Careers’ Meet the team: Chris Millson, Online Training Manager


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1. Name

Chris Millson

2. Job Title

Online Training Manager

3. How long have you worked in Careers at York and what did you do before you worked here?

After I graduated, my partner and I taught English in Japan for a year – it was great experience and fun to live there. I then got a job here in Careers helping students start businesses, which taught me a lot. From that job to my current role, I have worked in Careers for seven years – but I enjoy it here, so I don’t have the proverbial itch.

4. What do you do in a typical day in your job?

My job is to manage eLearning and interactive web apps for Careers, including the Employability Tutorial and Careers Timeline. It is easy to say ‘every day is different’; indeed, I have just done so, and while it is usually true, there are a lot of important everyday things in most jobs. You may not enjoy all of them, but being good at them could be what gets you the job; don’t forget this when applying for things. Here are some things I do very regularly: write/reply to emails, fill in forms, have meetings, talk about ideas and developments, research things online, write code for web applications, use databases to generate stats, follow things on social media. Here are some things I don’t do every day: meet employers and staff at other universities, go to conferences, and help with events like Careers Fairs/the YUSU Fair and York Award courses.

5. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I think everyone has said this too, but having nice colleagues is the most important thing for me, and the people I work with are great. Also, I get to talk to students, graduates and staff, to find out how we can improve our online services – it is very rewarding to feel that you are helping people, and exciting to hear ideas which I would never think of myself. If you are at York and have any comments/suggestions, send them over; we love feedback.

6. If you could do any job in the world what would it be?

I used to think it would be nice to be a coffee taster, but then I read this article and realised I was romanticising it somewhat. I think I would enjoy my childhood ambition of being a DJ and/or music producer, but only in a hypothetical universe where I was talented and lucky enough to make it my day job.

7. What are you:

  • Watching?

Just finished Utopia: amazing soundtrack, dark and quirky script. Also, just discovered Hot Tub Britain: a winning blend of office tension and logistical nightmares. It made me realise that working for a family business could be very difficult, as would being followed everywhere by a film crew.

  • Reading?

My partner and I have been on a few long car journeys recently, and have discovered a fun pastime is to become a live audiobook, i.e. reading out a cheap – and ideally trashy – eBook, creating voices for all of the characters. So I have been reading a lot of cheap – and ideally trashy – eBooks.

  • Listening to?

I love the new Radio 1 Friday night line-up featuring my favourite DJ, B.Traits. I am not always up late enough to hear it live, so I mostly listen to it on iPlayer while performing household chores. ‘9TS’ by Redlight is a great track at the moment, and an excellent accompaniment to both cooking and unloading the dishwasher.

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Careers’ Meet the Team: Sara Dimmock, Student Intern – Frontline Support


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How long have you worked in Careers at York and what did you do before you worked here?

I joined the Careers team in September 2013, working part-time alongside completing my undergraduate degree in English Language and Linguistics. Prior to this I worked part-time as a restaurant manager and taught piano at the weekends.

What do you do in a typical day in your job?

Most of my time is spent on the Information Desk which involves handling initial enquiries from students, graduates, employers, members of university staff, visitors etc. These enquiries can be face-to-face, telephone or email. Although the routine is always the same, the wide variety of enquiries that we get at the Information Desk means that no two shifts are identical. I also help to keep the Careers Education sector Facebook page up-to-date with information about possible careers, sector development and generally interesting articles.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people I work with are lovely. My time at Careers has coincided with the final year of my degree and it has been great to come into work during stressful essay/exam periods to interact with people who don’t live in the student bubble! It has also been really interesting seeing the university from a staff point of view as well as student one.

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Careers’ Meet the Team: Sue Russell, Information Assistant


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How long have you worked in Careers at York and what did you do before you worked here?  
I’ve worked in Careers for nearly 13 years. Before working at the University I worked at the Yorkshire  and Humberside Tourist Board, handling complaints in the accommodation department. Prior to that I worked at the Prudential and the TSB.

What do you do in a typical day in your job?
My days are varied as 60% of my working week is spent covering the Information Desk where I can be dealing with all sorts of enquiries from students, graduates, employers, other members of staff, parents, etc. We handle all the emails into the main Careers account and answer all the telephone calls to the main Careers number.  When I’m not covering the Information Desk, I am responsible for inputting the Careers Advice appointments on the web ready for each term, compiling the monthly statistics for the web, updating the Voluntary sector Facebook sector page and checking/updating content on our website.

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Careers’ meet the team: Louisa Dobson, Operations Assistant


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How long have you worked in Careers at York and what did you do before you worked here?

I started in Careers  in September 2007 and really enjoyed the work straight away. I had previously worked for two years as a receptionist for the University’s Open Door team – literally at the other end of the corridor from Careers! Before that, I was a Witness Liaison Officer for Cheshire Constabulary which had a whole different set of challenges but was still very rewarding.

What do you do in a typical day in your job?

My days are busy and varied in the Operations team. I can be in meetings planning the coming term or next academic year’s activity. I have an event allocation, so if I have skills sessions on that day, I will be preparing for that and making sure the logistics are OK, refreshments are booked, presentation slides and course materials are ready to go.

