Showing posts from 2018

Career planning for expectant and new mums

Over the past year, throughout the period of being pregnant with and then having my second child, I’ve discovered that very little career development support exists for new or expectant mothers. Perhaps because it is assumed that we don’t want or need it. I would argue that this period is, in fact, when career information advice and guidance interventions should be considered essential. For starters, the assumption is that we are happy in our work, and that we’ve chosen to have children when work is stable, or that we are riding the storm and plan to use maternity leave as an excuse to get out and never return. But women do want to work, indeed have to, around very small children. While financial considerations might be paramount, they should be equally weighted with mothers’ own emotional needs, which, if career is a lifelong process that incudes periods of education, work and caring, we forget are directly related to her career development. Straw poll time, I know, but I have two

Breastfeeding and returning to work "early"

I am one month into being back at work, and the wee one has turned 4 months old. Given the amount of times friends and colleagues have asked me about my return to work, accompanied by a concerned look, it’s pretty clear that the general understanding of when you go back “early” is that it's not easy and it’s out of the ordinary. A quick definition of “early” is required here: there is a difference between early (in relation to the generally accepted duration of maternity leave) and too soon. I went back when I was ready. The challenge has been breastfeeding around my work. My workplace is ok: I have the option to work flexibly and there is a feeding / expressing room on campus should I need it. I’ve not needed it yet, because I have a private office space and I have a husband on shared parental leave bringing the wee one in to be fed during my breaks and at lunchtime when I am on campus. My daughter, one week after I returned to work, decided she didn’t want to take a bottle

IAEVG - Poster

I am unable to attend the IAEVG conference in Gothenburg this week, as I am currently navigating work and life around* a four month old baby. A poster summarising my PhD research, titled "Addressing gendered career decision-making: adapting career guidance and counselling practice to the contemporary family unit" is on display at the conference in my absence and can also be viewed below. *quite literally - right now she's on my lap trying to get to the keyboard of my PC!

Academic FOMO

I had a perfectly timed academic baby this year: she arrived the first weekend in June, just before the quieter period, where academics with greater teaching responsibilities in the first two trimesters of the academic year get on with ( amongst other tasks ) writing papers and undertaking research. You'd be surprised by how many of us “coincidentally” time things just right when growing a family to keep our academic careers on track, whilst acknowledging that any time out is a risk. I've missed out on a lot of excellent conferences in my field this summer-autumn, including turning down presentation spots that would've been REF-able and good to have on my CV. I'm back at work but attending events away from Scotland is becoming increasingly tricky. I'm not averse to taking one or both children with me, and their dad. Like many academics, a conference trip often becomes an opportunity for a “workcation” for me with the family in tow. Plenty of folk have met my

Conference Poster - Encouraging workforce diversity in our sector

I am unable to attend this week's NICE network conference  in Krakow - I have a 3 month old baby at home and travel at present is difficult plus it is both my first week back after maternity leave and the first week of our new academic year at UWS in Paisley. It is really disappointing to miss this superb conference but I have sent a poster for display in my absence: "Addressing under-representation in our sector: Recruiting more diverse employee groups to Career Information, Advice and Guidance roles" which details a new project we are looking to establish in Scotland, focusing on how we address under-representation in the training routes that lead to the career development professions. Krakow Poster

Nomination - Scotland's Diversity Awards 2018

Very pleased to announce I have been nominated and shortlisted for the Rising Star category of Scotland's Diversity Awards 2018, for my work and research on equality and inclusion as a lecturer in Career Guidance and Development at UWS. The university's media release is included below. Diversity Awards News Story Media release 05 September 2018 UWS SHORTLISTED FOR TWO DIVERSITY AWARDS The University of The West of Scotland (UWS) has been shortlisted for ‘Diversity In The Public Sector Award’ and the ‘Rising Star Diversity Award’ in The Herald and GenAnlytics Diversity Awards 2018. One of UWS’ core Truths is to be “an inclusive organisation that welcomes and values diversity” and as Scotland’s largest modern university, UWS is widely recognised as one of the country’s leading institutions in widening participation in Higher Education. This major, national diversity award recognises organisations and individuals for demonstrating a commitment to pr

