ISE’s new chair: emerging out of the pandemic and early careers

Jan 31, 2022 | Sector & policy

Anne-Marie Campion, early careers manager-recruitment at Jaguar Land Rover, considers her new role as ISE chair and emerging out of the pandemic.

When the outgoing chair, Deborah McCormack, asked existing directors to put themselves forward to take over her role, I had no hesitation in putting my name forward.

It’s not that I take the position of chair lightly or underestimate the commitment required. Given my passion for early careers and my commitment to the ISE, it seemed the right decision for me. And I am now delighted that the board of directors has confirmed me as chair.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Debs for her contribution to the ISE and for the guidance and support that she has given me personally.

Turbulent times

The last couple of years have been a time of incredible upheaval for everyone: the global economy, governments, businesses, families and individuals. But the impact of Covid-19 on young people, whilst not thankfully in most cases as significant in health terms as other groups, has been enormous in many other respects.

Disruption to education. Remote learning. Gaps in learning. Isolationism. Previously unimaginable restrictions on socialisation. Abandonment of external A level and GCSE examinations. The absence of the ‘normal’ opportunities at school and university: sports tours, drama and music productions, foreign exchanges, gap year travels, work experience opportunities, and just hanging out with friends. But most significantly the exacerbation of inequality: inequality in education, inequality if life chances and socio-economic disadvantage.

We should not underestimate the impact that the pandemic has had and will continue to have for many years on our young people.

For employers too we have all experience a tumultuous two years. Homeworking, which only had a very limited place in the workforce model previously had to become the norm. Furlough was a word with which few were familiar in 2019; now we all are. Lack of face-to-face opportunities to engage with students at university and in schools. The impact on early careers vacancies across many businesses in all graduate, undergraduate and apprentice programmes. And we have all had to learn the art of interviewing on Teams or Zoom and ‘meeting’ students on a variety of virtual platforms to inform and attract applicants and promote our businesses.

Emerging out of the pandemic

As we move out of the pandemic we face a challenging landscape.

Vacancies as the ISE has reported are strong and are returning to pre-pandemic levels. But students are apprehensive about their lack of work experience and are still with varying degrees of confidence embracing a return to some form of normality in their schools, colleges and university.

And for business we face the challenge of navigating around the post pandemic working arrangements and what that means for early careers hires for whom mentoring, networking, and feeling a sense of integration and belonging is so important.

The next few years will not be easy, but hopefully better than the last two. As Chair of the ISE, I look forward to working with Stephen and his team and my fellow board directors to give all our members the support, guidance and knowledge to emerge from this pandemic as stronger, more effective and more innovative student employers.

The ISE has shown how by adapting to the necessity of a virtual world we can stay connected to our members and they with each other. As we move forward and return to a world that can be face-to- face, we look forward to combining the strengths, benefits and advantages of both. And as we have all had to show ingenuity and forbearance over the last two years we look forward to learning from each other as we build best practice going forward.

I am delighted to be the chair of the ISE and to give my commitment to the team, the board and most importantly the members, to guide the ISE forward in the coming years.

 Read more from the ISE board

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