Careers manager at DMU shortlisted for Outstanding Woman in Education award

A desire to give every student a fair chance when it comes to finding the jobs they want has seen a member of the De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Careers Team nominated for the Outstanding Woman in Education award.

Humera Hodgkinson, a Career Development Manager at DMU, was entered into the awards by a colleague, so seeing her name on the shortlist came as a major surprise.

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But Humera is delighted to be recognised for her work to ensure neurodivergent students, with conditions including autism and dyslexia, receive the help they need to find the career they want.

Humera said: “I was not expecting this at all. I have to say I am a massive introvert and I get really embarrassed by things like this. But it is still a lovely surprise.

“One of the biggest values I have in my work life and my personal life is fairness. When things are not fair and equal it really bothers me. I want our service to be as accessible as possible. It is not one size fits all when it comes to education and careers.

“I am proud with what has been achieved working with the various teams. I didn’t do this for the recognition but the fact someone thought of me and put my name forward was really nice. I have had had a lot of help from my colleagues.”

During Humera’s first spell working at DMU she felt more needed to be done to tailor careers advice for neurodivergent students.

She explained: “If a student has dyslexia why are they given the same 30-minute appointment to talk about careers when they probably need more time?

“So, I started booking back-to-back appointments for students who were neurodivergent. I also worked with the Disability Team at DMU to change some of the language in our supporting material to be more inclusive. We also offered autism training for the careers team.

“When I started there was just one student with a disability on a placement. Within a year I had 27 students on placement with industry.”

HUMERA awards logo

Humera left DMU in 2019 but returned in 2022 and picked up where she left off when it came to adapting careers work to ensure it was more inclusive.

“I created a nine-week program called Recruitment Ready with support from the DMU Autism Team,” she explained.

“The program is designed to ensure students really understand what is needed from them during the job recruitment process. It also makes sure that students who may need extra support feel very much a part of the DMU community.

“I have had a meeting with the DMU Disability Team and we are going to continue the program. I want to reach as wide an audience as possible. It will be open to everyone across all the faculties in every undergraduate course.

“So, if someone wants to apply for a summer job in their first year, come along and see us.”

Humera is passionate about DMU Careers and the help the team can offer.

“The career service is so important because when a student comes to university, they come here to get a job at the end of it,” she said:

“So, we are here with you from the start, not just at the finish. We want students to be able to relate to us. We want to set goals, help with advice and be honest.

“We like to give students that push they need, the motivation they need and be accountable for it. Our work aligns with what industry needs and what students need, so it is always relevant.”

The finalists of the Outstanding Woman in Education Award will attend a ceremony in September to find out who has won.

DMU has specialist careers teams in every faculty to help students plan their career path and explore opportunities in Leicester, the UK and across the world. Thanks to the DMU careers commitment, students can access:

  • Guaranteed work experience opportunities
  • Flexible and personalised career support tailored to their needs, including placement years which count towards their degree
  • Unlimited access to digital tools including LinkedIn Learning courses, practice interviews, self-assessments, and instant personalised CV feedback through the Careers Team Skills Hub
  • Lifelong careers support after graduation

If you want to find out more about DMU Careers and how the team can help you click here

Posted on Friday 25 August 2023

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