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"When I graduated in 2005, I was extremely proud of what I had achieved. My family were there on the day to see me graduate and they were delighted for me."

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What did you study at the Centre for Lifelong Learning?
Health and Social Policy BA

What year did you graduate?
2005

What did you do before starting the course?
I worked for NHS Warwickshire as a Health Promotion Specialist, I studied for a degree at Warwick as a mature student on a part – time basis whilst also bringing up my children.

Have you had any successes/achievements you would like to mention since finishing the course?
I began working in Student Recruitment and Marketing in the Sociology Department at the University of Warwick 2013 – 2015.
In 2015, I started working as a Job Search Adviser in Student Careers and Skills at the University of Warwick and became an accredited R2 Strengths practitioner in May 2016.

What do you do for work now?

Job Search Adviser at the University of Warwick – here is my LinkedIn profile if you want further information

https://www.linkedin.com/in/aboffin/

alison2

Description of my role
I provide support for University of Warwick undergraduate and postgraduate students and Warwick alumni, to pursue their own informed career choices, specifically by exploring how to prepare, apply and succeed in the recruitment and selection process.

• Ensure students develop strong, effective applications.

• Advise on researching jobs, researching employers and improving commercial/sector awareness.

• Appraise applications, C.V.s and cover letters, offer feedback and feedforward on a one to one basis and through online E-guidance.

• Coach students in preparation for interviews, presentations and assessment centres.

• Develop and facilitate group work training sessions including Networking for Careers Success, Effective Applications, Strengths-based recruitment, Warwick E-mentoring, Researching Employers.

What made you decide to study at the Centre for Lifelong Learning?
I can identify two significant influences which were the catalyst for motivating me to apply to study at the University of Warwick through the Centre for Life Long Learning. My interest in learning was re-ignited whilst studying for a Counselling Certificate. I enjoyed learning about theory and exploring skills and values such as active listening, unconditional positive regard, empathy and most importantly, reflection. During the course my tutor led an activity requiring self-reflection, prompting me to think and reflect upon myself. He gave me a blank sheet of A4 paper with an instruction to fill the page, at the top of the page were the prompt words “Alison is a person who…..”. Given the time and opportunity to really reflect, I wrote about the fact that I left school at 16, my friends all went to university and I went straight into work at Jaguar Cars. Had my circumstances been different, I wondered could I have gone to university and would I have been successful? (No one in my family had ever been to university before).

By coincidence, whilst studying for the Counselling Certificate, I also began to read the book “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers. In this inspirational book, Jeffers outlines techniques for turning fear and indecision into power and action. The timing was perfect, her words were the driving force prompting me to apply to study for a degree at the University of Warwick giving me the courage and confidence to overcome my fears.

How would you describe your experience of studying at the Centre for Lifelong Learning?
My experience was challenging and yet rewarding. My first memory was a discussion with a friendly member of staff in the Centre for Life Long Learning. She explained that I would be able to transfer some CATS points from approved prior learning, which would go towards my degree. This incentive gave me the additional motivation to get started.

I really enjoyed studying Health and Social Policy, the modules were delivered by the Sociology Department. It was fascinating. The module content and the tutors stretched me and opened my eyes and mind. I began to see life through a Sociological lens. As I gained more knowledge, it prompted me to question and challenge ‘power and control’ influences in society, discovering a new-found self-awareness of how they impact upon my own life.

When I graduated in 2005, I was extremely proud of what I had achieved. My family were there on the day to see me graduate and they were delighted for me.

Now that I work in Student Careers and Skills at the University of Warwick, I have been trained as an R2 Strengths Practitioner with CAPP (Centre for Applied Positive Psychology). I love helping our students to recognise and articulate their own Strengths for job applications and interview situations. So, if I were asked what Strengths I used when I studied for a degree in Health and Social Policy, on a part-time basis, whilst also working and bring up a family, they would be:

Curiosity, Courage, Resilience, Persistence, Pride, Mission, Writer, Humour, Listener, Rapport Builder, Equality, Growth and Time Optimiser

 If you could give any advice to our current students, what would it be?
Get to know your own strengths and draw upon them. They will energise you to help keep you on track and achieve your goals.

Feeling inspired? Find out about the courses offered at the Centre for Lifelong Learning and Create Your Warwick Story