Have you considered a career in careers? Hear from our Chief Executive, Katharine Horler OBE, how by working in careers you can not only make a difference to people's lives but also enrich your own.

"As I write this, in the summer of 2021, I have been working in the careers sector for 35 years. It’s been a while since I was in frontline delivery, but I still get a buzz from what I do, and from what the fantastic team at Adviza achieves every day.

People who work in careers - the broad sector that helps young people and adults to progress in learning and work – are motivated by a great passion for making a difference to people’s lives. It’s a responsibility and a privilege to be able to talk to people about what they want to do in life, to perhaps sow a seed that might develop into a previously-unimagined career in the mind of a young person, or someone who has reached the end of their tether in their current job. To introduce an individual to a career option they’d never considered, to have someone say “could I really do that?” - and to help them do it - is a joy that never diminishes.  

To paraphrase one of my own team, you may not get rich in the careers sector, but your life will be enriched. I am frequently humbled by the calibre of people who join us from successful careers in a variety of professions, keen to make a difference.

That difference is always best understood through individual stories. Most career advisers have them: an individual they will always remember, someone inspiring and courageous whom it is a joy to support and help to achieve better things. One of mine is of a young lady suffering from quadriplegic cerebral palsy. I spent time with her at her school and arranged for her to have intensive support that would allow her to progress in a career. She didn’t want to go to an adult training centre for the disabled, because she felt it would prevent her from having a life that was as independent as possible.

I managed to get her into a college and eventually, a job. She was wheelchair-bound, typed with a mouth stick and had to overcome a lot of hurdles; the battle we had while arranging the logistics of her professional care during the working day is a story in itself. But we got her the training and support she needed, she went on to work for the council and enjoys a regular working life that could easily have been denied her. She still inspires me.

The importance of a job you enjoy

Most of us need to work, but work can ruin your life even while it helps to keep you alive. Being stuck in a job you hate is a miserable experience that can lead to low morale, depression, alcohol dependency, broken homes and worse.

At Adviza, we’re not here to make our customers’ career choices for them; people have to make their own decisions. What we do is walk alongside them for a while, opening their minds to the opportunities that may not be immediately apparent to them and helping them to gain skills, qualifications and experiences that grow their confidence and employability. Many people don’t recognise their transferrable skills and many assume there’s only one thing they can do. That’s never true.

Perhaps the most precious commodity we give to people is confidence, the most transformative and empowering quality you can help a person to develop. A lot of the young people we work with start out with no confidence at all, but many of our adult customers have lost their confidence through setbacks, redundancy or bad experiences at work.

The 2021 Charity Times Awards

Although the majority of Adviza staff are involved in frontline delivery of our programmes, projects and career advice, a lot goes into supporting these staff and ensuring they can deliver the best possible service. Our fantastic support teams therefore play a hugely important role. So I was delighted that Adviza was shortlisted for two categories in the 2021 Charity Times Awards: Trustee Board of the year and HR Management.

The calibre of our Trustee team is extraordinary – they are supportive, encouraging and proud of our work, and they fully sign up to our mission and values. As for our HR team, and indeed all of our support teams, there is simply no Adviza without them. They help us navigate and interpret government advice and legislation, keep people safe, keep our staff looked after and motivate and help tell our stories and reach new clients.

Enjoying Mondays

Every Monday I ring five of our team at random. We have a catch up to discuss how they’re getting on, and so I can find out from them what we can do better. I was recently told by one of our newer employees that it’s the first time in their working life that they haven’t experienced Sunday night blues, but instead, are excited about the week ahead. This is music to my ears! It’s what I want all our staff to feel. It’s also a fitting place to finish, because helping young people and adults everywhere to feel this way is exactly what we’re all about – whether that’s the broader careers profession or the fantastic charity I’m honoured to work for."

You can learn more about some of our team and the diverse backgrounds and routes they’ve taken into Adviza here.