Case study

Career development practitioner — Emma Bagnall

Emma juggled a full-time job, as well as an active family and social life, while completing the Level 6 Diploma in Careers Guidance and Development. Find out more about how she made the transition into a new career

How did you get your job?

Having had a 25-year career in the IT industry, which culminated in the role of early professionals manager, recruiting, coaching and training apprentices and graduates within the IT sector, I decided it was time for a change.

I started working as a business volunteer for EBP South Ltd, an educational charity delivering inspiration events in schools, and realised my dream was to work full time with young people. This led me to explore and refine my own career plan and I applied for a job as career practitioner with the same company. I secured my current role through an interview, timed tasks and presentation process and trained on the job, completing the Level 6 Diploma in Careers Guidance and Development with David Pusey Associates.

What's a typical working day like?

My role is varied and includes running events to inspire and engage students to explore the world of work, as well as delivering information, advice and guidance to students in groups or one-to-one sessions, presenting in assemblies and running interactive activities.

I also work with local employers, encouraging their engagement with schools. The industry knowledge I gain from them also helps me to grow personally and professionally.

What do you enjoy most about being a careers adviser?

I love meeting new people, supporting and guiding their career development. I enjoy the variety within schools and seeing the students develop their confidence and career learning.

What are the challenges?

The challenging budgets available for careers education in schools can mean you have to be creative about the way you use your time and support them in achieving the Gatsby Benchmarks (a framework of eight guidelines that define the best careers provision in secondary schools).

Balancing the needs of the individual with the time available for each student can also be a challenge.

How is your degree relevant?

My Level 6 Careers Guidance and Development qualification has provided me with the foundation knowledge, core methods and techniques needed to be proficient in my role. I personally found it complemented and developed my prior experience as a career coach and trainer, and added new methods and skills to my toolkit.

The qualification also provides me with a level of recognition and standing as a professional in the career guidance field through my professional membership of the Career Development Institute.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I have been developing my skills as a guidance practitioner by working one-to-one with students in schools. My ambition is to be a recognised practitioner working with clients in a range of settings and delivering quality programmes of group and individual guidance that support an individual's needs.

What are your top tips for others interested in becoming a careers adviser?

  • Look for opportunities to volunteer - use this experience to support informed decision-making. Doing voluntary work helped me develop my awareness of education and schools while also starting to improve my skills working with young people.
  • Plan well and prepare yourself - getting organised, setting expectations and gaining support from a mentor all helped me complete my qualification as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • Seek opportunities to work in groups as well as one-to-one - part of my qualification challenged me to develop group work activities and lead them. This is becoming more common as a way of reaching groups of students and develops your own confidence and communication skills.

Find out more

How would you rate this page?

On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like

success feedback

Thank you for rating the page