are as students, there are days when I bet you’d do anything to stop staring at textbooks and pretending not to be on Facebook during lectures and go back to one of the better parts of childhood: constructing things out of those delightful plastic blocks.
The role at Cambridge is a permanent position as the Lego Professor of Play, and is is supported by The Lego Foundation which is paying out £2.5m to fund the position, as well as giving £1.5m to support the new play research centre: the new Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development and Learning at the University.
This centre aims to examine ‘the importance of play and playfulness in education globally’ and to ‘produce research which supports excellence in education so that children are equipped with 21st Century skills like problem solving, team work and self-control’, according to the University of Cambridge website.
The professorship offers a competitive salary (naturally) and all the perks of being a Cambridge professor (you’ve got to assume that means formal dinners and endless wine, right?). It won’t all be building towers or dragons from Lego though, the job also entails supervision of students, research, teaching, examination and administrative work.
According to the Guardian, the Lego foundation are looking for their successful candidate to have a ‘childlike mindset’ and who is also ‘playful, extremely curious, open-minded, imaginative and creative.’
Unfortunately, you probably couldn’t apply to this one blind: Cambridge are primarily looking for someone working within the field of play and playfulness already, or at least outstanding scholars who work in developmental or educational psychology. Still, definitely worth a punt.
In fact, to make the story even better, a ten-year-old boy from Aylesbury decided to do exactly that and applied after hearing the position advertised on the radio.
The boy, Aedhan Brown thought he’d enjoy being Professor of Lego and applied with this wonderful letter which definitely rivals any cover letter I’ve ever sent off:
Although he unfortunately didn’t get the job, according to news site Mix 96, the company who were handling the recruitment for the role sent him an amazing response which said:
A thousand thanks to you for sending to us your application for the Lego Professorship at the University of Cambridge. There was so much which was impressive about your application. We loved:
– that you are so good at Lego
– that you can hyperfocus and yet also explain things
– that you have shown that you can read about research into a subject like autism so thoroughly
– that you have such a clear vision for the future and especially that you have the entrepreneurship to want to own your own gaming company AND yet that the reason for that is to make all children happy.
Thank you for your inspiring letter.
I’m sorry to say that the University has told us that they want the Lego Professor to be someone who has a PhD and who has already published books and lots of articles and all sorts of things like that. There were about 200 people who wanted to be the Lego Professor and the University will only interview 4 or 5. So I think that this time you probably won’t be invited forward to be interviewed.
BUT let me promise you two things and say a third:
- When we have had our meeting with the “Board of Electors” at the University, we will send you a formal letter so you know for sure. (I’m sorry that the letter may be a little dull but we have to do this as part of our work on the job process.)
- We will also send a special note to the Lego Foundation to tell them about your interest. Who knows? – they might want to stay in touch with you for future possibilities.
- You are just the sort of ‘future leader’ that Perrett Laver likes to know about – this is very exciting! You spotted an interesting job opportunity and you were willing not just to think about it but to DO something about it. This is EXACTLY the sort of thing which will be great for you as you become a leader yourself. This is the way that you will find a job where three things come together:
- What you love doing
- What you’re really good at and
- What will help other people.
And when you do that, then life really is worthwhile.
With many thanks for your interest and with very best wishes,
David and all at Perrett Laver’
With rejection letters this kind, I’d say this was definitely a role worth applying for!