In a series of mini-blogs to mark the 10th Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Julie Jones – Careers Lead at the Fazakerley High
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current role?
JJ: I have worked at Fazakerley High School for over a decade. I spent many years as a pastoral support worker for KS4, followed by the role of careers coordinator and upon completion of my Level 6 qualification in guidance I was given the full time position of Careers Advisor and more recently Careers Leader.
I also have a psychology degree and I believe my academic background and years of pastoral experience have all helped me to understand the challenges and mind sets of the young people I work with. I have spent many years developing provision at FHS and this hasn’t always been easy as I never had prior experience or someone to learn from.
However with support from our Enterprise Advisor from the Liverpool Careers Hub, support from the Career & Enterprise Company and Career Leader training delivered by Teach First, we are now in a strong position. My current full time Careers Lead role involves overseeing the whole school strategy for CEIAG. I have developed the provision in Fazakerley High School to ensure we meet statutory guidance and we are achieving well above average in many of the Gatsby benchmarks.
Our careers provision is fully comprehensive, I provide one to one advice and guidance as well as a whole range of activities in and outside of school. I am also working hard with departments to embed careers in the curriculum which will raise aspiration further. We access support from local universities, colleges, employers and a variety of agencies such as Shaping Futures, Job Centre Plus and Ask apprenticeship service.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
JJ: The most rewarding part of working in Careers for me is helping young people recognise their potential and raising their aspirations so that they become excited about the future and see the relevance of their education.
I enjoy observing the difference in a pupil’s attitude to learning when they are optimistic about the future and I enjoy watching pupils grow in confidence the more they have access to employers, experiences and information. I particularly enjoy observing pupils working harder in class as they are aiming for certain grades. I also find it rewarding when visiting pupils on work placements and seeing them adapt to the working environment and grow as individuals. It’s particularly motivating when pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds raise their aspirations and find the drive to succeed. Likewise I enjoy supporting pupils with SEN during transition from secondary to post 16 education.
I take my role extremely serious and it’s an honour helping young people build the skills and knowledge that they need to manage their careers to go on to build successful lives and make a contribution to society.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
JJ: Careers is changing rapidly and there seems to be more emphasis now on preparing our young people for the fast changing world of work. The government are prioritising this area to make Britain fairer, improving social mobility in order to drive growth across the whole country. The publication of the Government’s Careers Strategy has raised the profile of the Gatsby Benchmarks and as a result provision across the country is improving.
I think the future will see ongoing improvement in careers provision in England and schools’ and colleges’ will become more commitment to providing ‘good career guidance’ I believe employers will have an increasingly important part to play in supporting Careers provision and schools will need to work hard to provide careers advice and employer encounters that are dynamic and genuinely link to the modern workplace.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
JJ: It was such a pleasant surprise when I discovered I had been nominated for the Careers Champion award as I first found out by reading a global email sent by the Deputy headteacher congratulating me! Many of my colleagues were quick to offer congratulations and praise, I think they see the hard work that’s been put into the provision and how much it has grown so they appreciate the impact this has. After years of struggling to establish the provision as well as gaining my qualification with two young children, I feel more empowered and optimistic and proud of how far we have come. This award would be the icing on the cake!
The 10th Careers Champion online final runs until Tuesday May 14th. You can cast your vote by visiting the Careers Champion website here.