What is your current job title?
Director at Quay Directions Limited.
How long have you volunteered with the University?
It’s now approaching eight years; in fact, since the Careers Network Mentoring programme was first launched. I can recall reading the invitation to participate; and, immediately investigating how I could contribute.
My first thought was "I really wished a similar programme had been in place in my Final Year". With so much going on, and increasing pressures in your Final year, it would have been great to have an independent person, who could be available to offer advice, act as a sounding board; or, just be around as and when you needed them. And, you know what, that inspired me.
In what capacity have you volunteered?
As a long-standing mentor on the Careers Network Mentoring programme.
Why do you volunteer for the University?
On leaving Birmingham and getting my first job in London, the gap between studying and full time work hit me like a pile-driver. And, that was even after vacation jobs on building sites and in a book warehouse. It was certainly a shock. I might have thought I was prepared; but, the transition could have been made smoother; and, with less fear of the unknown.
So, when the Mentoring Programme was launched, the opportunity for me to offer advice from my career provided a suitable solution to volunteering.
It has been particularly encouraging as the programme has evolved. There is now a larger cohort of mentees each year, extending beyond under to post-grads’ involvement, and an enhanced matching for mentees to mentors.
What is the best thing about volunteering at the University?
It’s all about completing a virtuous circle that began way back in 1968, with my arrival at the University. A lot has happened in my career since those heady days of bell-bottomed trousers.
I have been fortunate in being able to grasp and make successes of important opportunities. They would not have been possible without my three years at uni. My eyes were opened to what could be achieved. My confidence enhanced to take on new challenges.
Having made that journey, and now with current grads about to take their first steps, it was a simple and logical step to find the best way to contribute. For me, the Careers Network Mentoring programme is the perfect match.
With my volunteering reaching its eighth year, it is really encouraging to look back on my mentees’ successes. I am delighted to have contributed in a very small way to their continuing achievements. We have stayed in touch, beyond the duration of the programme. We still share more as their careers’ progress. We laugh about what has worked out well; and, also, continuing learning from our experiences of working and about life in general.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?
Freely giving of your time and experience, of sharing life in all its different shades, and complexities, is most satisfying and invigorating. I know many mentees feel exactly the same way. Our meetings, and conversations, recharge our batteries, leading us to consider other avenues for study, research, and trying new opportunities that stimulate mind, body and soul.
What's your Twitter handle?