Sabrina Duggan
Senior Careers Consultant & Deputy Head at King’s College London

Sabrina Duggan
Senior Careers Consultant & Deputy Head at King’s College London

I have been working in HE careers for 9 years having previously been a Junior Management Trainee for the NHS and spent some time working in Insurance and Retail. During my time at The Careers Group I have been fortunate enough to have work assignments at Queen Mary, University of London, Consultancy and King’s. I currently work at King’s as Deputy Head supporting the leadership and strategic management of the service, whilst also being line manager to a small group of practitioners and careers consultant to the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery.

What are the 3 best things about working as a careers consultant?

Number 1 would definitely be the variety. There are so many aspects to our work that it's very difficult to get bored. I really enjoy working with students, academics, employers and my colleagues. They are very different to work with as groups of people, so I am constantly using and developing my interpersonal skills. Also the nature of our work varies; we engage in 1to1 guidance, we also do a lot of group work with small and large groups. We use, and are always seeing, ways to increase our work in the digital space. I recently worked on the first Careers and Employability MOOC which was very inspiring.

Number 2 would be working with such a diverse team of colleagues. At The Careers Group we are all from very different backgrounds with a broad set of professional skills, so there is always something to learn from each other, for work or play!

Number 3 would be the fact that I am constantly challenged and faced with learning opportunities. The structure of our organisation means that there is flexibility to try new things, to innovate, to teach and share with others. These things are important for my career satisfaction, so I'm happy to be able to say I have found all those things in one job.

How would you say you have grown as an individual through working as careers consultant?

The most significant thing for me is that I am now less worried about being able to see the full picture, or know exactly how things will pan out before starting something. This applies to guidance discussions and group work as much as it does to projects and strategic planning. Don't get me wrong I still like to plan, and I am still fairly risk averse; however I don't get so hung-up on details. I work with a great group of intelligent, capable, knowledgeable people - there is always more than one way to do everything and as long as objectives and goals are clear, I delight in the fact that I can trust people to just do their jobs, and I provide support where I can.

What are the opportunities for promotion, and how did you get to where you are now?

I started at The Careers Group as a careers consultant having just gained my PGDIP Guidance with Qualification in Careers Guidance from LSBU. After three years I applied for a deputy position at King's, which I have now been in for three years. Whilst in the post I also underwent a role evaluation process, which enabled me to demonstrate that I was working to a high level, and resulted in my being promoted to Senior careers consultant. Being a Head of Service could be in my future, but for now I'm happy where I am!

Describe a typical day in the life of a deputy head.

My day will usually start with me handling urgent emails, followed by a career discussion or practice interview. I can then be in meetings with the other managers, my department contacts or direct reports for the rest of the morning. As deputy I am required to support the Head of Service, which means contributing to the overall leadership, strategy and operational aspects of the service. After lunch I may be delivering a session for one of my departments, on ‘quick query’ (1to1 career guidance) duty or doing training for new careers consultants through our Consultancy wing. I work in an open plan office, so quite often I will be asked questions throughout the day that may require some problem solving, or for me to make a note to address at a meeting later on. No two days are the same - I also sit on committees, support and lead projects, attend careers fairs and employer meetings, deliver training and lots of other things in between!

 

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