Meet Sue – a former Merchant Navy Officer who splits her time at the Peninsula Learning Trust between HR and as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant at St Mewan Primary.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name’s Sue, I live in St Austell. I’m a mother of two boys. I am from Glasgow originally but I’ve lived in Cornwall for 24 years – I came down when I married my husband not knowing Cornwall at all but have never left! It is a delightful place to raise a family.
I have a degree in Business Information Systems and originally trained as a Navigation Officer in the merchant navy. I’ve always felt connected with the sea as my father was a yacht chandler
What’s your role in the Trust?
I work as HR Assistant 3 days a week and HLTA at St Mewan 2 days a week. I cover lessons at St Mewan, which means I can release teachers to do other things within the school like swimming and trips.
How did you get into your current role?
Well I ended up in education purely by chance, having started volunteering to help with reading and just went from there. Also, in the back of my mind, I always felt my future was in HR; I feel it’s not an area that gets a lot of attention in education. The only way we can assure our pupils are achieving at the highest levels is with happy, valued and engaged staff.
What’s the biggest challenge of your role?
The split provision is challenging because they are two very different roles and one doesn’t end when I start the other – sometimes it can be hard to juggle the requirements of both. Also, with the huge importance of safeguarding and looking after our children we can’t leave anything to chance, so there’s a lot of responsibility.
What’s the most rewarding part?
It’s really seeing the true value of people, whether it’s children or adults. Seeing kids giving you 100% willingly and enjoying every minute of it. Whether its challenging themselves in swimming or choral speaking – seeing them doing things they didn’t think they were capable of doing is just so rewarding. And HR is all about the adults; making staff feel valued at work, making sure they feel valued in what they do – that’s rewarding and so important.
What exciting stuff have you got coming up?
Well like I said, engagement is key. How do we fully engage all our staff and become the employer of choice? How do we make our staff feel valued? That’s a huge part of our action plan and that’s what I’m working on. How do we increase engagement and maximise value, and how do our employees continue to feel engaged and maximise their potential? If you think of it like a machine – you have to service, oil and look after machines so they can work to their best and continue to thrive. All our staff deserve our care and attention, especially in teaching, which is a highly stressful and, at times, demanding profession.
What are your most important goals for 2018 personally and professionally?
Personally, I have signed up to do the Walk the Night marathon in July in London. It’s 26.2 miles so I need to be up to speed and train to do that! Professionally I just want to be a more effective member of the HR team, to be contributing at full tilt within the Trust and be the best team member I can be.
What do you like about living and working in Cornwall?
I love the sea. I love the education that is available for children down here. It’s a lovely place to bring up children with the beaches on your doorstep – the only thing I want to do more of is ski! But almost everything else, you can do here. It is a fantastic place to live and work; you can find places to de-stress when you need to very quickly. The air is clear, it is a healthy place to be and it is a happy place to be.
What do you enjoy to do outside of work?
I sail whenever I can and ski whenever I can! I like to walk and I sing in the St Mewan Community Choir.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of pursuing a career in Education?
Do it because you’re passionate about it, not because it needs to be done. Both of my roles need passion – you can’t just turn up and not believe in them or worry about them. Also take every opportunity – seize it and then worry about the path afterwards.
None of my career was planned; I fell into most of it because I was in the right place at the right time. Don’t think too much about it, life is spontaneous. I really believe if I tried to plan it more, it would not have worked out how it has.
What makes the Peninsula Learning Trust the place where you want to work?
The PLT is embryonic – you can have a real impact on what the future of the PLT is going to look like because it’s still in its infancy. There are great teams of people to work for and with throughout the Trust – and my job is all about the people.
Movie – Local Hero
Food – Shellfish
Band/Musician/Artist – Peatbog Faeries
Animal – Dog
Place in Cornwall – St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly