Careers Champion: Working Adviser meets finalist Harriet Allen
In a series of mini-blogs to mark the sixth Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Harriet Allen – Careers and IAG Manager at Cannock Chase High School, Cannock.
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current Careers role.
HA: Careers guidance has been in my life for a very long time – my dad was a careers adviser for Connexions and I started my journey working for the company at 21. I was lucky enough to be put through my Level 3 and Level 4 in Information, Advice and Guidance and since then I have completed my Level 6 qualification. I have worked in the community, SEN schools, alternative curriculum providers and PRU’s as well as mainstream schools. I have been at Cannock Chase for three years as their Careers, RPA and IAG Manager and the role has quickly developed. What started as providing impartial one to one careers advice has soon become a world of strategy, event management and curriculum building. I have even become a governor!
I was very honoured to be invited to sit on the Southern Staffordshire Skills and Employment Board chaired by the wonderful Ruth Forster and also sit on the local careers adviser forum led by Julie Poppleton. No two days are the same, I can see students from any year, meet with employers, organise an event or write a new policy – the diversity is amazing!
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
HA: I love seeing the students achieve; nothing beats the look on their faces when they bag that apprenticeship, get their college place or get amazing reviews from a mock interview. That’s why I chose the job, to help and inspire our young people.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
HA: The world of work is constantly changing. I think it is vital that young people know they may not have a job for life anymore so we need to focus on their core transferable skills. It is essential that businesses and school continue to build bridges and identify those skills gaps to make the transition from school to the world of work smooth. LMI needs to be at the heart of careers guidance. For me, careers programmes need to be experiential and meaningful and we need like-minded people to support us.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
HA: I was in total shock! The fact that my excellent manager had taken time out to recommend me was amazing in itself. It is wonderful to know that those around you see the value in what you do, so many people have said how well deserved the nomination is. I am keen to banish the idea that careers information, advice and guidance is a quick one off chat – I work with so many people who strive to make their careers programmes the best they can be for their young people and I want to make sure their efforts are recognised.