Helen Kempster
Senior Careers Consultant at Goldsmiths, University of London

Helen Kempster
Senior Careers Consultant at Goldsmiths, University of London

Helen Kempster has been a careers consultant with The Careers Group since 2012. She currently works at Goldsmiths and has previously worked at King’s College and St. Mary’s University. Helen has nearly seven years’ experience as a career guidance practitioner, having completed her Qualification in Career Guidance at the University of East London in 2008. She previously worked as a careers adviser in a large sixth form college in south London, helping students access higher education and other progression opportunities. In a former life, Helen taught modern foreign languages in a south London secondary school. She studied her first degree and PGCE at King’s College London.

Describe how working for The Careers Group and your allocated college(s) works.

At the moment I am allocated to Goldsmiths and I have two roles there. One is as a pre-entry careers consultant, working with prospective students alongside the Recruitment and Outreach teams, and the other is as a general careers consultant, working with current students and recent graduates. I work with five academic departments and two additional programmes to provide careers education, information, advice and guidance. Working for The Careers Group, I am also part of a Cross-Group Team which is a great way to get involved in projects across the organisation. There are also a lot of opportunities for me to work for The Careers Group Consultancy, which gives me the opportunity to gain experience with different client groups, such as established professionals and career changers.

How does working as a careers consultant fit in with your lifestyle?

My role is incredibly varied and busy; it’s a cliché but it’s true to say that every day is different. All my colleagues, both within my college and The Careers Group as a whole, are very supportive and this ensures that the work, although often challenging and stretching, is also manageable and achievable. Generally, my role gives me time to pursue my interests outside of work. For example, I am a keen runner and singer. Although there is occasional evening and weekend work, this is usually to host events which are great fun! Finally, the organisation is very flexible in terms of working patterns.

What do you like most about working in higher education?

I love the intellectually stimulating environment, and the constant emphasis on trying to understand why things are how they are, rather than just accepting the status quo. Universities are pushing the boundaries of knowledge in their research, which creates an environment where all staff can similarly push boundaries and look for the best ways of doing things. There is a strong collegiate feel in higher education, and lots of opportunities to attend events such as guest lectures, symposia and seminars.

How much autonomy is there in the role, and does creativity play a large part in your work?

There is a lot of autonomy in the role. I am generally free to plan my own work and projects within the context of the Goldsmiths strategic plan, as well as the strategic plan of The Careers Group as a whole. Creativity is also really important. It’s often not obvious what will be most effective in terms of, for example, encouraging students to engage with the Careers Service. You get the chance to come up with creative ideas to address challenges.

 

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