National Careers Week - Sarah Clark

National Careers Week is a one-week celebration of careers guidance and free resources in education across the UK from 6th – 11 March. Their aim is to provide a focus for careers guidance activity at an important stage in the academic calendar to help support young people develop awareness and excitement about their future pathways.

This year we wanted to know what our staff wanted to be when they were older and what they are now and also what they would tell their younger self.

We heard from Community Engagement Adviser, Sarah Clark

“Through secondary school, I was determined to become a dentist! I think it’s because I enjoyed medical dramas but didn’t want to do anything involving nasty accidents or surgery. I managed to get some work experience with my own dentist and was really keen. As I didn’t do too well the first time I took my A’ Levels, I did an extra year of study and started to question whether 5 years of dental school was really what I wanted.

I had another look at caring professions, and applied for a Speech and Language Therapy Course. Four years later, I was qualified – it was a great degree, and if I went back in time, I’d definitely do it again. It was an interesting role too, but as I had to travel from venue to venue each day, I never belonged anywhere and realised that this was important to me. So, I retrained for primary teaching – my skill set and experience transferred well, and I stayed in the profession for the next 20 years. I loved the children, the feeling of belonging and all the different experiences I had – including singing with a choir at the O2 in London – but as time went on, I didn’t love all the paperwork and marking that took up my evenings.  I took my even bigger transferable skill set into youth support work for a while before taking the opportunity to work with young people in careers with CSW. This was a perfect move for me as through everything else I did, I helped colleagues, students, family, and friends write CVs and prepare for interviews and I loved giving them confidence in themselves.

I’m glad now that I was never a dentist but I’m glad I had a goal – because if you have a goal, you can always change it – as many times as you want.  I have also loved my work journey. It’s been so interesting to have so many roles – I’ve met some great colleagues and learned so much on the way.

So, if I could go back in time and give my younger self some careers advice – it would be to do what I’ve done – have a plan that keeps changing and adapting to life and the situations you are in at different times, take the opportunities that come your way and identify the skills you have that will help you move to them.”