MEET THE CANDIDATES: Sarah Jones & Bridget Joyce

YOUTH I started off my career teaching maths to undergraduates at Middlesex University, but I had to find a way to supplement my income. I made a fortune from selling computer software when I…

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Sarah Jones & Bridget Joyce

YOUTH

I started off my career teaching maths to undergraduates at Middlesex University, but I had to find a way to supplement my income. I made a fortune from selling computer software when I was 30.

At 30, I realised I was so passionate about inspiring people that I had to be working for people who did. Because I had experience I was asked to take on the role of careers adviser for employers wanting to increase their level of employability within London and the south-east. This was a unique opportunity and I leapt at it. I realised that if I could apply my academic knowledge in a practical way, then I could change the world.

It was a great honour to help people understand how to get the most out of life at a point in their life when they were feeling vulnerable and disengaged. What I realised is that people wouldn’t be getting the skills and confidence to succeed without the right support. And for many people, that support comes through their employment adviser.

Many people have faith in the government that it knows how to support people when they are unemployed, but unfortunately the department doesn’t have the skills or expertise to do it. At LCR, we advise employers how to manage and engage with their workforce, and we believe that if you could give people what they need now, it would create so much confidence and opportunity that I’ve seen for so many of our clients – not just in terms of getting a job, but in terms of finances, housing, relationships, et cetera.

RANDAN PARMUS, 39, LONDON

I had lost my job when I was 20 and it was very difficult to get a new one. I was in England and my parents were back in Ireland. I just wanted to move back, but I also wanted to develop my English. I ended up spending a lot of time reading books about British history. I believe that reading is a fundamental part of education, so I started reading history books about the first world war and also the Second World War. I got interested in the way people look back on those events, so that has really helped me in preparing to be a motivational speaker and helping others.

I started to teach a local school in Oxford in 2007. About two or three years later, I began doing my PhD at Warwick University. I was still a teacher when I finished my PhD, but that didn’t stop me getting involved in projects to get more creative ideas out of teaching. I took a part-time role at a school that was a bad school, but I saw some of the pupils in that school doing really great things with their lives.

I got a contract that paid more in the evenings and weekends than I was earning as a teacher, but I found that rewarding. In 2016, I decided that I wanted to work as a professional speaker and has become very successful as a keynote speaker.

HANNAH HART, 32, LONDON

In 2012, I started a business called Healing Stars, which helps young people seeking to access medical examinations to increase their chances of job interviews.

I started to gain a huge amount of experience working on inspiring documentaries about young people with mental health issues, and I kept pursuing this idea because it felt like I was doing something that was important.

I work with schools that are on the precipice of inclusion, where we try to shift the mindset. Many schools say that they are trying to help kids who are isolated and disadvantaged, but they are often in a difficult position. They have huge commitments and budgets, but are also vulnerable to bullying. My working relationship with schools – starting at Hackney Polytechnic and continuing at Finchley Senior School – has allowed me to become one of the leading advocates for young people with mental health problems.

GRACE WALTON, 40, LONDON

I started working for Career Advice London when I was 29. I started by helping people find part-time jobs and then moved into managing our services and experiencing the positive results they had.

It was really important to me that I make sure that we were helping young people out in the real world, rather than just putting them in safe spaces to talk about the issues we are trying to discuss. We do work with families where kids may struggle with their mental health, so we have to have a structured approach.

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