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Alice Stapleton: Keelite of the Month April 2014
2004 Psychology & Criminology
What am I doing now?
I am a Career/Life Coach for those in their 20s and early 30s who are experiencing what has become known as a Quarter-Life Crisis. I coach individuals who feel stuck in their current careers or personal lives and wish to move forward in some way. I also run workshops for managers who find this generation difficult to engage and retain. Alongside my business, I work part-time for a top barristers’ chambers as their Project Manager working on employee engagement, equal opportunities, and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
How did you get to where you are now?
After Keele, I chose to look in to careers directly related to my degree. I applied for roles in the Prison Service, and volunteered for the Police and Victim Support. I was successful in obtaining an administration role at my local National Probation Service office and from there, I went on to complete the two-year training programme (which involved completing a second degree and NVQ Level 4) to become a qualified Probation Officer. I wanted to continue to work one-to-one with individuals but move away from a focus on criminal behaviour. After having some coaching myself, which really helped me figure out my options, I chose to develop my knowledge and skills by completing a Masters in Coaching & Mentoring Practice and setting up my own business.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Probably working full-time whilst completing a Masters, setting up my own business, and maintaining a long distance relationship with my now-husband, all at the same time! That was a stressful year but it was well worth it. I achieved a lot in a short space of time and I am delighted that everything and everyone survived.
And your biggest mistake?
I’m not sure I believe we make ‘mistakes’. Everything I have done has led me to where I am now. If I’d done anything differently, I wouldn’t be where I am now. We make the most of the decisions we made in the past, which were the right ones for us at the time.
What are your ambitions now?
To raise awareness of the Quarter-Life Crisis through the media and encourage people in their 20s and early 30s to realise they are not alone in finding this time of their lives tricky. And, to have a family one day and balance this with running my own successful business along the way.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in a similar field?
Probation: Talk to people that already do the job and see how they find it. There are lots of changes being made at the moment by the Government. Would the current environment suit you? Volunteer to work with offenders first. It’s great for your CV and gives you a flavour of the work.
Coaching: Access great training courses that cover psychological theory, practical elements/tools and techniques, plus the business side of running a business. Again, talk to professionals doing it already and explore what niche you’d like to work in.
What made you choose Keele University?
It was one of few that offered the combination of subjects I wanted to study. Keele wanted good, high grades to get in and I felt that reflected the high standards of the University and the quality of teaching I would receive.
What kind of a student were you?
I liked to party but I also worked hard, more so in my third year. I tried to attend those 9am lectures, even after a heavy night out! I met a variety of people through my course, halls of residence, and working in Templar Bar. I didn’t access the facilities or communities as best as I could but I enjoyed my time on campus nonetheless.
How has Keele influenced your life?
The degree I did has heavily shaped my career so far but most of all, Keele taught me how to have fun and how to get on with a variety of people from many different backgrounds.
What is your favourite memory of Keele?
It was towards the end of my time at Keele and a large group of friends and I were dancing in the Students’ Union to ‘Never Forget’, all the staff were on stage, and the line “someday soon this will be someone else's dream” really hit home. I’d had such a great time at Keele and somewhere out there future students were dreaming of that. I felt very lucky and grateful that Keele would be there for future students to enjoy.
What is your impression of Keele now?
I haven’t been back since I left but the University continues to thrive from what I can gather from the email updates I receive. I’d love to go back and see what it’s like now. So many memories!