Posted on 26th April 2017
In her last week as part of the leadership team at Futures, Emily Jones talks about the impact Futures has made on her life and how the organisation has contributed to where she’s heading now…
Q1. What stage was your career at when you joined Futures?
I was teaching at a secondary school but felt frustrated that I was unable to inspire young people about their aspirations in the way I’d hoped. A chance conversation with a Connexions careers adviser at the school made me realise I could make that difference through a role providing one-to-one support.
I joined Futures back in 2004 when it was Connexions Nottinghamshire and worked as a personal adviser seconded to the Parent Partnership Service. I supported young people at risk of permanent exclusion from school.
Q2. What are your proudest achievements during your time at Futures?
One is certainly winning the National Careers Service (NCS) contract for the Central Eastern region, which we started delivering in October 2014. In that first year, we brought on board 21 delivery partners and delivered careers advice to 45,000 people across 6 counties.
I’m also extremely proud of Futures’ being awarded ‘Outstanding’ for our NCS work in the East Midlands, as we’re the first NCS prime contractor to be awarded that grade. Leading the Futures Quality Improvement Team and acting as Nominee and therefore part of the Ofsted team during the inspection, was an intense experience – and I loved every moment!
Q3. What has Futures enabled you to do as an individual, which you don’t think you could’ve done elsewhere?
I’ve had loads of different roles at Futures, from Careers Adviser to Director; what I’ve always loved about the organisation is its passion to support staff to grow and develop.
When I haven’t had the skills, the organisation has believed in my capability to develop them. I’ve learned so much from so many people over the years, working in what is a challenging but supportive environment. I’ve no doubt that if I hadn’t joined Futures, I wouldn’t have had the career path I’ve enjoyed so far.
Q4. Why are you leaving the organisation now?
The leadership team had the privilege of working with a fantastic executive coach about 18 months ago and it changed my outlook on many aspects of work and personal life, including my self-awareness, leadership confidence and knowledge of my impact on others. This inspired me to train for a Postgraduate Certificate in Executive and Personal Coaching.
Coaching is about supporting people to reach their true potential and it re-ignited my desire to make a difference on a one-to-one basis. When people are at their best, their colleagues, teams and organisations reap a massive benefit, as do their families and communities.
I’m leaving Futures in a really strong position with a committed and visionary leadership team. I have no doubt that the organisation will continue to grow and so the time feels right for me now.
Q5. How do you think Futures can best adapt to the changing economy?
Futures is particularly proactive around areas of growth such as the skills agenda and Apprenticeships and the organisation is in a unique position as an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ not-for-profit company. With an increased emphasis from Government on good quality careers advice and skills delivery, I believe Futures can only go from strength to strength.
Q6. If you could give one piece of advice to Futures as an organisation, what would it be?
Keep the customer at the heart of the service and embed the company values in everything you do. The values really sum up the ethos of the organisation so be inspired by how they can generate growth in both people and business.
Q7. What are your plans after you leave on 28th April?
I’ve already arranged my first coaching contracts, working with the Cabinet Office and the Prince’s Trust, as well as continuing to work with Futures on leadership coaching, leadership behaviours and building a coaching culture.
People have to trust you and believe in what you are saying in order to want to work with you and one of the things I really enjoy and am good at is meeting new people, so my key priority is to get out there and link with as many people as possible. I’m very keen to explore options for working partnerships, as well as opportunities within new sectors.
As well as concentrating on building up my coaching business, I’m really looking forward to doing more paddle boarding over the summer months; something I have dabbled with and want to get better at!