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Professional links - Connexions service

Heather Hill is a Connexions personal adviser covering Launceston college and Liskeard school, Cornwall.

'I work in education five days a week, focusing on young people, offering them support and guidance to enable them to make realistic choices. That means I'm very proactive in school, working with staff, the careers co-ordinator and Senco.

I focus on the transition stages in each year. So with Year 9, I'd be involved in offering impartial advice about selecting their options and working with teachers, explaining the national qualifications framework, for example. It's important to identify career or post-16 options early.

In Year 10, I'm looking at post-16 options and learning styles. I look at encouraging them to work the best they can in each of their areas.

I work closely with alternative curriculum groups - students who have chosen vocational options and go on work experience. I also work with those who are statemented, those who are school action and school action plus. I meet them in smaller groups, asking them what they'd like me to focus on - it could be work skills or health education. And I see them individually, to look at their career opportunities.

I also go on work experience visits with the young people and liaise with employers to see how they're getting on.

I go into assembly, raise awareness of the opportunities across the county, encourage them to look at being realistic and how important it is for them to conduct research, and to use available resources.

We look at the broader picture, such as the assessment process, career opportunities, and travel. I try to get them to be realistic about travel, which is difficult in some places. For example, in north Cornwall, opportunities are limited, and you're looking at a good hour's travel to FE college.

Continuity is important. That's why at the end of the academic year we follow through our cohort. We're still working with young people who left last year, ensuring they have a positive outcome and to provide additional support where necessary. I'm more than happy to see a young person out of college at the local office, or I ensure that the personal adviser in the community is aware of their support needs.

The workload can be heavy, but I'm very organised. You have to be organised and proactive. If you're proactive from beginning to the end of the academic year, the work is controllable.'

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