Careers

Meet the Team

We recently noticed that under the ‘Careers’ section of the school website there was no information...which isn’t very helpful! So, we’ve decided to fix this, starting with an introduction as to who we are and how we used own career management skills to end up in the role we are in now. As a team, we can help you develop your own career management skills which will hopefully help you all go on to positive, long term opportunities that you will enjoy.

So, without further ado, here is a brief(ish) introduction to your school’s careers team:

Ann O’May – School Career Coach

Who can believe I’ve been the Careers Adviser in Hermitage Academy for 2 years already! Time flies when you’re having fun! I really enjoy my job and one of my goals is to encourage pupils to research their ideas fully and consider all the pathways open to them, probably because I didn’t!

When I left school, I decided University wasn’t for me (I didn’t actually research it) and I gained employment with The Royal Bank of Scotland. Here I learned lots of useful skills and was fortunate to work within many different departments from branch level to regional office and finally within Human Resources. I was keen to continue studying and completed my Banking Exams and a Certificate in Personnel Practice at Strathclyde University (which the bank paid for). I then came to a point where I had to decide whether to take redundancy or stay within Human Resources. I decided to take redundancy and try something different! I took time to reflect on my past choices…. who had I gone to for help?

I began to research Careers Guidance and realised that this was something I would enjoy and an area I could use the skills I had developed. I went back to University as an adult, loved the experience and qualified as a Careers Adviser. My first job in Careers Guidance was in a project working with people recovering from mental ill health and addiction where I faced numerous new experiences, challenges and grew as a person. I have never regretted the decision to change my career.

Looking back, although I didn’t know it at the time, I used Career Management Skills to help me make decisions about my career – I thought about my interests, what I wanted for myself (SELF), I considered my skills (STRENGTHS) and looked at the opportunities available (HORIZONS) whilst gaining advice and guidance from relevant people (NETWORKS) along the way.

Your career might take you in lots of different directions so it’s important to have a positive attitude, make a good impression and take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way!

Lindsay Campbell – School Career Coach

As a recent graduate in Careers Guidance and Development this is my first job as a Careers Adviser. However, I haven’t been doing nothing since I left Hermitage Academy in the early 00s…in fact I’ve been to uni three times and worked in several jobs in all kinds of industries – the most random would probably be working on a farm for three months in the outback in Australia.

How did I get here? When I left Hermitage, I did a degree in Politics at Glasgow Uni as I liked modern studies at school. I graduated (just) and was lucky enough to get a job in Sales Admin for a training and recycling charity. Unfortunately, I was made redundant due to the recession so got a temporary job in tax at one of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms, where a one week placement turned into three and half years before I decided to travel and took off for Oz. In Melbourne, I worked in a whole load of different roles - in the marketing department at a school; arranging travel at a project management company; a job that mainly involved handing out keys at luxury new build apartments; and at a call centre asking people if they were happy with the service they had received at a car dealership – admittedly, that last one was pretty dull. Visa up I came back from Australia and through a friend got a job as a Research Assistant for a Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant. It was here my interest in why people choose the careers they do, and, how different opportunities and backgrounds affect these choices, developed. Luckily, my then boss was really supportive and paid for me to go back to uni part time, whilst still working for him, to do the careers guidance course – and here I am now!

If there’s anything to learn from my rather mixed employment background it is that things don’t always go to plan – you might leave here at 16/17/18 and like me not find something that you really love to do work wise until much (much) later. Embrace opportunities that come your way; learn from the good and the bad; and, enjoy the journey!

Maureen Regan – Work Coach

I have been a Work Coach with Skills Development Scotland for the past 10 years but before that I worked in various jobs. Initially, I trained to be a Drugs Worker and worked with young vulnerable adults in the local community. I then progressed onto Social Work and worked with young offenders in the community, holding supervision orders from Court as part of the order they were required to attend an Alternative to Custody project which focused them on victims and their behaviours and not returning to the Criminal Justice System. After having my daughter, I returned to work in a Local Call Centre, where initially I was on the phones then progressed to Team Leader and then to Operations Manager. I then decide to return Social Work, working in Greenock Prison and other prisons, however, after a few years I felt like a prisoner so ‘I left the jail’ and returned to the community. I was successful in getting my present job which I really enjoy working with young people leaving school and helping them progress through their journey in life. My career path has had lots of challenges but I have enjoyed them all, so remember we all do not leave school with qualifications and a career route, so come speak to me and I will help you with your transition from school.

Jackie Stirling – Personal Adviser

I’ve been a Personal Adviser with Skills Development Scotland for 15 years and like Ann and Lindsay I’ve done some varied jobs in the past. I studied hairdressing and beauty therapy when I left school. I enjoyed doing this for a number of years and I was a self-employed freelance Hairstylist.  I felt like a change and I decided to learn computing to keep up with the times. I went on to do an admin job, and then went on to become an employability adviser which I am doing now. As well as working full time I’m currently studying for a degree in Social Sciences and Psychology. This keeps me very busy but I enjoy the challenge. Some people know exactly what they want to do when they leave school and are very focused, others find it difficult to imagine what they could be good at.  But please, don’t worry about it! We are here to guide you as much as possible.

Hopefully, our stories show why careers are now often described as being more like ‘crazy paving’ than a ladder. Not one of us left school and work in the job we started in! By developing your career management skills, we hope you will all be able to make the most of opportunities that come your way and ultimately, enjoy what you do!

Lastly, as we fast approach the summer holidays we thought we would let you know that the support available through Skills Development Scotland –is available all year round and not just until the bell rings on 28th June! So, whether it be CVs for a part time job; interview preparation; personal statements for last minute college applications; or someone to look after your cat* we can help! Get in touch on 01389 761421 or ann.omay@sds.co.uk  or lindsay.campbell@sds.co.uk.

Have a great summer!

Ann, Lindsay, Maureen & Jackie               

* this bit isn’t true