Jo works in HR in local government. She could see the benefits of becoming an Enterprise Adviser (EA), including tackling the gap in current careers education provision, and networking with people from other sectors. As the L&D apprenticeship lead at Devon County Council, she could also see the links and opportunities that the EA role could provide, including promoting careers in local government to young people and understanding their needs - which could then be built into the Council’s recruitment and retention strategies to help with the workforce age profile and succession planning.

Using labour market information with support from her local careers hub, Jo has been helping her school to look at key sectors and skills gaps in the area. For example, Cullompton Community College has been looking at the changing perceptions of farming, constructing lessons around this sector which reflects the school’s rural location and the local employment opportunities.

Jo and the careers lead have also used the Gatsby careers benchmarks and self-assessment to develop an annual plan that maps all benchmarks and activities and identifies quick wins and key priorities. This includes an increased focus on building careers-related activities into all year groups.

Over the past 18 months, COVID-19 has meant that many aspects of career programmes have been put on hold. Jo says:

'It’s a real challenge for schools, as they try to support the teaching of the curriculum in a completely different way and understandably, careers is not their main focus. Unfortunately, for our school they made the difficult decision to cancel Year 10 work experience in July 2020 and 2021 because they felt that they needed to focus on GCSE studies and acknowledge the pressure on employers. However, there have been opportunities and the Careers Lead in my link school has used a wide range of online careers material to engage students in all year groups. I am keeping in contact with him and our Enterprise Co-ordinator remotely and have been able to help shape and support the careers priorities that we have identified, albeit revised to take account of the pandemic challenges.'

The role has helped with Jo’s professional development too.

'Working in HR provides you with transferrable knowledge and skills, and becoming an EA helps you to recognise what you can bring, such as understanding of employability, strategic experience and strong interpersonal skills. I’ve used these in a range of ways, for example I designed and delivered mock assessment centres (the scariest thing I’ve ever done is stand in front of a group of year 10s!). It definitely gives you more confidence.'

She adds:

'I can see so many links between my day job, HR and the EA role itself. It’s really a win-win on all sides.'