Executive Officer, Department for Employment, Reading
As an Executive Officer in the UK Civil Service, you could be involved in a wide range of jobs. My main job was as a Jobsearch Adviser and Jobclub Leader working with people (mainly the long-term unemployed) to help them find a new job. Some of those people were actively looking for a new job others were coming to see me simply so that they would continue to get the benefit money from the Government. I loved working as a Job Club leader with people who struggled with their reading and writing.
Higher Executive Officer, Department for Education and Skills, London
I helped design Government projects to improve schools and help people get into work. As a Higher Executive Officer in the UK Civil Service I worked in London and did a range of jobs that included: Drafting speeches for Ministers in the House of Commons as they presented the Education Act for 1996; supporting the merger and consolidation of exam boards; helping to design and implement the New Deal for Lone Parents, a scheme to help unemployed single parents back to work.
Project Manager, CfBT Education Trust, Reading
I was responsible for co-ordinating and managing the arrangements of training events and conferences around the country for teachers and head teachers. I was involved in some exciting projects that made a big impact in the UK and helped a lot of children and teachers in their work/education. It was fun to see my nieces and nephews bring homework activities home that I had been a part of creating and distributing to their schools
Leading a team of staff and co-ordinating a group of other organisations in the delivering training events, materials and resources for staff in Further Education as part of the Skills for Life Quality Initiative. The Skills for Life Quality Initiative was all about improving the skills of staff working in Further Education through resources, training and support.
Moved around in the UK and Overseas on short projects to set-up new teams, recruit new people and close down projects and programmes. Worked as far afield as Brunei, Kenya and Abu Dhabi as well as with a whole range of projects in schools, colleges and prisons in the UK.
Consutant and Trainer (Freelance), SJD Training & Consultancy, Reading
Self-employed for 2 years running my own business providing training and consultancy services to a wide range of businesses.
Head of Learning & Development / HR Business Partner
Whistl UK Ltd, Marlow
As Head of Learning & Development and HR Business Partner I get to work with managers and staff around the business helping them to make sure they have the right people with the right skills and abilities to achieve the objectives of the business. This means coming alongside people and supporting them in team/job design, recruitment, performance management and people development as well as planning and leading training/team building events.
I am the eldest of 3 siblings, married with no children but 8 nieces and nephews of various ages.
Outside of work I have been a lay preacher, a youth worker and a counsellor all of which have helped me to develop the skills that I use in my day job in HR.
I love to read and spend way too much of my spare cash on second hand books both fiction and non-fiction.
Every job I have had I have learnt a huge amount and has helped prepare me for what I am doing now. Even the jobs that I found really hard were worth it.
Transport and logistics
I think it's important not to get caught up in the idea that you have to be involved in something really important to make a difference. You can make a difference every day just by spending time sitting alongside and listening to someone and you can do that in any job!
Never be afraid to try something new. Careers don't have to be one linear path to where ever you are going. There are many different routes to the same destination and sometimes the longer way round can give greater value in the long run.
BTEC Business & Finance (Higher National Diploma (HND))
Chemistry, English Language, French, History, Mathematics
Highdown, Reading, England
I loved the learning, being challenged every day to do something new. I never really liked having to try and fit in with the in crowd - much preferred my own company
Listening skills - you really need to be able to focus on what people are saying to understand what they need and then develop solutions to help them.
Creativity - to be able to create fun and unusual ways to help people to learn
Communication skills - to help explain complex things in easy to understand language and to be able to re-word if someone doesn't understand it the first or second time.
My love for all learning started in school and I still try to model myself on some of the great teachers I had who inspired me. My HND gave me some great book knowledge and built my confidence in terms of working with others. But the main way I developed my skills was by not being afraid to just get stuck in and try things, researching along the way.
When I was at school I thought I wanted to be a nurse and it was only a few weeks before my final A-Level exams that I changed my mind.
I would probably have gone to college to do my A Levels rather than staying at the same school I had been in since I was 11. It may have made the big move I made later to go to University a little easier.