Simon North – Enterprise Adviser at Gillingham School, Dorset

Read Simon's story on helping prepare students for the world of work

Simon North

Simon joined the Dorset Enterprise Adviser network in 2017 after being referred by the CIPD.

Having been involved in people-related work throughout his career, his long-term involvement in the CIPD led him to volunteer in the past on ad hoc projects – but he was drawn to the structure, stability and opportunities in the Enterprise Adviser programme.

As an Enterprise Adviser, Simon works with Gillingham School, a mixed comprehensive secondary school and sixth form with over 1,800 pupils.

Building careers education across the school

Simon has committed his time in the long term with the school, beyond the initial one-year commitment. His long-term vision is to engage the staff, parents, governors and the wider community. As a start they are working to engage the heads of departments to think about practical ways that those individuals, and their colleagues, can support careers guidance in the school.

Simon works closely with Emma, the school’s Careers Leader. One of their projects has been looking at how parents can get more involved in supporting careers education within the school; they held a forum encouraging parents to engage in this conversation and came away with some vibrant ideas of what they needed to do and what could be done. It was one of the first occasions in recent times that the school had directly engaged with parents and it is proving a good basis for more thinking and action.

Simon has focused on getting the teaching team more on board with preparing young people for the world of work – for example, encouraging teachers to ask questions relating to employment at the end of every lesson.

Meaningful outcomes

As a HR professional with a background in understanding and delivering change, he feels the HR profession is well placed to support the school’s careers education work. The vision is to lead all members of the school’s community, which changes continuously, to be fully connected and supportive of a fantastic careers programme, where they all recognise the part, they must play in bringing it to life.

Working with Simon has been inspirational. He has been a reassuring, supportive critical friend throughout his time here and has a refreshing outlook towards careers in an atmosphere of benchmarking and box ticking. He talks about effecting a 'revolution through evolution' in our approach at Gillingham School and seems to be moving members of staff along with him.

Emma, Careers Leader at the school