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 over 40 schools across the South and South West and FutureSmart Careers continues to grow.  Our philosophy is to collaborate with each individual school to provide the level of support that meets their exact needs and budget. 

We continue to work in schools and employ a growing team, who uphold the CDI’s professional code of ethics, undertake regular safeguarding and CPD training and who have enhanced DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) status.   

Meet The Team

Vicki MacDonald

Director and Co-Founder

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Vicki MacDonald

Vicki is a Co-Founder of FutureSmart Careers. Previously she had worked with ISCO over 7 years ago and developed a strong portfolio of school clients with them and their newer branding Inspiring Futures. A qualified teacher with a L6 Diploma in Careers Guidance and on the CDI professional register, she believes that helping people to understand who they are, and the implications of their decisions empowers them to make better choices. It is not for us to tell a student ‘what to do’ or ‘that they cannot do something’, our job is to help them understand what’s required for a particular career and what they can do with their preferred subjects. “We don’t make the decisions, but we do help students understand what their decisions will mean”.

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

Lorna Owen

Director and Co-Founder

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Lorna Owen

Lorna entered the careers sector in 2015 after gaining the Level 7 Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance and is a professional member of the Career Development Institute.   She is 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, Lorna worked with Inspiring Futures and she also has a wealth of experience from roles in the newspaper industry, television production, eCommerce, charity and finance sectors. She has hugely enjoyed the variety in her own career and is well equipped to shares insights into highly valuable transferable skills and how to find the work that you love. She is now dedicated to supporting young people make the best choices about their own options and opportunities.

Jacquie Ridge

Helpline Manager

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Jacquie Ridge

Jacquie trained as a careers adviser in 1985 studying for the Post Graduate Diploma in Careers Guidance. Having started her career in London, she transferred to Berkshire to work in schools and Further Education Colleges in Reading, Newbury and Bracknell. After a career break, she returned to work for Inspiring Futures on the Helpline Team, answering queries from students, parents and teachers throughout the UK and many countries in Europe, The Middle and Far East. Jacquie believes that all students should have access to good quality independent careers advice to make informed decisions about their future. She is also a member of the Career Development Institute.

Lydia McNeill

Marketing and Admin Executive

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Lydia McNeill

Hi, I’m Lydia McNeill, and I’ve been with FutureSmart Careers for under a year. I have been working in Marketing for 3 years, and before that I was in customer services for around 12 years. I have a degree in Business and Marketing, and I am interested in using marketing to build our brand promise and give a fantastic customer experience. I have a holistic approach to marketing, as I’m a big picture thinker. In my spare time, I love travel, learning about psychology and creative writing.

Rachael Cobbledick

Career Advisor

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Rachael Cobbledick

Hi, my name is Rachael Cobbledick, and I’ve been with FutureSmart Careers for under a year. Previously I was the Head of Careers in a secondary school since 2016, adding to my role of a Computing Teacher. Prior to that I taught Computing and worked in advice and guidance at a local FE College. I have achieved a Level 6 Certificate in Careers Leadership and a Secondary PGCE in ICT. I aim to raise awareness and confidence, increase motivation, and broaden horizons, working with the concept that we are there to help someone make their choices, by supporting and empowering them. In my spare time I love walking, especially around the Devon and Cornwall coastal paths. 

Jane Johns

Careers Adviser

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Jane Johns

Jane has 35 years of experience working in the careers sector and holds a Diploma in Careers Guidance. She has built a deep knowledge base and gained wide expertise working with students to explore educational opportunities and career options. Having worked in many parts of the UK in a wide variety of roles with adults, Jane returned to working with students 10 years ago. She is passionate about being a Careers Adviser and committed to delivering work of the highest standard.  She believes that every student should have an outstanding service from their careers provider.

Martin Allerston

Career Advisor

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Martin Allerston

Hi, I’m Martin Allerston, I’ve been working with FutureSmart Careers for under a year. However, I’ve been a qualified careers advisor for 20 years and before that I was an education/training project manager and musician. I have a special interest in being approachable and accessible to young people, and 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.

