Tracey Chapman is an Independent Impartial Guidance Counsellor who provides careers advice and support to students at UTC Leeds. After a previous career in music, Tracey decided to retrain and went back to university to complete a Postgraduate Qualification in Careers Guidance QCG.
Talking about why she decided to move into this profession, Tracey says: “I wanted to make a difference to young people’s lives. I thought about training to be a teacher, but after doing some research I came across careers guidance as a profession. I like that it makes a link between why students are in school, what they study, and how they can progress and make the most out of their futures.”
Tracey finds working with young people exciting. She says: “I love that you have the opportunity to help them make decisions that will potentially change or shape their lives considerably.
“Quite often young people shy away from making decisions. I think we need to empower them with information and provide them with the tools to be able to make confident, informed choices that are going to benefit them in the long term.”
In her role, Tracey works across a range of schools and educational establishments. Commenting on her work with UTC Leeds, she says: “The UTC is a specialist college so the students I work with are incredibly passionate about engineering and the future prospects beyond their studies. It’s really exciting to be working with young people who are filling the skills gap that we’ve got in this country.”
Tracey was impressed when she first visited UTC Leeds. She says: “My first impressions of the building were very positive. The space is really exciting. The fact it’s laid out differently from other schools and colleges emphasises the learning that it offers. There’s a healthy vibe about the place from both the staff and students. There’s always a buzz of engineering too.”
Describing the UTC, Tracey says: “It’s a dynamic, exciting, specialist environment for students to develop and discover within. They are able to flourish in engineering with the support of their teachers and peers.”
Her favourite part of working there so far has been with the Year 13 students. She says: “I’ve worked with some Year 13 students who have recently managed to secure some excellent apprenticeships, which has been really exciting. Students have also gone on to high quality university places, too, and I will be working in the coming months to support the next group of students to move on in their career pathways.
“Because the UTC has industry links, they work closely with employers, so students get an opportunity to do fantastic work placements. Some of these have led to students being in employment and apprenticeships, so those industry links are really important.”
Speaking of her experience overall, Tracey says: “I really enjoy my time working at the UTC, the students are really passionate and excited so it’s a great atmosphere to be in. It’s good to see the students progressing and thinking about their careers, and working with them to help facilitate their journeys.”