Girl smiling at camera

Leading the Way

Strong leadership in the careers space is a key principle for ensuring a young person receives the quality careers education, advice and guidance that they deserve.

You'll find a number of inspirational Careers Champions highlighted below and you can use these social banners to celebrate your own Careers Champions who leading the way.

Leading the Way

Leadership can come in many forms. Leaders can be headteachers who embed careers as a core part of their school or college ethos. Leaders can be those Enterprise Advisers providing strong strategic advice for school and college leaders about the skills that employers are looking for from young people.

Whatever physical form those who are leading the way come in, it is the passion, resilience and creativity that we value most in our Careers Champions.

So, let’s celebrate all those that go above and beyond; whose approach is inspiring, influential and empowering. Those that show tenacity to move careers focus from the margins and into the very heart of their institution.

Watch the videos below to hear about Sir John Holman and David Baldwin's highlights, and meet the Champions themselves…

Rita Patel-Miller, Lendlease

‘Rita is an outstanding innovator with a big heart and an unwavering commitment to supporting young people.’

Rita Patel-Miller

Social Value Manager, Lendlease 

Rita is a driving force behind the Birmingham Cornerstone Group. She never misses a meeting, is positive and innovative, and supports the group to do outstanding work. 

In response to the pandemic and the challenges faced by young people leaving school prematurely, she was a key part of developing the Me Plc Guide. Comprising of resources from different employers, it helps young people design their personal brand and develop an elevator pitch, which will be essential for entering the world of work. 

She also leads on a pilot programme of virtual work experience, which combines learning about important climate issues with gaining vital experiences of the workplace. The programme is being trialed in mainstream and SEND settings and Rita has shared the innovation with other employers so that they can replicate the approach.   

Rita is always cheerful and has time to support everyone. She has a genuine passion for helping young people and her impact is obvious as she received multiple recognitions for being a Careers Champion. 

Thank you Rita for using your passion and drive to lead excellent employer projects in Birmingham. You are making a difference to the young people who live there each and every day.

Julie Poppleton, Chase Terrace Academy

‘Julie is an influential and passionate part of our network and hub and deserves to be recognised for her achievements in leading the way for Stoke and Staffordshire Careers.’

Julie Poppleton

Careers Leader, Chase Terrace Academy 

Julie is a countywide leader of high-quality careers and employer engagement. She is adaptive, inspiring and goes above and beyond to support not only the young people at her school, but also schools and senior leaders from across the county and region. 

She somehow manages to find the time to develop a robust policy and programme of careers for her own school, while also supporting the Stoke and Staffordshire Careers Hub to connect with key stakeholders. As a Careers Leader, Julie offers her time and knowledge to consult with and support schools to develop stable careers programmes and innovative employer encounters. 

She knows the power of working collaboratively and brings others together by hosting and delivering the county’s careers forum. This features a multitude of inspiring keynote speakers and includes Career Advisers and Coordinators from all over the region. 

Julie is an influential and passionate partner of our network and hub and deserves to be recognised for her achievements in leading the way for Stoke and Staffordshire Careers. 

Thank you Julie for sharing your skills and knowledge and leading the way across your region to ensure young people receive high quality careers programmes.

Peter Caney, BAE Systems

‘Peter leads from the front and is an innovator within the careers education system and his work is inspiring young people across the country.’

Peter Caney

Head of Service Innovation, Projects & Future Capability, BAE Systems

In his role at BAE Systems, Peter is passionate about attracting apprentice and graduate talent through a variety of career-related opportunities. He knows that now more than ever it is important to support those young people who are unsure about their choices.

His leadership in the Cornerstone Employer Group and the Blackpool Opportunity Area has resulted in a complete review of BAE's national careers education programme to align it with the Gatsby Benchmark Framework. This will strengthen the impact of the programme both locally and nationally, and deliver improved benefits for students, Careers Leaders and the business. 

He understands the importance of collective practice and has shared all this learning with fellow Cornerstone Employers, both locally and nationally, so that they can replicate the approach. 

Peter truly champions career support for young people, acting in key roles for events such as the first National Cornerstone Employer event in 2020, in recruitment campaigns for Cornerstone Employers and at important visits such as from the Secretary of State for Education.  

Thank you Peter for leading the way and showing other employers the importance of engaging with young people and supporting them to see the options available in the future.

Judith Schafer

'Judith Schafer is a truly collaborative and visionary leader in delivering our shared ambition of world class careers education in Cumbria, shaping our approach, securing commitment, and generating innovation.’

Judith Schafer

Executive Headteacher 
Beacon Hill Community School and Solway Community College 

As a leader based in an area where social mobility and economic growth are challenging, Judith has provided exemplary, collaborative leadership in the development of careers education and support for young people, both within her own institutions and across Cumbria. 

She is Chair of the Cumbria Association of Secondary Heads (CASH) and has championed the development, implementation, and progress of Cumbria Careers Hub. She generates support from across the school community, identifying priorities, challenging assumptions, and overcoming barriers. 

At school, Judith ensures careers education and links with employers are at the heart of the curriculum. Thanks to her leadership, young people have remained supported through the pandemic, are supported to make the transitions from KS4 to KS5 and have access to skills development opportunities through encounters with employers. 
Judith has facilitated the development of an effective response to many of the challenges highlighted in the key national and local strategies, such as the Careers Strategy, Local Industrial Strategy and Sector Skills Plans. She is making a real difference for her area.

Thank you Judith for providing leadership that really makes a difference to the careers guidance being offered to the young people of Cumbria.