Next January I will officially begin my new job as the lead Careers Advisor at St Peter’s College in Auckland. This also happens to be my old high school, so I will go full-circle and return to my educational roots!
To love and to serve.
It was serendipitous as to how I ended up pursuing the role. I recall the job being advertised, but resisted applying for it as I had a perception that they’d want a careers practitioner with a teaching background. However, I got talking to a colleague/friend who also happens to have a son at SPC. She encouraged me to apply, so after a bit of reflection time I submitted my application at the last minute.
From there I had an interview with the Headmaster, who also happened to be my tennis coach back when I was at school! Thankfully he shared the same outlook and philosophies I have around career education. Pathways are more bountiful and complex than ever, therefore holistic and culturally relevant approaches are required to meet the needs of the emerging generations.
I fundamentally have a passion to make a difference in working with students and the wider community. I have long aspired to extend my practice to a secondary school setting and see opportunities to enhance the experience of students in receiving strong career guidance and support. This aspiration was articulated by the Labour party and I hope this creates positive signals for future initiatives and policies in education.
I will be autonomous in my role (very important to me) and I like the idea that I can shape the provision of career services. I can keen to share my fresh perspective and ideas and insights from the tertiary sector. I also like the idea of ‘giving back’ to the school that positively impacted on my learning.
Back when I was at school, I have very limited views of the career advice and support received. The only interactions I recall were having a class session with the careers advisor. She went around the room and asked us what we were interested in. I remember tentatively saying ‘law’, and she said I could study at the University of Auckland or at Victoria. Hmmm. Hardly inspiring or useful advice.
I also remember attending Lampen Work Day and visiting an accounting and a law firm. Useful, but again, few connections were made thereafter. Deep down I was always curious about ‘social worker’ or ‘counsellor’ but information on these pathways were not readily shared or expressed at school.
I am so determined to improve this experience for students. By taking a holistic and realistic approach (that includes supporting influencers and career champions), I want students to know there are many possible pathways for them, other than the traditional expected ones. I also want to help them connect the dots between their experiences. We often learn so much through different activities, but can’t make sense of them unless we are able to reflect on them. Many young people have trouble doing this.
So there we go.
2017 has by far been the bumpiest year I’ve had in my working career to date. Despite the unexpected bumps in the first half of the year, I have gently guided myself through the remaining months and carefully considered what’s important to me. This next move feels right and I can’t wait to get stuck in after a much needed summer break. Beach here I come x