Modern Apprentice Survey - Gaelic language Version

A Gaelic language version of my survey of Modern Apprentices (MAs) in Scotland, is now available. The survey is about the personal and family background of apprentices, and I am researching how and why people make the career decision to become an apprentice. Gaelic language version: If you are an MA, know an MA or manage / train MAs, please ask them to complete my survey! Anyone completing the survey has the chance of winning one of 5 x £20 gift vouchers. 

The end of maternity leave - the start of a new routine?

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a proper blog post, so here I am, attempting to get back into the swing of it. There’s a simple reason why I have the headspace and time to do so: I had a baby at the start of June. That’s probably not what you’d expect to come at the end of that sentence. Maternity leave is meant to be all about sleepless nights, being covered in milk/wee/poop, fighting extreme tiredness, trying to entertain a baby, right? Yes, there has been a lot of washing, nappy changing, wondering when I last ate or showered or managed to leave the house in less than an hour. But it’s also been a welcome break from the demands of my work, which had pretty much overtaken my life for the last 3+ years, in every moment when I wasn’t also co-parenting a lively toddler who turned into an even livelier pre-schooler. There is nothing like an enforced period of total confinement, of being “tied down” to a new baby who needs you 100% of the time, to force you to reset. Not

Modern Apprentice Survey

I am currently running a survey of Modern Apprentices (MAs) in Scotland as part of my PhD research. The survey is about the personal and family background of apprentices, and I am researching how and why people make the career decision to become an apprentice.  If you are an MA, know an MA or manage / train MAs, please ask them to complete my survey! Anyone completing the survey has the chance of winning one of 5 x £20 gift vouchers.  The link to the survey is: 

A pre-work return to work

I made a trip onto campus today to visit the office, with the baby in tow. It was lovely to brighten up people’s days with a happy 12 week old over lunchtime! While I was also able to download 3 months’ worth of Windows updates in advance of actually being able to do anything at my desk from next week it also reminded me of how important keep in touch (“KIT”) days are to employees on maternity, paternity, shared parental and parental leave. I may have “only” taken 12 weeks off and remain aware of key things happening in relation to my work (not least with some time put towards my PhD when it’s been possible around a newborn) but it is only natural for anyone to have some back to work anxiety after a period of parental leave. I’ve often heard of KIT days being little more than people being required to “put a shift in” at work. They are however much more than that, and for me, my trip in today was a reminder that both work and me are fundamentally the same after a summer of big

Forthcoming poster presentations

I have two poster presentations coming up at conferences this autumn: Addressing under-representation in our sector  Network for Innovation in Career Guidance and Counselling in Europe, Academy Conference  (September 2018) Addressing gendered career decision-making: adapting career guidance and counselling practice to the contemporary family structure  International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance Conference (October 2018) Due to my return from maternity leave and having a small, still nursing baby, I will be unable to attend in person, however will have a representative beside my poster at these conferences.  Copies of the posters will be uploaded here afterwards. 

Paper Presentation: Equality Challenge Unit Conference Scotland 2018

On Wednesday 25 th April 2018, Marjorie McCrory and I delivered a paper presentation at the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) Conference Scotland. The slides for Professional Education in Career Guidance and Development: placing equality and diversity activity at the forefront of curriculum design and programme delivery are available on the ECU website at: Photos from the day to follow...

Career Matters Article, January 2018 issue

An article written by myself and Marjorie McCrory will be featured in this month's issue of Career Matters, the Career Development Institute's professional publication.  In our article, The Medium is the Message: Taking a Career Development Approach to Curriculum Design and Delivery at the University of the West of Scotland , we talk about the changes we have brought to the MSc Career Guidance and Development at UWS over the past year since we took over and our rationale for doing so.