Careers Champion: Working Adviser meets finalist Theo Shenbanjo
In a series of mini-blogs to mark the 7th Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Theo Shenbanjo – Head of Careers Education, WRL and Enterprise at Haberdashers’ Askes Hatcham College
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current Careers role.
TS: I studied BSc Environmental Health w/ Strategic Management at Middlesex University and went onto work in both the Finance and Recruitment Industry. As part of a Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, I volunteered to help out at Careers Day at Secondary School, the day was a revelation and showed me that I have a real passion for careers and working with young people, I started working at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College in 2011 as a Career Adviser and qualified as a Career Guidance Practitioner via London Southbank University in 2012. I love working at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College, I have worked with lots of amazing young people, it has been a great journey.
As the schools’ Career Guidance Practitioner, I work with students in Year 7-13 and I am on hand to ensure that all students secure a suitable destination through the delivery of information, advice, guidance and application support. I am the first point of contact for students who are thinking about what their next step is Post-16/18, I am also responsible for Employability Training, Transition Support, UCAS and Apprenticeship Support and Work Experience.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
TS: I love working in Careers, you may have your daily schedule with appointments, educational visits and parent meetings but no one day is ever the same and this coupled with the fact that I have the opportunity to help students make their dreams and ideas a reality has to be the most rewarding part of working in Careers. One of my students recently came back to Speak at the Opening Event for my school’s new Sixth Form Reading Room, she is now pursuing her dream of working in accountancy at Sky, hearing her speak about her current role and seeing how much she has grown is evidence that continuous career support through KS3/4/5 really does make a difference and for me the thought that thousands of the young people that I have worked with, are out there in the working world; pursuing their dreams, challenging stereotypes and contributing to society is great feeling and this is where my job satisfaction comes from.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
TS: The labour market is ever changing, we are now in a world of automation, artificial intelligence and robots but despite these advances face to face advice and guidance is still vital and it will always be the bread and butter of our work. With so much information available on the internet the Career Guidance Professional of the future will be need to be both a counsellor and a digital cartographer of sorts as they will be directing and signposting students and parents to high quality websites, resources and opportunities and it is vital that all Career Professionals start building a digital directory which can they can draw on in Face to Face Guidance sessions to support a young person’s decision making, raise a young person’s awareness of an industry or help a student decide between an apprenticeship or university. With so much information out there it is so easy for a young person to get lost and this is why the role of the Career Guidance Professional is more important than ever.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
TS: I was really shocked, at the time I was registering a Sixth Form student for a Police Careers webinar and the emailed popped up, I was lost for words. It is a real honour to be nominated and shortlisted as a finalist for the Careers Champion Award. I am incredibly grateful to all the people who nomated me. Thank you.