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Leveraging confidence and identifying skills at Warwick

Driven to help people thrive and find their sense of meaning and purpose, Warwick’s Head of Careers, Anne Wilson, is also an alumna, having completed a Postgraduate Diploma Career Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education in 2013.

Anne shares more about her 16-year journey at Warwick, and how she’s not finished yet.

What is your current role?

I’m Head of Careers in Student Opportunity, where I’m responsible for the team who support our students across the academic departments with career decisions while they’re at Warwick. This can be through event fairs, support with CVs and applications, one to one meetings, and online resources like our careers blog.

What drew you to this profession?

It was one of those happy accidents really. I graduated during a recession with no idea what I wanted to do, other than work with people. I was working in a recruitment agency and had a chance conversation with a friend who said maybe I should look at a career in careers. She knew someone training to become a careers officer, and it really was a lightbulb moment. I hadn’t realised a profession existed where you can help people to flourish.

Why do you love working in careers?

For me, it’s not just about helping people with a CV or job applications. We spend a lot of time putting people at ease, getting them to feel comfortable so they can open up and explore career options and possibilities. There are fundamental principles, theories, underpinning knowledge and understanding needed for this profession, which all interest me. Beyond the day job, I also have a personal blog, where I talk about career development, self-awareness, gender equality and more. The posts are really for anyone. Whether you’re changing career or looking to progress, there’s advice, useful resources and encouragement to help you to take the steps you need towards achieving a more fulfilling future. You can definitely call careers my passion!

What are your fondest memories of studying at Warwick?

I already had a career-focused qualification when I arrived at Warwick, but was keen to study careers within the higher education sector, so decided on the Postgraduate Diploma in Career, Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education.

Due to the nature of the course, and the fact all of us on it were employed in career roles of sorts, there was the chance to learn as much from each other as there was from the content. There’s a group of us who have stayed in touch throughout our professional careers. It’s meant that my LinkedIn network is full of engaged professionals who are constantly sharing great ideas.

What are you most proud of professionally?

One of the things I've brought to Warwick which makes us unique among universities, is that the whole team are trained as strengths practitioners. This means they can support students to complete strengths questionnaires and explore their unique qualities together.

To enable our students to grow, flourish and find things that really resonate with them is a useful tool and something that I've been proud to develop and extend at Warwick. I’ll be focusing on this kind of training and development - to leverage confidence in staff and students - so they thrive and find their sense of meaning and purpose. That’s what really drives me.

What’s next for you?

It’s been fabulous working with students. I’m currently focused on supporting further development in my team, so they’re driving projects that make a difference, such as the Sprint Programme. This supports large numbers of female students to develop their potential, build confidence to become more assertive, and which aims to address the gender pay gap. It’s so rewarding watching the transformation in participants when they support each other another to achieve their goals. 2022 female graduates remain eligible to attend our September Sprint programme if you aren’t in work or further study by then, so do get in touch through careers at warwick dot ac dot uk.

I've also established 'Inspiring Women' speaker talks for Warwick staff which have become a very popular way to engage female staff in discussion around gender equality.

We’ve also recently had some funded initiatives to enable us to support students from non-traditional backgrounds at Warwick, to help with the confidence and skills they might need to flourish beyond university. In the aftermath of the pandemic, we’re looking to create more connections with students by returning to in person events again and welcoming back employers to campus. Our recent campus summer fair was really popular. So there’s lots to be excited about!