On a typical day, Mel would be running engaging workshops that can help students develop and prepare for work or university. She also runs one-to-one sessions for anybody that feels they need advice and guidance for their next step.
Like most tutors and support staff, Mel has adapted to change and broadened her horizons to offers students virtual support and workshops where sessions have not been able to run in-person.
As part of National Careers Week, we catch up with Mel and delve deeper into the world of virtual careers and progression advice.
“At first, I remember feeling how strange, extraordinary and unfamiliar the situation was, but reminded myself of how incredibly strange it must seem for all the students – some may be missing their friends, others having to live or work in challenging environments.”
“Just because a workshop/talk delivered face to face had been successful, it didn’t mean that virtual delivery was going to be unsuccessful. I spent quite a bit of time adapting to this and ensuring that all of my sessions were more interactive.”
Our friendly team of advisors in our Student Information Centre are available all year round and provide information, advice and guidance to help you on your journey and to find a career that suits your skills and abilities.
The one-to-one aspect of Advice & Guidance has really benefited from supportive virtual delivery. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time preparing students for university with the UCAS team and supporting tutors.
UCAS is a system that has been ‘digital’ for some years, so everything compliments this style of delivery – whether it’s offering videos to help with applications, to offering top tips for those who are writing their personal statement. Everything flows very well and enables the students to have a record of their progress and to track their applications and responses from universities.
Upon running the virtual sessions, I found that the quieter, less forthcoming students were happier to ask questions online or get in touch with me via email.
Additionally, I’ve adapted my virtual delivery to ensure that I know how students wish to be communicated with – I always give them a choice. It could be that they prefer emails, or they may like to speak on Teams – which gives me the opportunity to share resources with them, which can be really engaging and useful. It’s useful to always keep the student at the centre of your support.
Although I really miss the face-to-face contact with students and colleagues, I remind myself that this is a temporary arrangement for those that prefer to speak in-person.
Get out of your pyjamas! It’s not good for your creativity. Also, don’t overwork and maintain a good work/life balance. It’s really tempting to check out that email that drops in your inbox after work hours. Unless it’s urgent, it can wait until the morning.