Careers Champion: Working Adviser meets finalist Liz Edwards
In a series of mini-blogs to mark the 10th Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Liz Edwards – Careers Lead at the Wymondham College
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current role?
LE: Having been to university then travelled for a couple of years, I embarked on a career in marketing. I spent over 15 years working with clients in a wide range of businesses, from aviation to brewing, property to tourism. Gaining an insight into different organisations, and being involved in recruitment during this time, has been very useful in my role as a careers adviser.
Looking for a new challenge I became a support worker in a hostel for homeless young men, largely those who had been released from prison. This was a real eye-opener and my first chance to try and help young people who had had the worst start in life. I moved into education in 2012 with a sixth form administration job in Wymondham College, a state day/boarding school in Norfolk. I soon spotted a gap in the provision of careers advice and guidance so, with the College’s support, I undertook the Open University Level 6 diploma in Careers Guidance & Development. I have steadily developed the College’s careers programme and am now Careers Leader, organising a range of events, talks and activities for our students, as well as offering one to one support.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
LE: Careers guidance is a wide and varied role, which makes it interesting and challenging. No two days are the same, and no two students are the same. I particularly aim to help those who struggle academically or lack confidence as they can become disheartened or frustrated. Introducing students to career paths and options they hadn’t known about and seeing them light up and enthuse about their future is so rewarding.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
LE: The government’s new careers strategy in 2018, including the introduction of the role of Careers Leader, has given schools and advisers a more structured and rigorous framework in which to operate. I work closely with our Deputy Headteacher and we are fortunate in Norfolk to be supported by a proactive team in Children’s Services. Their careers network does a lot to encourage cooperation and collaboration between school advisers which is certainly to be welcomed.
Technology has created new ways of disseminating information. So many careers resources are now available on websites and apps, while social media has become a means of communicating ideas, opportunities and events to a wide audience.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
LE: I was surprised, excited and embarrassed in equal measure! I generally stay under the radar, so it is a bit strange having a moment in the spotlight! I am also very aware that there are careers advisers and leaders across Norfolk doing their best to help students, often with little recognition for their efforts.