Mid-term, I interpret the student feedback we collect in feedback fortnight. This information helps Careers to produce a, ‘you said we did’ piece each term, because we really do listen to the feedback you give us! I frequently produce statistical reports to monitor how many people attend events or appointments and this in turn will help us to plan activity in the future. Other larger events, such as our annual graduate recruitment fairs take months to plan, so there is always something to do!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really love hearing what a difference an event has made to a student. In the past we’ve had students who have gained an internship and even a job, just by networking with the right people when we’ve had employers on campus! We also get very good feedback from employers on the quality of York students and this makes me very proud to be a part of the University.

If you could do any job in the world what would it be?

Ooh a tricky one – a designer I think, a product designer. I love all that – being able to decide the way everyday items look and work, I think that would be pretty satisfying.

What are you….? 

  • Watching:  Breaking Bad (it is taking over my life)
  • Reading:  Room on the Broom, The Highway Rat (to my 5-year old, but I rather enjoy them too)
  • Listening to: London Grammar

Previous ‘Meet the Team’ blogs:

Careers’ meet the team: Kelly McDonald, Careers Adviser


Name and job title:
Kelly McDonald, Careers Adviser
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How long have you worked in Careers at York and what did you do before you worked here?
I’ve just completed my first year with the team which has been fantastic. I am not new to the University however – I worked with the Researcher Development Team here at York for two years as a Research Staff Developer which also involved supporting researchers with their career planning. I have been a Careers Adviser for 13 years which makes me feel very old!

What do you do in a typical day in your job?

That’s a tough question – the great thing about this role is that it is so varied.

A morning of careers appointments could mean I am asked about work experience in nano technology, reviewing an application for a victim support worker, reassuring a crying first year who’s worried they haven’t got their life planned out, preparing a third year nursing student for their first nursing interview, referring a student for immigration support. You constantly have to think on your feet and locate the most useful resources to support each student’s needs.

In the afternoon I might be preparing for a group session. I would be liaising with a department, researching an area, possibly speaking to an employer or capturing any relevant recruitment updates – indeed anything I can do to tailor the session and make it fun and interesting.

Alongside those tasks I might also be providing e-guidance to a graduate no longer based in York, supporting a student volunteering project, helping to organise an employer or alumni event or analysing student destination stats to better understand where students might be moving on to.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The students without question and the variety. 

If you could do any job in the world what would it be?

Professional Forager. Yes that is a real job! I love anything food related and I love being outside, so this would be a pretty cool job. I would source ingredients for restaurants and become a real expert in local food from cheese, humanely raised meats and novel items I could introduce to chefs. The best perk would be spending the day literally in the field and eating – win win!

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Oh – or Professional Sleeper of course! As a sleep deprived mum, I think I could be fantastic at that!!

What are you:

  • Watching? MasterChef of course
  • Reading? The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – it’s really great
  • Listening to? San Fermin – sort of orchestral indie rock music I suppose. There’s loads of them in the band and they are a clever bunch who can all play/ compose really great music. Their single Sonsick is unbelievable. 

Previous Meet the Team blogs

Careers’ meet the team: Sally Greenwood, Volunteering Project Officer


Name and job title:
Sally Greenwood, Volunteering Project Officer, York Students in SchoolsSally Greenwood

How long worked in Careers at York and what did you do before you worked here?
I have worked at Careers for two and a half years. Before joining the team, I studied for a Masters in International and Global Education.

What do you do in a typical day in your job?
There is always something going on, from running a DBS clinic to meeting student groups or community partners. I might spend the morning catching up on my emails and checking in with my student teams, or little bit of York Award marking before running off to meet a school or to sit in on a YSIS Plus workshop. I get to do some really fun things on some days; I could be watching pupil’s adverts in the Aviva boardroom, or running pre-placement training with my Student Managers. Of course, it could always be DBS checking day or placement matching day, when I have to surround myself with piles of forms or lists of placement requests! On these days, cake is what gets me through…!

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working with student volunteers is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job – the fantastic YSIS Student Management Group (SMG) never fail to put a smile on my face, and I couldn’t do my job without them!

If you could do any job in the world what would it be?
Something that combines cake, books, dogs and going on school trips… and if that’s not possible, I’ll own a book cafe and Sarah Leith can bake the cakes. We’ll specialise in red velvet.

What are you:

  • Watching? Death in Paradise on BBC One, and I’m waiting for The Bake Off to return
  • Reading? Anything, whenever and wherever I can. I have a large Amazon wish list.
  • Listening to? My Harry Potter audio CDs in my car.

Previous ‘Meet the Team’ blogs:

Careers’ meet the team: Irena Zientek, Information Resources Manager


Our new ‘Meet the Team’ feature will give you a glimpse into the people behind Careers and how their work contributes to the breadth of exciting projects and opportunities, we provide to help develop your employability.  First off, meet Irena,

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1. Name

Irena Zientek

2. Job Title

Information Resources Manager

3, How long have you worked in Careers at York and what did you do before you worked here?

13 years. Previously, I was Careers Information Officer at the University of Huddersfield Careers Service.

4. What do you do in a typical day in your job?

My working days are varied and busy. There’s the inevitable over-flowing email inbox, so lots of messages to handle, actions arising to undertake and information to disseminate.

Internal and external meetings tend to be in the mornings and include catch-ups with Information Team, updates with other colleagues working on the latest projects and meetings with partners outside Careers.

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