Careers Champion: Working Adviser meets finalist Sarfraz Ahmed
In a series of mini-blogs to mark the 9th Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Sarfraz Ahmed – Careers Adviser at Leicester College
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current Careers role.
SA: My current role involves providing up to date impartial Information, Advice and Guidance to learners and potential learners of Leicester College. Through using a variety of formats including 1:1, group presentations, telephone and online to learners, tutors and staff. I specialise in Employability and purchasing and creating Resourcing for the College and the Careers Team. I work with a specialist team of advisers who work with innovative resources and networks thus enabling them to ensure that CEIAG is provided to students of Leicester College and service users. Ensuring they receive the highest level of careers support. For over 20 years I have been the account manager for the UK NARIC account at Leicester College and have tremendous experience in this area. I also write a lot of resources centred on employability, especially CVs, Interview Techniques, Researching and Applying for Work. More recently I have developed FACT sheets for those with additional needs, and developed a part-time job site for students. I also write for national magazines, such as Future Magazine and present regularly through workshops and career events. I see myself as a role model to those from diverse backgrounds wanting to work in Careers.
I have worked for over 20 years in education, after completing my degree at university, I worked as a trainee careers adviser in the Careers Service. After the Careers Service I worked as a guidance officer at Southfields College, progressed to Careers Coordinator in the new merged Leicester College, as the team grew this role progressed to a Careers Adviser. I also trained as an assessor and internal verifier.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
SA: The reward I get from working within Careers is the satisfaction of seeing the outcome of my interaction with people from diverse cultures, ages, abilities, and backgrounds. I get to make a difference. Through setting a positive mind-set, to raise aspiration to reach their fullest potential, to do more and be greater.
This can be from helping them to get a place on a course; or apprenticeship, successfully gaining employment or getting a place at university or to become more confident. Being a resident writer in the Future Magazine and presenting at Career Events and workshops is also rewarding as I can reach out to more people across the UK. In Careers, no one day is the same! I could be presenting to over 200 pupils at a university setting or I could be filming Career Videos for our YouTube channel. I also enjoy getting involved in events such as Open Days, Enrolment and Results Days which gives me more scope to help and support more people. I like the variety in my work and the opportunity to work in different settings such as universities, training providers as well as schools. More recently I had the opportunity to pitch in London as part of the Nursing Times Award 2018, the BOOST project was part of the Nottingham University Hospitals Trust in the HRH the Prince of Wales Award for Integrated Approaches to Care category. Integrated Health Care Services, The College Careers Team have been an integral part of The BOOST project which was initially designed as a pilot in 2016/17 with the aim of bridging the gap in careers provision available for young people who are in remission or recovering from cancer. It has proved to be effective and has had an impact on progression for those individuals who participated in the project, whether this is going to university, gaining employment or improving their confidence.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
SA: Over the past twenty years Careers Work has changed dramatically, when I first started the Government had invested into Careers Work in schools and colleges. There was recognition from the government about the work that Careers Advisers did and the impact it had on people’s lives. The Gatsby Benchmarks and the Careers Strategy has breathed life the work of Careers Advisers, giving them recognition and new-found purpose especially working with employers, and embedding careers in the curriculum. We are looking forward to seeing how the work of Careers Lead allows us to support many young people become career confident.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
SA: I was truly humbled and proud to gain national recognition of a job that I truly enjoy doing. I am passionate about the work that we do at Leicester College and all those that we help. Especially those that are vulnerable and unsure of their career path. I feel proud to be nominated for a Careers Champion Award.