Linda Chamberlain completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Career Development and Coaching Studies in 2019. We chatted to her recently to hear more about her experience and asked what her advice for prospective applicants would be.
What drew you initially to studying at Warwick?
I was intending to keep the cost of a course down by staying local and had been toying with the idea of the University of East London but they had withdrawn the course for a year due to personnel changes. When I realised that Warwick also ran a course, I jumped at it as my son had studied for his Chemistry degree there and I knew the ropes and cheap trains.
What did you enjoy most about the PG Diploma CDCS at Warwick?
To be honest it was the camaraderie at the workshops, inspired by Catherine Reynolds which left a warm feeling whilst working on the module.
Can you tell us a little bit about your career history prior to the Diploma?
I qualified as a solicitor in 1982 and had a corporate legal and senior manager posts in the Civil Service. It was the volunteering leave they allowed me that got me involved with employability programmes with the Princes Trust which made me curious about career theory.
What does your current role entail?
I have three. The first is a part-time role at a further education college advising prospective students and current students about our courses, their options and trying to get them to develop career management skils. These are 16-18 year olds and adults wishing to undertake an access course for university. I help them with next steps like cvs and UCAS applications.
Adults coaching is the second, it is executive coaching one to one for a series of sessions.
Third is the policy adviser role for the Career Development Institute, which involves looking at published papers by government and others and responding to raise the profile of the need for qualified career advisers and to influence funding of a lifelong career guidance service.
What does your typical day look like?
Building resources, setting up meetings and responding to email enquiries. Dealing with short one to ones, mostly unplanned and attending tutorial sessions to talk through exercises to develop career management skills.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
Getting an understanding of what the course content is during the year so that career advice is related to that content. Getting students to participate in anything other than the compulsory lessons.
How would you say (if at all) the Diploma has helped you in your current job? (any transferable skills?)
The resources I build from the assignments and the knowledge from undertaking the modules enabled me to shift careers without feeling lost. Great techniques for building career related learning materials, addressing one to one sessions and understanding the role of career theory and work experience. My research project build resources for supporting parents which I am continuing to use.
Finally, what employment-related advice do you have for current students at the Centre?
Get involved with potential employers through volunteering and work experience. When they know you, they are more likely to forgive the lack of experience in the subject. Make sure you know the latest position on Gatsby if you are going into schools or further education colleges. Now is a great time to enter the profession, given that many schools and colleges are struggling to implement the new requirements.