National Careers Week

To mark National Careers Week, Director of Peterborough-based HR Your Business Matters Ltd and Business Board Member Nicki Mawby presents a personal reflection on changing careers and the value of study.

National Careers Week runs from the 2nd to the 7th of March 2021and is a celebration of careers guidance which aims to link education with the world of employment and inspiring individuals, educators, and organisations alike.

Historically it would have been typical for an individual to stay in the same job or at the very least the same career for life, however nowadays it has become increasingly common for individuals to change much more frequently.

There are a multitude of reasons for individuals moving through careers. The world itself seems a much bigger place for opportunities now, where one career may no longer be enough. Indeed, the average person will change careers up to 5+ times during their working life with 30% of the workforce changing jobs every 12 –18 months. Research by City and Guilds reveal that at a time of rising unemployment a third of people (34%) want to change careers.

The world of work and business have changed massively over a relatively short space of time and flexibility, adaptation, and the ability to hire and retain strong performers is key to reputation and surviving such changes. Therefore, it’s vitally important that education and training providers are aware of the future requirements of the labour market in order to ensure that they offer individuals the skills that they and businesses require in the future.

Changing careers is something I can relate to personally. I started my career within operations, working my way up from the bottom. Personally, I wasn’t particularly academic during my younger years, however, upon realising the shortfalls, in my early 20’s I enrolled for evening classes to obtain higher level grades in core subjects including English and Maths.

Whilst I loved my first career in operations, as I moved into higher levels of management, I began to manage large teams and found my second passion which was for all things people! I relished in leading teams to success, ingniting their curiosity for learning and development and motivating them to achieve their full potential. I came to realise I wanted to move into a new career of Human Resources.

In order for my dream to become reality, I found myself attending a career day at Peterborough Regional College and shortly after embarked on a course to obtain the Level 3, Certificate in Human Resource Practice.

Having this qualification opened the doors to my HR career and I have since gone on to study further qualifications, obtaining my Level 7, CIPD qualification 5 years ago.

It can seem coincidental how circumstances can create unforeseen opportunity which develops an individuals career. It was whilst obtaining my level 7 qualification I discovered a genuine curiosity regarding to the teaching profession, specifically teaching business and human resources. I had amazing tutors throughout my studies, who created a learning environment built upon the set curriculum but also who brought their professional experiences into the classroom too.

It was through putting myself forward during my studies that another door opened and my third career started. After the completion of my studies, I was offered the opportunity to teach HR and Business Studies. Seeing learners excel through learning and to be able to support their career journey in a small way I find incredibly rewarding.

My fourth career, but still within the Human Resources field was starting my own HR Consultancy in 2015. Probably the most daunting decision ive made professionally. Taking the step into the world of self-employment, armed with my education, experience and a passion to succeed. 6 years later and the business is going from strength to strength with an incredible team supporting me. I now support other stand-alone consultants wanting to scale their businesses. All achieved based on my previous education and the decision to go to a college careers day.

Previously individuals may have questioned whether they were too old to gain qualifications or to move into a new career. Again, this is a thing of the past, with our workplaces now seeing 5 different generations of workers within it, all of whom bring a unique set of skills and experiences. Its important that our business leaders continue to develop their workforce and offer an opportunity to gain new skills, as advantage not only to the individual but also the business itself.

Skills development is therefore an important long-term issue, people are no longer staying in a job for life and demographically the UK’s workforce is ageing, and people are staying in the workplace longer. Whereas previously in the baby boom generation, someone in their early 50’s may be thinking about retiring, now they may be thinking they have 15 years left of working life and embarking upon a whole new career.  Indeed, The UK Commission for Employment and Skills predict that over the next decade the number of economically active people aged 65 and over is projected to increase by a third!

Nowadays, especially with the continued advances of technology, there are more and more ways of gaining further education and training. There is a vast array of options, such as apprenticeships, graduate schemes, college training, university, on-the-job training and mentoring in a variety of methods such as face-to-face to online virtual tutoring, from intensive courses, evening classes, bite-sized learning, You-Tube tutorials and apps/podcasts. We have never been so spoilt for choice, giving the opportunity for everyone to go out and make their own career dreams a reality.

About Nicky

Director of HR Your Business Matters Ltd since 2014, Nicki Mawby provides local businesses with people support services including HR and Recruitment as well as a range of Training Services that allow business owners to further drive performance by ensuring they have the right people in the right place at the right time, with the right knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Nicki is an active member of the CIPD and also the founding member of HR: Connect Over Coffee, a monthly CPD and networking event for HR professionals. Events are held locally and provide a learning environment as well as an opportunity to connect with other HR professionals, sharing knowledge, experience and resources.

Nicki is passionate about education and training. When not running her business, she teaches Level 3 and 5 CIPD at Peterborough Regional College and University Centre Peterborough. She champions employment skills and through the business has been successful is becoming a Government Kickstart Gateway, supporting employers and placements match to roles within the Kickstart scheme.

Peterborough is Nicki’s home city, and she is actively involved in various initiatives which supports new start-ups, entrepreneurs and women in business within the area. In 2019 she was nominated for two awards at the Peterborough Small Business Awards for ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ and for ‘Best Professional Services’, winning the latter. She is currently a finalist for ‘Business Woman of the Year’ category.

Learning: the benefits

The benefits of learning are plenty. It can help keep the mind engaged, body and neural pathways active, all of which can help to keep you healthy. With health and well-being at the forefront of peoples priorities, especially with what the last 12 months have brought us, it could be a perfect time to enquire about local or national career days, reach out to education and training providers to obtain their prospectus or take up a new skill or hobby.

So, what are you waiting for? There really is something for everyone. Explore that photography course or introduction to law course you always fancied doing but was scared to start, go and gain experience working with animals or undertake an entrepreneurial course to start your own business.

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