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6 March 2024

Their ethos is to ensure every jobseeker they place will make a difference in the classroom. They provide services to schools, multi-academy trusts and local authorities – from supply to permanent recruitment and full managed services. The Education division also supports their clients with careers advice, employability skills and labour market intelligence.

We spoke to Claire Seeley, Education Partnership Manager in Education about her role and why she is so passionate about working in this division.

“I started with Reed just over 11 years ago as a consultant. Part of my ambition was that I wanted to work at a business with more opportunity to grow and expand my career within one employer. I found this opportunity at Reed. I got a job as a consultant, and I started as a senior because I had previous experience. Through the support I was given by Reed and working my way through the consultant development framework, I developed and became Executive Consultant as my desk grew.”

With the education division within Reed experiencing such huge growth, it meant that more offices were being opened. I applied for the Business Manager role for the Staffordshire office, and I was successful in securing the position. This was my first role managing a team, so it was an exciting opportunity. It was a brand-new area for Reed, expanding to new clients and candidates, which was fantastic to be a part of.

Having come from a really established team, it was perfect for me to join at that time and grow my own business within Reed. In this role I took on several consultants who have gone on to have their own successful careers within Reed and outside of the business. I think a sign of things going right is when the people you hire, train and support go on to have fulfilling careers of their own.

Due to the Education division’s success and expansion, there was an opportunity for a Education Partnerships Manager within our Business Development team. I gained this promotion as I had experience within the business, exposure to different clients, including at a higher level and wanted a new challenge within education.”

How does your role as a Education Partnership Manager differ to your role as a Business Manager?

“The business development team within our education division of Reed are there to manage the larger agreements with our clients and to create opportunities for the offices. Part of the sector is that many schools sit within a multi-academy trust, which is a group of schools, and they can vary in size. Some of them are large and they can cover the whole county, so it’s important for those clients that they have a contact that can look after things on a holistic level centrally and that they can then work with the office network to fill their vacancies.”

We also asked Claire about her involvement in Reed’s Gateway to Work which helps prepare students in years 9 to 13 transition from education to the workplace with a digital, complete careers education curriculum.

“Gateway to Work is a project that came around about 2 1/2 years ago. It came off the back of a project that my manager, Pamela Waghorn, had done previously. She did an incredible job of creating a virtual work experience and initially it was during COVID because for obvious reasons, young people couldn’t be going to work experience placements like they normally would. So, we created something that they could access remotely.”

“To give it a bit of a context, the original week at Reed work experience has now had over 10,000 students spend a week at Reed virtually. We could never have met that capacity in person! With that week they got to experience what it’s like to work with different departments and experience life at Reed. “

“Then Gateway to Work became the next phase of that work experience week. It was an opportunity, certainly for me, to work with co-members right across the Reed business. We reached out to people in different areas and there was support directly from the chairman’s office. It was something that James Reed CBE and his team were involved in. It was a fantastic opportunity to be involved in a companywide project.”

“Gateway to Work is a full careers programme. We took that concept of work experience and flipped on its head and asked what are Reed good at? And how can we help young people. Young people are at the heart of everything we do in the education division. As a business we have so much expertise that we can share. CV writing and interview preparation are things that come naturally to a recruiter but can be really challenging when you’re at school. You’ve never seen it before, and you don’t know what to do, so Gateway to Work is built to take students on a real journey.”

In 2018, Reed launched a Women in Leadership mentoring scheme as part of their wider mentoring portfolio. Claire, what inspired you to join the programme as a mentor?

“In 2019, I applied to be a mentee under the Women in Leadership scheme. I really value working for a company that that promotes diversity, equality, and belonging. I think that the women in leadership scheme is a visible way that Reed helps to develop future leaders. For me, as a newer manager I wanted to have a network of other strong women in the business which Reed have got an absolute abundance of. I was lucky enough to get partnered with a mentor who was a highly experienced senior manager. I found it absolutely invaluable having somebody who was completely impartial. She wasn’t my line manager and wasn’t in any way linked to the side of the business that I work for which meant when you’re talking about your career and your aspirations, it gets you thinking outside the box.”

“It’s been important that as I’ve developed, I can support someone else in the same way someone had supported me, and it’s a privilege to support other women in the business.”

What do you think it takes for someone to work in Reed Education?

“That is down to that person’s tenacity and character. I don’t think education experience is always essential, I didn’t have it. However, I think what is important, if you don’t have the experience is to have the appreciation that you are working with children, you’re working with schools and the people that you place are in very responsible positions, and in my experience, success comes through building strong client and candidate relationships. Although I didn’t come from an education background, I’ve always had links to it. From my perspective, it gave me an oversight over why what we do is so important. I think it’s important for a consultant or anybody looking to join the division to also know we’re a close-knit team. We are good at communicating with one another and working together. You see the successes of everyone as a division, and we’re doing incredibly well. It comes down to hard work and pride in the job. Everybody is committed.”

What’s next?

“I’ll start with the bigger one. The division are going from strength to strength. I know we have a very ambitious senior leadership team. They have different projects under way. The education division in Reed are continuing to expand the division in terms of head count, our offering, and our capabilities. If someone is looking at joining Reed, education is an exciting division to be part of. We are constantly working to improve what we do, and we keep getting better.”

“I think one of the great things about Reed is that you can have a varied career packed with opportunities in one employer. I was lucky enough to go to my long service lunch a few weeks ago. We were talking about this, and I thought, I don’t know many people in my personal life who have been able to go from job to job, grow and change and do different things without having to quit and go somewhere else and start fresh.”

“I’ve had one employer and in 11 years and have a very fulfilling career that continues to change and challenge me. I’m very lucky to be in that position.”