Employment Advisor
BITA Pathways (mental health charity)

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John S

0.00.02 My name’s John S. I’m an employment advisor and I work for a company called BITA Pathways which is a mental health charity in Birmingham. I work with people who are recovering from mental ill health and have been interested in working, they work actually in the workshop at work doing menial jobs. And my role is to then prepare them for work in the real world and get them interested in particularly in training and so forth, to advance themselves so they’re able to work.

00.00.37 As a young boy, as a 13 year old, I worked for the local butcher riding the bike around and delivering orders with the basket on the front of the bike and that sort of thing. And it was I suppose a little laziness on my part when I was 16 that I just wanted to move onwards in that particular trade. I was particularly interested at the time although I didn’t recognise it, in customer service and dealing with people and that was my main motivation I think, was the people thing, the talking to ordinary people and mixing with people and enjoying different people’s company and ideas and so forth.

00.01.11 My father was in the building trade and was never ever ambitious. Never saw any moving forward as part of his life but he, I guess, sort of wanted to live his life through me and through my advancement. He wanted me to join him in the building business but I’m the more technical perhaps, architectural, all that sort of thing. And I rebelled about this and stayed in the meat trade because I thought that I’m not going to do what he wants me to do. I want to do what I want to do. So that was my motivation.

00.01.45 Apparently, and I can only believe what the medical men said, it was because I smoked and it caused a problem with the blood circulation. So I lost my left leg in 1973/4 something like that, and about 10 years later I lost my right leg as well. So by the time I was 30 odd or approaching 40, I was in real in trouble then. Nevertheless, that again provided opportunities which I hadn’t seen before.

00.02.17 I knew nothing about computers and thought I better learn about computers because this is growing thing, the way the country’s going. And I was really, really impressed at my student colleagues who would not normally achieve under the academic system in this country were really achieving, doing NVQs. So I decided to get involved in NVQs. I then got involved in training and development and became an NVQ assessor and internal and external verifying working for awarding bodies.

00.02.49 That then sort of spun off because of the amounts of advice that you were giving to learners into advice and guidance. And it was the advice and guidance that got me involved in the mental health service. For some time I did working for the same company I’m working for now, I was paid Employment Services to work in Job Centres once a week advising people who were long time unemployed. And I always remember, I had a young woman in her early 20s and she wanted to be a midwife.

00.03.22 She hadn’t got the proper qualifications. She was really despairing that she couldn’t move forward and we found a way for her to move forward and now, she’s a trainee midwife. And she’s my real big achievement she is. I was born in inner city area of Birmingham just after the Second World War. We lived in a slum with gas lights and no electricity, no bathroom, this sort of thing. And it was, I guess my main impetus has been to see the way the country’s development since the Second World War and we’ve moved forward. And I can see the way that people like myself have moved forward and there’s no reason why people now cannot move forward as well so that’s I guess the big impetus.

John S is an employment advisor for BIT Pathways, a mental health charity in Birmingham. His first career was as a butcher, starting when he was thirteen, delivering orders. But by the time he was forty he had both legs amputated so he had to find a new career.

More information about Careers advisers and vocational guidance specialists

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

23%  male 
77%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Job holders in this unit group give advice on careers or occupations, training courses and related matters, direct school leavers and other job seekers into employment and assess their progress.
Entrants often possess a degree, an approved diploma or equivalent qualification. Professional training towards the Qualification in Careers Guidance consists of a one-year full-time course followed by a one-year probationary period of on-the-job training. NVQs/SVQs in Advice and Guidance at Levels 3 and 4 are available. Those working with young people or vulnerable adults will require CRB clearance.
  • Uses an interview, questionnaire and/or psychological or other test to determine the aptitude, preferences and temperament of the client;
  • Advises on appropriate courses of study or avenues into employment;
  • Visits educational and other establishments to give talks and distribute information regarding careers;
  • Liaises with employers to determine employment opportunities and advises schools, colleges or individuals accordingly;
  • Organises careers forums and exhibitions and establishes and maintains contact with local employers, colleges and training providers;
  • Monitors progress and welfare of young people in employment and advises them on any difficulties.
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