Careers Champion: Working Adviser meets finalist Catherine Purvis-Mawson
In a series of mini-blogs to mark the 7th Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Catherine Purvis-Mawson – Business Engagement Manager at UTC South Durham
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current Careers role.
CP-M: I have worked with young people for many years predominantly as a youth worker. This gave me a real understanding of young people and being able to work with them to informally educate. I then moved into education to raise young people’s aspirations around STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). An aspect of this was connecting young people with industry to inspire them to consider going into this sector. I am now Business Engagement Manager for UTC South Durham (University Technical College) and our specialism is Engineering and Advanced Manufacture. My job role is focused on developing our students socially and personally to develop their work place skills and to support them to achieve their careers focus by working directly with industry. Some have described me as a broker to enable and support students into the work place.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
CP-M: Supporting and raising the aspirations of young people and inspiring them to achieve and realise their potential is hugely rewarding. Facilitating and enabling them to gather experiences that may confirm their career dreams is a privilege. Seeing them become successful, getting feedback from employers about how impressed they are with them and seeing their achievements as young professionals is fulfilling.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
CP-M: We are lucky in the North East that the Gatsby Benchmark programme has gathered so much traction and has received such positive feedback from all involved that it has highlighted the good practice that can be achieved with careers and it’s good that Ofsted are considering this in their practices. For me and our students here at the UTC South Durham our employer partners are vital in our careers programme. They give honest feedback, show the students what industry can offer and provide those real life examples of career paths and opportunities.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
CP-M: Utter surprise! I felt totally humbled that one of our industry partners took the time to nominate me. Working with the students and helping them find their future career is a privilege and focus.