Steph Tapner works within the Resourcing team at Nationwide based in Swindon, she has worked there for six years but lives on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire therefore she is matched as an Enterprise Advisor (EA) with Wellington Academy in Tidworth for the Swindon and Wiltshire Enterprise Advisor Network (SWEAN).

SWEAN is a project funded by the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Careers and Enterprise Company. Supported by three full-time Enterprise Co-ordinators.

When did you become an EA? And how did you find out about it?

I first joined as an EA two years ago, somebody came to talk to the HR team about volunteering and asked if we would be interested in signing up. I had experience in mentoring over the years and enjoy working with young people, when I found I could work with a local school close to where I lived I was really interested. Previously I have mentored graduates so this was something different.

What work have you carried out since becoming an EA?

I have regular (usually monthly) meetings with the careers manager and deputy head, where we talk about their strategy and their on-going plans and agree where I can support with these. I share my outside expertise and help to guide them when needed. Some of the activities I have supported with include mock interviews, careers fairs, and CV writing.

What would your advice to young people entering the world of work be?

I think students need to think about all the things they have done when preparing for both an interview and the workplace, it doesn’t always have to be about paid work. For example, think about how you’ve worked as part of a team or something you’ve achieved that you are proud of – all skills are relevant. It is also important to do research into companies – find out what they do and think of a question that you can ask your interviewer. And try to turn up a few minutes early for your interview time and dress smartly!

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