My plan is to fill this blog with lots of interesting and useful topics all around teenagers’ education and career choices, and how you as their parent can support them to explore and make their choices, so they can build a future they’ll love. We will look at everything from making GCSE choices, finding out about college options and apprenticeships, exploring university, how to find out about all the great careers out there and how they can work out what paths could be right for them.
So, let me introduce myself
I suppose my initial inspiration to train as a careers adviser came from the fact that I have really struggled myself to figure out what I wanted to do when I was younger. I remember being 13 and sitting on the stairs crying because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. There were just so many interesting things and I felt couldn’t do them all.
I went from that to having quite a clear idea for several years (I wanted to be a sound engineer and got lots of experience, which I loved) to then having a mini-crisis after finishing my first degree when I realised it wasn’t anymore what I wanted to do. But in a crisis, I am basically like Hermione in Harry Potter: if in doubt, go to the library. So I did and ended up doing a lot of work on myself with the help of what I now know is a classic careers book.
If you are interested, the book is called “What colour is your parachute?”. Not only did it help me figure out more about myself and my motivations, but it also made me really interested in the process of figuring things out.
I have always loved exploring ideas and options and making plans. s a child, I would start writing a packing list two weeks before a holiday! And I love inspiring others and helping them see possibilities and figuring out how to make something work. I have always believed that our education and careers could and should be meaningful, fun, and exciting, not just something to put up with. So when I discovered careers guidance as a profession, a lot of things kind of fell into place. When I told my mum that I wanted to go back to uni and what I wanted to train for, she just said “This sounds so like you!”.
After my postgraduate diploma in careers guidance, I started working for my local council, giving careers guidance in schools. Only a few years later government funding got cut severely and I took voluntary redundancy to become self-employed, continuing to work in schools and 6th forms as an independent careers adviser. I love working with young people and most of my work in school is one-to-one guidance and coaching sessions, helping them understand their options, how to explore them, and helping them see the opportunities. I love seeing that light go on in someone’s eyes when they realise there are options for them or they hit on a new idea that really excites them.
After nearly a decade of working in schools and having my daughter, I felt I needed a little bit of a change. I didn’t want to change my career, I still loved working with the kids, but I also needed a little bit of a new challenge to keep me inspired. I started to work a bit more with adults, which was fun, but in the end, confirmed to me that my heart really was with supporting teenagers.
Becoming a parent myself made me even more aware of the struggles parents have when supporting their kids with their future plans. And after all, parents are the biggest influence on young people’s education and career choices. So the idea developed to look more at ways of helping parents support their teenagers. Both by educating the parents and by helping them find resources and services that help their kids with their choices around GCSEs, college, apprenticeship, university, and first careers.
So So now Cheerful Careers is all about inspiring and supporting you and your teen with exploration and choices, and making that journey through education and first career choices as exciting, fun, and low stress as possible.
I hope you enjoy the website! If you would like even more tips and inspiration, come and join my
free Facebook group for parents, or if you would like an individual guidance session for your teen, you can find out more here.