Careers adviser, Manchester Metropolitan University
MA in contemporary literature and culture, University of Manchester
BA in English literature, University of Manchester
About Gemma Fairclough
Gemma is a careers guidance practitioner and writer based in Greater Manchester and has almost eight years’ experience in higher education careers services. She currently works as a careers adviser at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she provides one-to-one guidance, delivers presentations and workshops, and runs events to support students with their career planning. She is a member of the AGCAS Teaching and Related Professions Task Group , maintaining specialist knowledge of developments in teacher training and recruitment throughout the UK to provide other AGCAS members with up-to-date information and advice. She has also co-authored career information guides and developed online learning resources.
When Gemma graduated with an MA in contemporary literature from the University of Manchester in 2014, she didn’t have a clear idea of what to do next. (Gemma didn’t engage with her university’s careers service much back then… an example that she encourages other students not to follow.) She knew she enjoyed helping other people, which initially led her to working in the charity sector, supporting disadvantaged people to develop new skills. She later moved on to information, advice, and guidance roles in higher education careers services. Meanwhile, she nurtured an ambition to write fiction and undertook creative writing courses in her spare time. Now, in addition to her career guidance work, Gemma is preparing her debut novella for publication.
Gemma’s perspective on career planning and work/life balance is informed by her own experience. She believes that life doesn’t have to be governed by a single, exclusive career choice, and that you needn’t lose sight of your interests just because you work in another field. But what she would add to students is this: use your careers service!