WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current Careers role.
TS: I’ve been working in Careers for nearly 20 years. I have worked in many different settings such Connexions One Stop Shop, colleges and schools including pupil referral units, and it has been challenging and difficult to adapt to the new changes but I persevered. I’ve seen many changes that the Careers Service went through including the Connexions service, working for a Careers organisations, then being self employed and to the current role as a Careers Coordinator and Adviser at St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College with over 1200 students ranging from A levels to BTEC’s.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
TS: Without a doubt seeing the progress young people make is the most rewarding part of my job. In many instances they start at level one with little idea what the future holds, and within 3/4 years they join University or start a higher level apprenticeship. Working in an all inclusive college I meet students from different backgrounds and situations and I find it empowering seeing how resilient my students are, as most of them manage their college life with a part time job.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
TS: With the new Government Careers strategy requirements, Careers Advisers have to work smarter in order to meet the 6 GATSBY Careers benchmarks. Due to being the only Careers Adviser in my college with over 1200 students it’s virtually impossible to meet these new demands on my own therefore I have already started implementing these new ways of working including seeking support from local agencies such as IntoUniversity, IntoWork, creating partnership with Universities and other establishments to support students with their future plans.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
TS: It was really a pleasant surprise to receive the nominations from my colleagues. I was told many times before by teaching and SLT colleagues that since joining the college I have brought the Careers Service to a new level and have already began to make a positive change especially since we had a student join University of Oxford which has not happened for the past 5 years.