In a series of mini-blogs to mark the 10th Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Zoe Turton – Careers and Aspirations Adviser at the Pegasus Academy
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current role?
ZT: I have been working at Pegasus Academy for twelve years, during this time I have had the privilege to work with some amazing young people and staff. I started off working with young people as a mentor and I recognised that I was able to empathise and understand the barriers to education, life and hardships young people face. I went to a nearby school as a child and feel that this helps me to understand the social, economic and local labour market that students will enter in this region. However I also want to raise the aspirations of our students and for the opportunities in the wider world to also be open to them so that they can become the best they can be and for them to achieve their potential, wherever this would be or in whichever field.
I am now Careers and Aspirations Adviser at the Pegasus Academy. My role is focused on developing our students socially, emotionally and personally to develop them as a whole not just academically. With the help from the Black Country Consortium and Black Country Chamber of Commerce, I have been able to connect and introduce young people to a vast array of business professionals and volunteers from industry, STEM, Government and many more in the hope that this will inspire them to consider going into any these sectors and to dream big.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
ZT: The most rewarding part of my role is to see students progressing through the education system, to college, university and the job market and to see them pursuing their dream job or career. Whilst supporting students and raising their aspirations and inspiring them to achieve their potential is a huge privilege and when students return and tell me how much they appreciate the help, advice and support I gave them, is the most rewarding aspect of my role.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
ZT: We are very fortunate to have been included in the West Midlands Careers Hub and have received support from the CEC-Careers and Enterprise Company, Black Country Consortium and Black Country Chamber Of Commerce. This has been pivotal for projecting and guiding our Academies careers programme. The Gatsby Benchmarks have also helped to support us with guiding and embedding a sustainable Careers programme for all the students to access. Recent Ofsted changes with a careers focus is very positive for students and is also helping academies embed careers focus learning in the curriculum. We also gained the Prospects Gold Quality Award in July which helps to support us going forward.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
ZT: To be honest I was shocked, excited and quite emotional. I am very flattered to be nominated by other career professionals. My main focus has always been the students so this feels a little strange to be in the fore front and I am flattered that someone feels my efforts should be recognised and rewarded for which I am truly grateful.
The 10th Careers Champion online final runs until Tuesday May 14th. You can cast your vote by visiting the Careers Champion website here.