Debbie Longland

Career Advisor

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Debbie Longland

Hi, I’m Debbie Longland, I started working for Future Smart in the summer of 2021.

I qualified as a career’s adviser in 2019 and have over 15 years' experience of teaching science in secondary schools.

I have also worked at The University of Bath helping to develop the Careerpilot website & resources. I have a degree in Biochemistry, PGCE secondary science and a level 6 careers guidance diploma. I am particularly interested in trends within careers and the types of careers that young people are interested in. I think that all young people should have access to high quality careers guidance & be empowered to take control of their own career choices.

Fun facts about me are that I have completed 2 marathons, climbed Mont Blanc & appeared on The Weakest Link.

Emma McGuinness

Careers Adviser

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Emma McGuinness

Emma qualified in Careers Guidance with a Level 7 Post-Graduate Diploma from the University of West of England in 2011. She joined ISCO in 2012 and combined this with her role as a Careers Consultant at Bath Spa University. Both roles involved skilled one-to-one careers guidance. At Bath Spa University she was the lead consultant for Equality and ran the Career Head Start programme for first year students. During her time with ISCO Emma worked in a wide range of independent schools and alongside one-to-one guidance she also delivered workshops on higher education choices and provided mock Oxbridge interviews.

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

 

Rosie Andrew

Career Advisor

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Rosie Andrew

Hi, I’m Rosie Andrew, and I’ve been working with FutureSmart Careers for almost two years. I have been a careers advisor for approximately 40 years and before that I was studying for my degree in Social Policy and Diploma in Careers Guidance. My special interest within the field is meeting Gatsby benchmarks and using diagnostic tools. My philosophy on careers guidance is that it’s all about opening doors, accessing information, and helping people to navigate choices. It’s been a great 40 years so far in the careers sector, accessing information, motivating students, and opening doors for their futures.

Sue White

Career Advisor

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Sue White

My name is Sue White, and I have been with FutureSmart Careers for 1 year.  

I am a qualified careers adviser and have worked in the education sector for 28 years.  Before that I worked in graduate recruitment at IBM and student services within several universities.    

I am also a qualified lecturer, with a Postgraduate Certificate in Leadership and Management.  More recently, I became a qualified Mindfulness teacher and use some of the tools and techniques in my teaching.  I enjoy using acceptance, commitment therapy, psychometric assessments and design-thinking within my careers practice with clients.  I have travelled extensively, going to school in South Africa and Japan.  I am also an amateur artist and play tennis to keep fit.  

Liz Manning

Career Advisor

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Liz Manning

Hi, I’m Liz Manning, and I’ve been with FutureSmart Careers for under a year. I’ve been a careers adviser for nearly 25 years now, most recently working as Head of Careers at a university, and as a career’s adviser at a secondary school. I have achieved a Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance and a BA (Hons) in Information and Library Studies. I am passionate about helping motivate young people to pursue careers and courses that match their skills and desires, understanding that this is sometimes a difficult task for a young person who may feel anxious about their next steps.

Julie Tiley

Career Advisor

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Julie Tiley

Hello, I’m Julie Tiley, I’ve been working for FutureSmart Careers for just under a year. I worked many years as a Careers Adviser for Connexions. During this time, I completed an NVQ level 4 in Information, Advice and Guidance, including a Post Graduate Qualification in Careers Guidance (known as the QCG). The focus of work was concentrated on working with young people in schools, colleges, and universities. I then went on to deliver careers guidance to adults and vulnerable, hardest to reach adults. I have now recently returned to the rewarding work of providing careers guidance to young people.

Caroline Robinson

Career Advisor

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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 have been a careers adviser for 8 years and have 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!

Heather Samuel

Career Advisor

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Heather Samuel

Hi, I’m Heather Samuel and I’ve been working with FutureSmart Careers for under a year. 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.