A day at the school careers fair

I recently had the opportunity to present at a local school’s careers fair, aimed at giving Year 10s a glimpse into various professions. I was there to share what it’s like to work in local government, what being a service designer is all about and to answer all of their fabulous questions. While I do this every year, this visit was different. It was tinged with a personal twist – I’m in the midst of a restructure and my role is at risk of redundancy.

Whilst nothing could compete with TUI handing out free sunglasses, Amazon notepads or the opportunity to speak with a real-life football coach to the stars! (Note to self: up your freebies game next year!) …the young people I met were brilliant and we had some really valuable conversations.

“What is Local Government?” was the question of the day, as well as chats about my daily routine, who I work with and what I get paid. My main nugget of advice was to work on the skills that would be valuable in any job: cultivate a problem-solving mindset, to be curious, team work and to empathise with others.

As the day unfolded, I found myself reflecting on the advice I was giving. “Stay adaptable,” I urged them. “The world is constantly changing, and so are jobs. What’s important is to keep learning and be ready to change direction when needed.” This advice felt all the more poignant given my situation. Redundancy wasn’t the end; it was a comma in the journey.

As the fair came to a close, I packed up my stuff feeling a mix of emotions and nostalgia. I was proud to have inspired some future designers, hopeful about the fresh perspectives they’d bring and reflective about my own career.

To the students, I was a professional sharing what life is like in the workplace. To me, they were a reminder that I need to take my own advice!

I also took the opportunity to do a little research to understand what they need to know in order to help them think about future careers…

In a world of Amazons, football coaches and free TUI sunglasses; how might we showcase the breadth of opportunities and benefits of working in local government?

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