Squaring the Virtuous Circle

12th February 2019

There is no doubt that in this world of recycling and sustainability, it is the aspiration of many communities to run according to the principles of a virtuous circle.  Many of us may be more familiar with the concept of a vicious cycle, where a bad situation or behaviour causes another situation that is equally bad or worse, and everything spirals steadily downwards.   By contrast, in a virtuous circle, an event or a series of events serves to reinforce positivity, each event or action increasing the beneficial outcome of the next.

Every year, Work Avenue runs Career Networking.  This much acclaimed speed networking evening offers students the opportunity to explore career options, make connections with people in their chosen sector and network with a wide range of professionals who may be able to offer them invaluable insights to guide their thinking as to future career pathways.

It is all too easy for students – quite rightly – to listen to advice and guidance from their parents and about proposed career pathways.  And of course it is all too easy to ignore this advice, sometimes with good reason as this advice may be a generation out of date, and often fails to take account of the changing face of the contemporary workplace.  Young people are much more likely to heed the words of their peer group.  Chat rooms and online review forums are awash with the thoughts and opinions of people who have had both positive and negative experiences and take that advice.  At Work Avenue we try and go one step further and bring together for networking the alumni of previous Career Networking events, now pursuing their professional careers, with the students of today, looking to embark for the first time upon their career journey.  The new professionals are sufficiently contemporary that they understand both the imperatives of their chosen career path in today’s world, but also crucially, the recruitment pathway into that career.

Three years ago, Collette Green attended Career Networking.  At the time, she was a final year Politics student at Birmingham University, devoting increasing time to thinking about future career pathways.  Like many, she found it a lot easier to think about what she did not want to do, and considerably harder to focus on what she did want to do.  At the event, she met with a number of young professionals in a range of career pathways including marketing, PR, and brand advertising.  They gave her the true picture of their careers, how they got into it, and the warts-and-all view of their roles.  Fast forward and Collette is now an Account Manager at creative and brand agency, founded.  And last year, she attended Career Networking offering students her own take on her advertising career.  Says Collette: “There is no doubt that the professionals I met really inspired me and gave me the belief to pursue a career in advertising, an industry I truly love. I am so pleased to now be able to help others as I was helped just a few years ago.”  Sam Shaw was one such student who met with Collette.  He states, “It made so much more sense to hear what people thought who had been through a recruitment process recently, and who really understand today’s workplace.  I hope I will be able to come back in a few years when my own career is established.”

Debbie Sheldon, CEO of Work Avenue, added: “It’s great to see the community coming together to help guide students’ future careers. We are very grateful for the support of all the companies and professionals who support our professional events.  It’s particularly satisfying to see former students now become our career professionals, thus turning the wheel full circle.”

Career Networking at Work Avenue will take place this year on Monday 10th April.

Emma May, Director of Operations & Employment, Work Avenue – emma@theworkavenue.org.uk