Welcome to CareerHUB


Welcome to my new column CareerHUB. Over the coming months, we will be exploring different careers, unusual choices, how to make a change, further education and training to upskill. We will bring you plenty of interviews and views from those who have successfully made the leap into career changes and others for who it has been a battle. 

It certainly is a changing time in the world of work with many people being furloughed, some roles being made redundant and changes to working conditions, we will have to wait for the new landscape to emerge for some clarity and I will bring this information to the column. 

I read today that three companies I know well have decided not to renew the leases on their premises. Perhaps home working will become more relevant to us all moving forward, but we need to make sure that the minority voices, anxious and reflective employees keep their visible space, even online. 

Will leaving the house at 7am with a lunch box and returning at 6pm become a thing of the past for part of the working week? Before the current health event it is thought that only 5% of us spent time working at home, but about 14% in the field of technology and communications. Perhaps the GenY highly connected, digital natives will bring about more change in the online era. 

So what next for careers?

CareersAdviceOnline.com report that the average person will change careers 5-7 times during their working life according to research statistics, with an ever-increasing number of career choices, 30% of the workforce will now change careers or jobs every 12 months. I’d have just about found the coffee machine by then….you?

Having spent 10 years working in adult education in the middle of my business career, I really do believe that ‘you are a master of your own destiny’ with good and not so good consequences coming from the choices we make. 

Another statement that is often made is that ‘people don’t leave jobs they leave bosses’! I will take a peek into management another time. Whatever your reason for changing direction I hope there will be some insights for you in the CareerHUB column. Do get in touch if you have a careers topic you would like to cover at info@socialightmagazine.co.uk and a Q&A section will be added to the end of the column each month.

So tell me, did you just get up one day and say that you would be an engineer, a marketing executive, or a salesperson? What was your deciding factor when choosing your current career? 

Truth is, it takes time to think through options doesn’t it, unless you are one of those people who had all the right GCSE’s, then the A levels you wanted, and then a path forward.

Maybe you were expected to follow in traditional family footsteps? Some people say they wish they had taken a year out, some go to university only to drop out, some complete their degree with no problem, others take a few years post-school and college to make a decision or find their starting point. Nothing is wrong or right. Higher education isn’t for everyone and of course, there are many opportunities and vocational options available, apprenticeships through to degree and beyond, or the new T levels which are weighted more towards work experience. 

There are so many new job titles and layers in business currently and developing more each year with the boom in technology and communications. It was only a year or so ago we hired a dedicated ‘social media manager’ and ‘SEO’ specialist. I predict the next big thing will be the CIO, the Chief Information Officer, sitting on the board. A very different story from when I left school with little or no career advice at all (it was a million years ago!) and I was expected to go to college to be a secretary, or at best a nurse.

So when I failed to get into nursing college, I started working in an office and then as a trainee manager in a building society. I will add here that I have had three careers and went to University some years later but will come back to that when considering adult education in a later article. On the subjects of careers in schools, we now have the Gatsby Benchmark framework, which sets out ways to improve careers in school from an early stage, building in work-related topics into lessons. 

Over the next few months, it will be a pleasure to share my career journey with you and how it is very acceptable to change and curve your career. There are no jobs for life anymore, just great opportunities to refresh life and give another career a go.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Steve Jobs

My own daughter was on a path to be a doctor. She took additional subjects to help her cause, such as Latin, and was part of the future medics group at her college. She took her A-levels in all the science subjects and additional maths, to one day come home from her volunteering placement at the hospital and say ‘I don’t want to be a doctor’. 

The placement had been volunteering in a role called ‘time for you’, talking to people who had dementia, who had suffered a stroke, been involved in car accidents and brain injuries, all that had affected their ability to communicate. I have to say it was a bolt out of the blue to hear her news, but it was great that she had decided the career wasn’t right for herself. She knew she wanted to help people, possibly in a clinic or hospital setting, and then said ‘I can’t think of anything worse, as an adult, than not being able to make yourself understood’. For the previous ten years, I had worked in adult education as a course leader for health studies and was able to help her to decide on Speech and Language therapy. Perfect!

Krista Sharp

It was a real pleasure to meet Krista quite by chance recently, she’s such a positive person with lots of energy. We were on the same business zoom call and I just felt we had so much to talk about. I thought I would be able to help Krista with my Aspire4businessAcademy learning platform which hosts charity eLearning free of charge and was keen to talk to Krista about that.

Originally Krista studied a BSc in Geography in 2006 followed by a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Geography and spent 13 years working in a variety of schools in the UK with plenty of opportunities to progress her career as a lead Geography teacher at ARK schools with responsibility for professional development for staff across schools in the UK in conjunction with the Royal Geographical Society. Krista then took further study by way of an MSc in Green Economy alongside an Associate Assistant Principal role for the United Learning Academy Trust. Pretty amazing right! A career in education.

With her fantastic leadership and decision-making abilities, Krista was approached by the MYTime Charity who support young carers across the Dorset area. These young carers provide nursing, cooking, cleaning, and emotional support for another member of their family who might be physically or mentally ill. Krista’s role as Executive Director requires her to lead the organisation and develop the charity’s strategic direction. Krista is hugely passionate about her new job and the work that helps fight the corner for young carers ensuring they have access to the same opportunities as other children. Krista said, “One of the best things about my new role is that no two days are the same so it doesn’t feel like work!” She added, “We have a wonderful time planning fundraising events, organising our ‘Making Memories’ days out and developing our programmes which support young carers.”

She concluded by saying “Just like these young people who offer support to others, I have an enduring belief that what I am doing will make the world a better place for somebody else.” Although Krista’s role is still involved with supporting young people, Education management is rather different than providing strategic direction running a Charity. We all wish you well with your new role Krista.

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