Careers Champion: Working Adviser meets finalist Zofia Ciopcinski
In a series of mini-blogs to mark the 9th Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Zofia Ciopcinski – Careers Adviser at Grimsby Institute
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current Careers role.
ZC: My journey to become a Careers Advisor started with a desire to help others realise their goals and potential. Having worked in a Learner Services department for the past 4 years enabled me to support learner’s progression and assist them when they need it most. In my role I provide information, advice and guidance to both Grimsby Institute’s learners and the members of public, empowering them to make choices on their education, training and work. I also deliver group tutorial sessions and organise various enrichment activities including trips. Coming into education sector from a management background in a large private financial services organisation, gave me a unique industry perspective that I find helps me to connect with both young and mature learners.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
ZC: The most rewarding part of working in Careers is being able to witness the moment a person in front of you realises that they can truly reach their dreams. I know it sounds like a cliché, but the majority of young people I work with have low aspirations. The mainstream media reports that Grimsby is a town with the unhealthiest high street, on top of that in 2016 it was voted the worst town to live in in Britain and the rate of claiming benefits is more than 25% higher in Grimsby than the national average. Many young people listen to what is being said and give into this stereotypical and unfair picture of their hometown. Being able to challenge their perceptions and make them realise that they are in charge of their own destiny is what puts the smile on my face every day.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
ZC: I believe that the future of Careers is very exciting. The recent strategy announcing the new statutory guidance on careers advice will address the consistency, quality, independence and impartiality of careers guidance being offered to young people. The introduction of Gatsby benchmarks will help to achieve high-quality careers system that will help young people have the best start to their working lives. We are seeing a greater investment into the careers education and continuous development of professionals within Careers sector. All of those changes make the future of careers look very positive and I am proud to be a part of the changing careers environment.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
ZC: I was extremely surprised, as I had absolutely no idea that I was nominated in the first place and I was moved that my work was recognised by my colleagues. I am proud to represent my college, as I believe that the impact we have on both young and mature learners lives create positive changes that last a lifetime.