Careers Champion: Working Adviser meets finalist Judith Hanley
In a series of mini-blogs to mark the 9th Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Judith Hanley – Careers Adviser at Southampton Solent University
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current Careers role.
JH: I trained as a careers adviser way back in 1997 and over the years have worked in secondary schools, colleges and now in Higher Education. I have also trained careers advisers and am an NVQ assessor. My current role at Solent University involves working extensively with both the students, academics and wider university colleagues. I offer 1-2-1 careers guidance, deliver presentations and workshops as well as collaborate with academics to assist them in embedding employability into their curriculum.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
JH: I love helping students and calming their worries about stepping out into the working world. Despite being at university, many of them lack self-confidence and the ability to sell themselves effectively when speaking to potential employers. This is one of the reasons I started the Clothing Closet. The aim being to provide students with a free professional outfit to wear to job interviews and professional networking events. If they look smart and professional it will help them to feel that way, thus boosting their overall confidence and performance. When they get back in touch to tell me about their successes or just to say thank you for listening, it makes it all worthwhile.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
JH: In my work as a careers adviser, I am having to be increasingly creative in regards to how to keep up to date with the changing world of work as well as finding more effective ways to communicate with students. I recently attended a session at the university where they were demonstrating augmented and virtual reality and we were considering how these things could be utilised within our work. Transferable skills are therefore becoming increasingly essential as students need to be able to adapt to the ever changing work environment.
When I started out as a careers adviser I would see the students face to face and hand write a carbonated careers action plan. Now I am posting on Instagram and Facebook, creating interactive resources as well as uploading materials onto online learning platforms. To help myself stay up to date, and to enable me to provide better advice to students, alongside my role at Solent, I have written several of the job profiles which have been published on the prospects web site in collaboration with AGCAS.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
JH: I was very surprised, humbled and honoured to have been chosen as one of the shortlisted Careers Champion finalists. I know that across the country there are hundreds of others doing careers work in a range of educational setting, who are not fully appreciated for the impact they make on young people’s lives. So for me to be honoured in this way, is an absolute pleasure and I am proud to be a careers adviser.