About Us

 

FutureSmart Careers was founded in 2019 by Vicki MacDonald and Lorna Owen. We are careers guidance specialists and passionate about providing students with the support they need to move on to the next stages in life. 

We now work with approximately 70 schools across the South and South West and FutureSmart Careers continues to grow.  Our philosophy is to collaborate with each school to provide the level of support that meets their exact needs and budget. 

We employ a growing team of careers advisers, who are all qualified to Level 6 or 7, who uphold the CDI’s professional code of ethics, undertake regular safeguarding and CPD training and who have enhanced DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) status.  

Work For Us

If you are interested in joining our team, please see our current vacancies by clicking here 

Meet The Team

Vicki MacDonald

Director and Co-Founder

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Vicki MacDonald

I am a Co-Founder of FutureSmart Careers and it has been an exciting three years, I have really enjoyed continuing to work with my school clients and it has been over 9 years with many of them. Increasing our school clients and growing a team of expert colleagues has been very rewarding, some of whom I have worked alongside for many years and some who have joined us more recently and come from a range of careers backgrounds. 

I believe that being flexible in the way in which we work with our clients and employing amazing staff to deliver excellent service is key to our success. 

My background working for an independent careers company for 6 years and as Head of Careers in an independent school in Bristol for 6 years, combined with experience working in recruitment for SME’s and sales for global and major organisations gives me a very relevant perspective about different careers and employability and reinforces that there are often many and diverse routes to employment. 

I love my job, being able to spend time with teenagers, talking to them about what they want to do in their careers and helping them to start the process of planning and achieving their goals is a great privilege.  

When I am not working, I will be riding my horse, Harry and clinging on tight, as I have been known to have the occasional fall! 

Lorna Owen

Director and Co-Founder

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Lorna Owen

I am a Co-Founder of FutureSmart Careers. I entered the careers sector in 2015 after gaining the Level 7 Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance and am a professional member of the Career Development Institute. I am passionate about helping young people understand the dynamics of a rapidly changing world of work and how to prepare for a future where uncertainty and change are the only things that are guaranteed.

Prior to co-founding FutureSmart Careers, I worked with Inspiring Futures and I also have a wealth of experience from roles in the newspaper industry, television production, eCommerce, charity and finance sectors. I have hugely enjoyed the variety in my career and am well equipped to shares insights into highly valuable transferable skills and help pupils to find the work that they will love. I am now dedicated to supporting young people to make the best choices about their own options and opportunities.

Kelly Cumming

Area Manager Devon & SEND Lead

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Kelly Cumming

Hi, I'm Kelly Cumming. I started working with Future Smart Careers in October 2022.  I have been working in careers guidance for over 9 years.  Before this I served a nine year career in the Royal Air Force as an Air Movements Controller which included  serving operational tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

I am qualified with a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, NVQ Level 6 Diploma in Careers Guidance and Development, NVQ Level 4 Diploma in Career Information and Advice and NVQ Level 3 Certificate in Advice and Guidance.  I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

My special interests within careers guidance is providing advice to SEND students.  I am dedicated to providing the highest level of support to students in order to facilitate informed decision making and life-long career management.  I am particularly passionate about encouraging ambition, sharing best practice and am committed to ongoing professional development.

 

Alexandra Morris

Area Manager (trainee)

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Alexandra Morris

HI I'm Alexandra. I joined FutureSmart Careers in September 2023 and have been a careers adviser since 2019. I have had a wonderful eclectic career journey. I have experience in a variety of roles from luxury retail and sales management, established NHS and Healthcare settings, Higher Education and Public Sector roles. I have achieved the OCR Level 6 Diploma in Careers Guidance and Development and am currently working towards my Chartered Management Institute Diploma in Leadership and Management. In 2023, I was shortlisted for the Career Development Institute Public Sector Careers Adviser of the Year Award for my specialist work with forced migrants, asylum seekers and other displaced individuals in Wales. I thoroughly enjoy empowering young people to identify their strengths, review their perspectives and values, raise their aspirations and help them identify suitable career pathways to achieve their goals.

