Vicki Aldmington, Careers Consultant (Episode 27) | Vicki wants us to be more career curious
For this episode of the Research Adjacent podcast Sarah is talking to Vicki Aldmington, a Careers Consultant at the University of Reading. Vicki supports students to consider their career options, find jobs, and get work experience. She also helps embed employability in the university curriculum.
A meandering career path
Vicki completed a PhD in biology without any plan for what to next – although she had ruled out lab work and teaching! She found her way to outreach and education work, initially in the Microbiology Society, then the Royal Society of Chemistry. Finding that parenting and work travel weren’t a great mix, she then decided to look for something closer to home.
It was then that Vicki began working for the University of Reading. First she managed a research network, then worked in knowledge exchange (with previous guest Simon Cutler). Craving more opportunities to support people directly, Vicki decided to make another move, this time into the careers service.
“To me moving away from science was really scary. It felt like a much bigger barrier than it actually was. I think that my reservations were quite unfounded.”
Drawing on experience
Vicki’s wiggly career means that she has a lot of experience to draw on for career conversations. It also means that she is very open minded about what a fulfilling career can look like, focusing more on values and transferable skills than career ladders.
“I think it’s really important to say to people that it’s alright to change. It’s alright to move around, try different things, see what you enjoy. And it’s not necessarily always about climbing that ladder. It’s about finding where you want to be.”
Getting career curious
With her Research Adjacent magic wand Vicki would love to improve careers advice and expand work experience opportunities, making them more accessible to everyone.
“It’s all about equity and equality for me. It’s about supporting people to be more career curious at an earlier stage. And getting them to explore work experience opportunities in all of their different shapes and forms so that they’re accessible to all. Giving them access to opportunities that will allow them to help start to shape and question what it is that they could do next.”
Finding career satisfaction
Over her career Vicki has been involved in some big, impactful projects including a large chemistry education project supported by the London Schools Excellence Fund. But she is also immensely proud of the small, but significant changes she now makes in students’ lives.
“I worked with a student earlier this year, who was a mature student and had had quite a big career change and had come back to university to do a different qualification. And working with them and building their confidence to do something quite different. They essentially got their dream job and being involved with that at each step was so nice.”
Find out more
- Connect with Vicki on LinkedIn
- For anyone interested in a career guidance role Vicki recommends the Career Development Institute and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services
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