In a series of mini-blogs to mark the 11th Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Ceri Wood – Careers Adviser at the Hopwood Hall College
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current role?
CW: When I was younger I attended a careers centre after recognising that I needed direction with my own career path and have been extremely privileged to find my vocation and do a job I feel passionate about for approximately 20 years. I chose this profession as many of the core values of the role aligned with my own including empathy, good listening skills, the willingness to help others and integrity. Gaining a number of transferrable skills from prior work experiences and higher education enabled me to start my journey. When I first started work in careers, I was fortunate to work for a charitable organisation that pioneered digital technology to deliver free, impartial careers information, advice and guidance across the country.
After a few years I moved into an outreach careers advisor role in Rochdale, and have worked in this community ever since. This position was hugely rewarding as I was able to utilise and develop my skills as a Careers practitioner to support a wide range of clients to overcome barriers, identify options, build confidence and progress into suitable education, employment or training. As an outreach advisor I was, and still am, particularly passionate about collaborating with partner organisations and colleagues to support the needs of the individual and the wider community.
Eventually I moved into a Quality Lead role to help colleagues refine their skills to ensure they were also adept at offering impartial and empowering careers sessions throughout the Greater Manchester area.
I am now employed as the Careers Adviser at Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale. This role allows me to support a diverse range of learners who are studying courses from entry level all the way up to higher education. It is particularly rewarding to support our learners to develop the career management skills they will need to be successful whilst at college and beyond.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
CW: I find many aspects of the role rewarding but particularly knowing that the advice I provide can make a real difference to each individual and their future. By using skills of exploration, listening and guidance I can support and empower a person to recognise their potential and make informed decisions regarding their own short term and long term goals. This can enable them to transform their lives for the better. I am also proud to work in a sector that places real emphasis on a Code of Ethics to ensure clients are supported in the right way.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
CW: With the implementation of the Governments’ Careers Strategy in 2017 and the 8 Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Careers Guidance I believe that individuals have access to a wider careers offer which is supported by a strong careers strategy. Learners have access to a number of opportunities to experience the world of work and higher education whilst having access to qualified careers staff and to have individual needs met. Exposure to these opportunities will mean more informed and effective decisions can be made.
As a Careers Advisor I encourage self-awareness and openness to opportunities to support individuals to develop the career management skills needed to navigate the changing world of work. Continuing to work with colleagues and partner organisations will support learners to develop the skills, knowledge and resilience they will need to adapt to labour market changes. Change is also evident in the number of career theories that have developed with time; to support this I ensure I keep up to date with research and CPD.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
CW: My initial reaction to becoming a Careers Champion finalist was a huge surprise as I didn’t know that I had been nominated. I am incredibly pleased and honoured to be in the top four as I know there is a lot of good work which takes place within this sector. I am proud of what I have achieved so far and am keen to continue with my own self-development to grow the careers offer within the college.
The 11th Careers Champion online final runs until Thursday November 14th. You can cast your vote by visiting the Careers Champion website here.