Our CER Recruitment Consultants truly are the backbone of our agency. They work tirelessly to supply the highest quality teaching staff to thousands of schools across the country, so the younger generation has the best education.
Their passion for education and supporting others is clear as soon as you walk into the buzz of the office. Their friendly nature and considerate attitude will put any candidate at ease.
We sat down to chat with two of our consultants from the CER Liverpool branch, Sophie and Ashleigh. Both have only been with CER for a short time, but with 16 years of recruitment experience between them, they are already successful and established members of the team. We spoke to them about their journey into the education sector and how they have unlocked their potential with CER.
When asking them what they enjoy most about their job, the answer was unanimous…getting someone their dream job.
Ashleigh said: “That’s why we love what we do and keep doing it. A lady called me the other day to thank me for one day’s work and she was so grateful. We have to look after them.”
When speaking to candidates as part of our campaign, one thing that stands out is a great quality in CER staff and the personal approach they have towards their teachers. They are praised for their honest and efficient service, which Sophie says is so important.
“You have to have that personal touch. There is such a shortage in the market at the moment that if you don’t put the effort in you will lose them.”
Being a Recruitment Consultant was not a childhood dream for Sophie and Ashleigh, but they both found their way into the role on very similar paths.
Sophie said: “Growing up I always wanted to do performing arts, maybe a singer. Then I realised that it would be hard to earn money that way. It did help give me a lot of confidence and I perform in the office daily… much to the delight of my colleagues.
“I have a retail background and didn’t want to work weekends anymore. I didn’t know much about education recruitment so I just started applying online and have been in education ever since.”
Ashleigh explored a variety of careers before settling into her current role. She explained: “When I was young, I wanted to be an air hostess, then join the RAF randomly! I trained as a hairdresser for 3 years then never did it.
“I once worked in a call centre with a lady who had worked in recruitment and told me how much she enjoyed it, so I started applying.”
Having also worked within a legal recruitment setting, Ashleigh soon realised that education was where she felt most comfortable.
“Education is fast-paced compared to legal. You are talking to people that are on your level. I already had 4 years of knowledge in education at this point, so the transition was hard.”
Our campaign is full of stories about how people’s own experiences at school may have inspired them to seek a role in education. We asked Sophie and Ashleigh if anyone made an impact on their school days, which they stick with them today.
Sophie explained: “My Head of Year always told me to stay on my path. I hung around with some naughty people. So, I was always encouraged to stay focused and do well.”
During their time in education recruitment over the last few years, both Sophie and Ashleigh have noticed a huge demand for TAs and support staff in schools to help children with particular needs. A lot of which has become apparent following the Covid pandemic.
Ashleigh added: “The need for one-to-one support is the highest ever. It was unheard of when I was at school. So many more children now need that support. Lots of kids are suffering from anxiety now that they are back at school.”
Due to the specific roles that CER need to fill at the moment, it is the consultant's job to find the right match for that school, as one does not fit all.
“When I interview a Secondary teacher, I ask them to describe their teaching style. How will I learn in their class and stay engaged? When I was at school I just sat and looked at the chalkboard whereas teaching is very different now.”
As well as helping others with their career development, working for CER has helped Sophie and Ashleigh unlock their potential as consultants. They particularly highlight what they have learnt from our longest serving CER member, Senior Divisional Operations Manager, Elaine Berry, who heads the CER Liverpool branch.
Sophie added: “In my previous role, I was a specialist recruiter, so I only looked for TAs. Working here has opened my eyes to the other roles within teaching and what is required for each school.
Plus working with Elaine has been great. She knows her stuff, she has taught us a lot. She is very team orientated and we all support one another.”
Ashleigh was doubtful about her recruitment career until she came to CER and received the guidance and support she had been missing at other agencies.
“I was ready to come out of recruitment 9 months ago, but since I have been here it has changed my outlook on the sector. I am doing so many other things here and feel like a consultant again. We have such a supportive team. They take care of your wellbeing here and they see you as a person.”
If you want to unlock your potential in the sector, contact your local branch today.