Case Study: Sophie de Sousa, Senior Administrator for Quality & Innovation

Published: 24 Jul 2017 By Nicky Hawkins

Sophie de Sousa

Can you tell me a little bit about your current role in FE?
My current role is Senior Administrator for Quality & Innovation. I conduct surveys with the goal of improving the college experience for students, staff and employers. I also support staff development, maintaining the quality of teaching by helping to organise lesson observations, continuous professional development (CPD) events and projects. 

What are your key interests?
Customer service roles are of particular interest. I enjoy getting to know people and listening to their future ambitions. I also enjoy dealing with data. Whilst conducting surveys, you can gain a real insight into what the people are wanting from the college. Being able to suggest new and innovative ideas on how to improve is incredibly interesting as well as rewarding. 

How did you get in to the job? What prompted your decision to move into FE?
I first came to college as a student. At the time, I’d just moved to the area from the Channel Islands. The staff at the college went above and beyond to ensure that I settled in on my course and showed me all the possibilities to progress. I applied for an apprenticeship within the college as it was a brilliant opportunity for me to expand my own education as well as my professional development. At the end of my apprenticeship programme, I applied for a position in the Quality section as I was determined to gain a permanent position within the college. The position seemed like a natural progression for me as it offered me the opportunity to continue learning and gaining qualifications. 

How has working in FE helped your career?
The college has provided me with countless opportunities to progress. I have completed a number courses alongside my own job role which has had a huge impact on the quality of my own work. The college also offers regular, bespoke training for support staff. I feel that the college has encouraged me to further my own education as well as supporting me through my own professional development. 

What do you enjoy most about your job in FE?
Working for the college gives me a real sense of pride. I immensely enjoy every aspect of my job and I find it very rewarding. 
My employer and managers always treat me with respect which enables me to have a positive work/life balance. 

Have you got any advice for anyone interested in a similar career in FE?
For myself, getting a job in FE has been hugely beneficial and I feel that it would also be beneficial for so many people. There are many ways to get a job in FE and once you have one, you will be pushed to be the best that you can be. I have always recommended and will continue to recommend, that people to apply for positions within FE as there are so many different areas to specialise in and career routes to follow. You get to work with some brilliant people whilst working for an organisation that you know is making a difference to so many young people’s lives.

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