After enjoying a career at Matamata College that spanned on and off over 25 years, Sue Hancock has taken her own advice and chosen a career she’s absolutely passionate about!
Around seven years ago Sue was working as the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Coordinator, she supported students through initiatives such as the Future Problem Solving competitions. “The GATE role allowed me to have a lot of one on one time with students and I found the conversations I most enjoyed were discussions about their goals and aspirations. What did they want to do – and how were they going to get there.” So, in 2011 Sue enrolled at AUT in the Graduate Diploma in Career Development. She was able to study while working in the Matamata College Careers Department alongside Rick Murray and, after his retirement, Anne Taylor. “I loved the job and I loved the interaction with students.
Collating all of the information however, was an onerous task and after thinking there has to be a better way, I had a chat with Tim Hampton who, at the time, was a year 12 student.” Initially Tim built a programme that sat on the students desktops. They could input information about their occupational interest, skills and places they might want to study. Then on the staff side Sue could see this information and provide guidance and resources. “It allowed me to keep track of everyone’s interest and make sure no-one missed out on opportunities that may have suited them.”
Sue and Tim continued to work on the programme while Tim attended University and in 2014 they decided to make it web based. By 2016 other schools were enquiring about the programme and Sue was asked to present at the National CATE conference in Hamilton. They were both shocked at how much interest there was following conference.“It became apparent that many other schools had experienced the same problem of not having a tool for student career planning.” By 2017, 35 schools were using the platform. This rapid growth meant creating a whole support infrastructure and knowledge base to sit alongside the software and ensure that every new school had a positive experience. “By the end of 2018 we had 95 schools signed up and, with mostly word of mouth marketing, we are experiencing exponential enquiry and growth” says Sue. It was at this point that Sue realised it was becoming too difficult to juggle the business as well as her job at Matamata College. She reluctantly resigned her position at the end of 2018 is now concentrating fully on growing the business.
Career Central recently formed a partnership with Bulls-Eye, who provide future pathway assessments. By assessing occupational talents and interests, students can start to pinpoint pathways which make the most of their natural abilities while targeting their interests. They are also integrating the ‘Study Spy’ course and scholarship finder into Career Central. “We want to be the one stop shop for anything related to career education for both staff and students” says Sue. With pilot schools trialling the programme in Australia this year, things are going to get even busier. Sue says she will miss her role at the college but is reassured that her colleague, Michele Liddle, has been appointed to take up the Career Adviser position. Kym Bolton-Hampton is also working in the department providing Gateway opportunities for students.