Sonya Johnson

Administration Manager

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Sonya Johnson

Hi, I'm Sonya Johnson. I joined Future Smart Careers Ltd in September 2022. Before this I worked within the Education Sector as a School Business Manager, Administrative Assistant and Mobility Coordinator. 

I started working in administration after leaving school, where I joined the British Army and completed 6 years service as a Military Clerk. During this time I gained early promotion and completed two operational tours in Bosnia Herzegovina and the Falkland Islands.

In my spare time I enjoy spending quality time with my husband and our 4 chiildren.  We are a very active family and enjoy lots of activites such as cycling, rollerblading, walking, swimming and going to the beach.  I am a keen runner and one of my biggest achievements is completing the Race to the Stones 100km Ultramarathon.

 

Viki Stevens

Careers Adviser & Marketing Executive

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Viki Stevens

Hi I'm Viki. I joined FutureSmart Careers in June 2023 having worked in the education and guidance sector for 14 years in schools and FE colleges. My roles have been varied and have included work placement co-ordinator, schools marketing liaison officer and personal adviser for local council Childrens' Services.

I am a qualified careers adviser with a Level 6 Diploma in Careers Information Advice and Guidance gained via an apprenticeship in 2021 as well as a Level 4 OCR Certificate in Advice and Guidance. I have worked with young people from diverse backgrounds and am experienced in providing one to one guidance and group delivery of employability skills and career-related workshops. I have also supported young people in the community to find employment, education and work.

My original back ground is in Marketing. I hold a degree in Business Marketing and Tourism and have worked for airlines and ferry companies in Brand managment and sales promotion roles.

I enjoy the variety and challenges my role brings. I am passionate about empowering young people to realise their life goals by providing tailored information and guidance to help them make informed decisions about their future.

Charlotte van den Berghen

Careers Adviser

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Charlotte van den Berghen

My name is Charlotte van den Berghen, I am a qualified careers adviser and I have worked in the Education Sector for 10 years. Before that, I held prominent roles in Finance Sector as well as in Engineering and PR.  I therefore bring a great deal of knowledge and a strong network to compliment careers advising.   

I gained valuable experience from working within a large sixth form team as the Advice and Guidance Mentor for the Careers department, at the same time as completing my Level 6 Certificate in Careers Leadership.    

My aim is to help every student to achieve success in their career and to feel empowered.  I find working with students incredibly rewarding, helping to provide them with the knowledge, understanding, confidence and skills that they need to make informed choices and plan for their future career pathway.   

I have experience in CV preparation, personal statements, UCAS applications, interview techniques and advice prior to interviews and assessment days.   

In my spare time, I am Mum to two lively boys and enjoy quiet time with my husband, walking our golden retriever Arlo in the countryside where we live in Berkshire.   

Julie Hassall

Careers Adviser

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Julie Hassall

Hi I'm Julie. I joined FutureSmart Careers in September 2023 having worked in careers guidance and employability for 13 years. Previously, I have worked in catering and hospitality, as a call centre team leader, British Airways ground crew and as a farmers market trader. I have run my own business managing a cafe in a converted Land Rover on Brighton seafront. I have an OCR Level 6 Diploma in Careers Guidance and Development and OCR Level 4 Diploma in Careers Information and Advice. I enjoy building confidence, self-esteem and ambition in my clients so they feel empowered to reach their full potential.

Martin Allerston

Careers Adviser

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Martin Allerston

Hi, I’m Martin Allerston, I’ve been a qualified careers advisor for 20 years and before that, I was an education/training project manager and musician.

As a careers advisor, my aim is to be approachable and accessible. I believe good careers guidance really can raise aspirations, broaden horizons, and challenge stereotypes. I have an undergraduate degree in Geography and Economics, and in my spare time, I like playing 5 aside football.

