Careers Champion: Working Adviser meets finalist Alison Hart
In a series of mini-blogs to mark the 10th Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Alison Hart from the The College of Podiatry
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current role?
AH: I’ve been working for the College of Podiatry for Twenty-eight years and on the careers project for the last Twenty. In the early stages my role was to co-ordinate and help to develop the various activities for the project. These have ranged from creating a children’s character, developing resources for selected units in Key Stage 2 (Podiatry and School Science (PASS) project), developing a careers mini site for podiatry and encouraging our members to become STEM ambassadors as well as volunteering to attend careers events in their local communities.
As the project has evolved so has my role. I work with the Admission Tutors for the podiatry programmes with the aim of supporting the great work they do in promoting their individual programmes. The focus of my role is currently directed towards digital resources and content, planning the strategy for our dedicated careers social media channels and exploring other channels we can use to promote podiatry.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of the job?
AH: The most rewarding part of my role is the opportunity to work with people who are so enthusiastic about their profession and what it has to offer. Hearing their stories, the different journeys they have taken to becoming a podiatrist and being able to share in their enthusiasm and to hopefully inspire the next generation of podiatrists is amazing. In my opinion podiatrists are the unsung heroes of healthcare!
WA: What is the most challenging part of promoting podiatry careers?
AH: The most challenging part of promoting podiatry is the fact that the range of opportunities it can offer as a career are generally unknown. For instance, before I started my role at the College, I was unaware that podiatrists could specialise in areas such as podiatric surgery, podopaediatrics, podiatry sports medicine and research. This means that raising awareness of the profession is a challenge as it’s not top of the list for most people when they are looking at healthcare careers. Low levels of applications to podiatry programmes is of great concern, meaning that there will be a knock-on effect for the podiatry workforce supply and ultimately the care that is provided for patients with diabetes, musculoskeletal and vascular conditions, to name a few. The significant rate of lower limb amputations is a real concern so ensuring a continued supply of podiatrists into the workforce through recruitment onto podiatry programmes is key which is why promoting podiatry as a career to young people is so important.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
AH: I was totally shocked when I heard that I had been nominated. Much of the work may not have been achieved without the collaborative dedication and enthusiasm of two people, in particular, Jill Woods and Joanna Walkworth and of course the staff on the podiatry programmes. To promote such a worthwhile career continues to be an absolute pleasure.