Career stories: Sarah Thomas, VP, Global Employer Brand Lead for Early Careers, Deutsche Bank

Oct 6, 2021 | Careers, Sector & policy

ISE is looking for directors to join its Board, read the career story of former director Sarah Thomas.

I was the first in my family to go to university. I found the whole process of identifying what to do when I graduated and the job search simply overwhelming. 

Looking back, not only was I naive about graduate recruitment processes, but I also lacked confidence that an employer would even consider my application.

The little confidence I had was compounded by some very poor experiences of graduate recruiters at careers fairs and by the manner in which my application was rejected.

But ultimately these experiences led me to pursue a career as a recruiter myself; I wanted to make that process of job seeking less daunting and mysterious as well as more accessible to all.

Fast-forward 15 years, and having managed early careers recruitment for organisations in several industries, I felt that I had made a difference to the diversity of the intakes I managed, albeit on a small scale. But, I still wanted to help drive change across the industry as a whole. 

When the opportunity to apply for a director role at the ISE presented itself, I saw an opportunity to do just that. I have never regretted that decision.

What really stands out is that I helped shape the development of the Apprenticeship Levy by representing the industry in a workshop with the government. I also consulted with universities on proposed changes to degree structures and grades.

Being a Board director had another benefit that I hadn’t necessarily anticipated.

Looking back, I think that my knowledge and skillset developed more in my role as an ISE Board director than through the development opportunities that were available in my own organisation at the time. Sitting around a table with my peers, I was no longer the sole expert. My views were challenged, I heard different perspectives and I learnt to think about early careers in different ways. 

Being a director you learn quickly what is needed to run an organisation like the ISE and I also developed a learning curriculum for ISE members. Many of the courses are still being run today. 

I have no doubt that my career benefitted enormously from my time as an ISE Board director and I am hugely grateful to the ISE for the opportunity. 

If you have a real passion for early careers, my advice would be to consider applying – I am so glad I did.

ISE is recruiting for Board Directors, find out more

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