Kyley Houghton

Careers Adviser

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Kyley Houghton

I'm Kyley and I am delighted to be a new member of the FutureSmart Careers team as of September 2023. I have a Level 7 QCG/PG Diploma in Careers Guidance gained in 2002 and more recently I also gained a post graduate Diploma in Education in 2022. As a registered member of the CDI, I am passionate about using a person-centred approach to assist young people in their career journeys and I also love giving presentations and workshops.

My route through the careers sector has included time with Connexions and managing the careers service in a Further Education College. I've also had the opportunity to wear other hats along the way, including UCAS co-ordinator, Schools Liaison Officer, Admissions and Applicant Services Adviser and Post Graduate Admissions Assistant, all of which have widened my skills and knowledge and deepened my commitment to supporting young people.

Some fun facts about me: I played Mrs Perks in The Railway Children and know the chorus of Mistletoe and Wine in British Sign Language!

Dania Ayarah

Careers Adviser

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Dania Ayarah

Hi I'm Dania. I joined FutureSmart Careers in September 2023 having worked in careers guidance for 3 years. Before joining I was an HR adviser. I have a Level 6 in Careers Guidance and Development and an MSc in Programme and Project Management in addition to a Bachelor degree in English Literature. I am interested in supporting learners with international backgrounds by helping them become aware of their options and how to communicate professionally with UK employers.

Amy Lynch

Careers Adviser

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Amy Lynch

Hi I'm Amy. I joined FutureSmart Careers in September 2023. I have been working with young people and job seeking adults for over 20 years. Previously, I worked in the Psychology Department at Bath University and have also been a health trainer working to support adults who want to make a behaviour change. I have worked in colleges, youth centres, in the community and even as a Tourist Information Assistant. I hold a Level 7 Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance and Development as well as a degree in Sociology and Social Policy. I enjoy working with a wide variety of students, from high achievers to those struggling with motivation and attendance. I have a particular interest in supporting students with additional needs and those at risk of becoming NEET. (not in education, employment or training)

Emma McGuinness

Careers Adviser

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Emma McGuinness

Hi, I'm Emma McGuinness, I qualified in Careers Guidance with a Level 7 Post-Graduate Diploma in 2011. I have worked in the university sector and in secondary education, including a wide range of independent schools and alongside one-to-one guidance, I also deliver workshops on higher education choices and provide mock Oxbridge interviews. 

I began my career as a researcher in the House of Commons. I have worked for charities, NGOs and think tanks. I have also trained as a counsellor and worked with young people in the public sector.  I enjoy supporting young people to identify their values and interests, navigate options and translate these into their next steps. I love seeing young people light up with inspiration and confidence, realising what they can do and how to do it.



Heather Samuel

Careers Adviser

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Heather Samuel

Hi, I’m Heather Samuel. I’ve been a qualified careers advisor for approximately 30 years, and before that, I was working as a Support Officer for the Education Welfare Service.

I have a particular interest in healthcare professions, specifically careers in medicine. I also enjoy using psychometric assessments with clients to explore personality and career development. My philosophy on careers advice is a simple and straightforward approach: client-centred at every level and solution-focused.

Julia Grant

Careers Adviser

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Julia Grant

Hi, my name is Julia Grant and I have recently joined the FutureSmart Careers team. I started my working career in the City of London within Banking and Insurance. I transferred into education working as a librarian and now have 15 years’ experience of working with young people in Careers Education Information and Guidance (CEIAG).

I am empathetic, enthusiastic and committed in supporting and providing young people with impartial careers advice and guidance, so they can identify their strengths and potential, to find the best choices in matching their skills and raise aspirations for their future. I particularly enjoy helping them to understand the current job market with up-to-date labour Market Information (LMI).

I have a HNC in Library Information and Communication, Level 6 in Careers Education and Guidance & Level 7 (MA) in Careers Management. I recently completed the Careers Leader qualification through Derby University and am a member of the UK Register of Career Development Professionals.

Nadim Choudhury

Careers Adviser

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Nadim Choudhury

Hello, I'm Nadim Choudhury, I started working with Future Smart Careers in September 2022. I have been working in Careers Guidance for 20 years.  Before this I worked in HR/Recruitment.

I have a BA (Hons) degree in Economics, Msc Careers Management & Coaching and a PG Cert in teaching in Higher Education, Level 7 qualified 

My special interests within careers guidance is developing resilience and professional careers. 

Katrina Bride

Careers Adviser

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Katrina Bride

My name is Katrina Bride, and I gained my Qualification in Career Development (QCD) alongside a Post Graduate Diploma in Career Development (Level 7) in 2023.  Whilst working in careers, I am also a CELTA-qualified teacher of English as a foreign language with a BA (Hons) degree in English Literature.

My own career has been a journey navigated by planned happenstance.  From a Graduate Traineeship in retail management, to various Marketing Communications roles, a small step lead into teaching English as a foreign language, until Covid lockdowns drove me to find a parallel route in careers guidance.

I am interested in encouraging young people to find the compass for their unique career journey in their values and ideals, promoting creativity, self-direction and resilience as their impetus.

When not at work, I love walking, especially with our Spaniels, or helping my daughter in our joint venture of training Shetland Ponies to race: a port of call I couldn’t have dreamed of when I set out on my career journey.

Charlotte Whitehead

Careers Adviser

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Charlotte Whitehead

HI I'm Charlotte. I joined FutureSmart Careers this year. I have worked in careers guidance for 6 years. Prior to re-training as a careers professional, I worked in the higher education sector specialising in skills development for PhD students. I originally trained as a secretary and then as a paper conservator. I completed a Level 7 Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Information, Education and Guidance in 2017. I have a particular interest in strengths-based development and enjoy helping young people build their confidence through recognising they have strengths that other people don't. I seek to build trusting relationships in which young people feel able to discuss their career ideas, ask questions and gain new insights and perspective. I'm an active member of the UK's Career Development Institute. In my spare time, I enjoy walking, jive dancing, creating and making healthy treats and going to Brittany with my husband.

Caroline Robinson

Careers Adviser

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Caroline Robinson

Hello, I’m Caroline Robinson, I’ve been with FutureSmart Careers for over 2 years now. Before this, I worked as a careers adviser for 8 years and had experience in education as a teacher and researcher. I have a BA degree in History of Art and a PGDip with QCG in Career Guidance.

My philosophy to careers guidance is that everyone has potential to be unlocked and each stage in your career will lead you to where you want to go. A fun fact about me is that I am planning to become an artist when I retire!

Alexandra Williams

Careers Adviser

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Alexandra Williams

Hi, I'm Alexandra Williams. I have been a qualified Careers Adviser for 5 years. Before that I was a Job Coach/Recruitment Consultant.

I have a OCR Level 6 Diploma in Careers Guidance and Development & OCR Level 4 Diploma in Careers Information and Advice. 

My special interests within careers guidance is students with SEND, Employer Engagement, Careers in the Curriculum. 

 

Janice Balgarnie

Careers Adviser

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Janice Balgarnie

Hello, I'm Janice Balgarnie, I've been with Future Smart Careers since September 2022.  I have been working in careers guidance for 26 years working with students in universities, mainstream and special educational needs (SEND) secondary schools.

Before careers guidance I lived and worked as an English Teacher in Israel then Spain. I learned Hebrew and Spanish while working there. I have a Level 7 Diploma in Careers Guidance, PG Certificate of Academic Practice (Teaching in Higher Education) and a Degree in History and Politics.

My special interests within careers guidance is supporting those students whose individual circumstances impact on their experience at school.

Annabel Taylor-Ross

ASK Apprenticeships Adviser

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Annabel Taylor-Ross

Hi I’m Annabel. I started at FutureSmart Careers in September 2023 having worked in careers guidance for 5 yearsPreviously, I was an Army Officer, and have worked in Humanitarian aid with the UN and Aid agencies. I have also been a teacher and now a Director for a company of specialist ocean racing kayaks. I hold a degree in Geography gained at Nottingham University and have a PGCE in Geography and am working towards Level 6 CareersI have a particular interest in creating awareness around the opportunities presented by Apprenticeships and working with those preparing to leave school.