In the recruitment industry, there are so many opportunities for our consultants to progress and forge a long and successful career. With the right drive and the passion to learn, you can unlock your potential and help support candidates find their perfect roles. We sat down to chat with Natalie, Divisional Manager of the CER Newcastle branch, who has been with CER for 11 years and has never looked back!
She said: “This is my first job in recruitment. A friend recommended it to me after she was promoted and needed someone to take over her desk. I had recently returned from travelling and didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, I thought I’d give it a go and went for the interview.”
Natalie soon made an impact in the sector and began to enjoy the role. With her previous experience in sales, she possessed a naturally chatty and confident persona, key qualities that are important in a consultant. It wasn’t long before she was moving up the ladder.
Starting out in recruitment
“I started as a consultant, working on one of the Secondary desks. There are about 4/5 levels of consultants here. I was a Team Leader for about 3 years and as the team expanded, they needed a Divisional Manager, and the position was offered to me in September 2020. This was the first time I’d been in a job that I could see as a career, I wasn’t fussed about career progression in previous roles.”
In Natalie’s role, she plays a huge part in the CCS contracts that CER Newcastle has successfully obtained, speaking with leaders of Multi-Academy Trusts and overseeing the recruitment process and the services we offer to hundreds of academies in the North East. During her time at CER, Natalie has seen many changes within the industry and how the demand for various teaching staff has escalated.
She explained: “We are growing so quickly. Over the last few years, we have brought in numbers I could never have imagined. When I started there were only two secondary desks, now there are six! We have three SEN and three primary desks.
“There have been so many changes within the sector. When I started here, most schools were run by local authorities, now there are hundreds of academies built within various Trusts. Plus we never had requests for TA and support roles like we do now. They didn’t exist back then.”
Changes in the industry
When asking Natalie whether she had ever thought about a different sector in recruitment, it was clear that Education has always been for her.
“I’ve always liked Education. We do such long days but we need to be here for our candidates. There is so much to do! I love my visits to the schools, interviewing candidates and meeting new people. We pride ourselves on quality and it’s a real buzz when you interview a candidate and know you have the perfect school for them.”
Natalie reflects on the changes in the industry over the last few years due to the pandemic and how many have turned to supply teaching as a way of getting back into work.
“There is a stigma around supply teachers and the route that they take into teaching. The industry has been so turbulent over the last few years and you need to make sure you are going to be at the right school. We want quality. We want someone that treats the role like it is their own classroom and we instil this in all of our candidates.
“You have to think outside of the box. Not every school is for every teacher.”
The perfect team
When discussing the team and their successes at the Newcastle branch, Natalie talks fondly about the relationships she has built up with her colleagues over the years, all sharing the same commitment and drive to supply their schools.
“Many of us have been here a long time and we have a great team. We have always been ahead of the curve here, especially with our CCS contracts. It has had a massive impact in such a positive way and we have now taken most of the footprint in the North East.
“We have a good mix of personalities, there are a lot of characters here and we bounce off each other. We spend 50 hours a week together so we need to get on! When we recruit for our team, we can show them what they need to know, experience doesn’t come into it. It’s about their personality, holding their own and building relationships with the teachers and schools. We have never been a branch to choose people who have been with other agencies, we always mould our own.”
Back in the day
Reflecting on her own time at school, Natalie was inspired by her English Teacher. It wasn’t until he left the school that her ambitions changed and she decided to take a different route.
“I loved my English Teacher, Mr Egan and I did well in his class. He was strict but had that passion that rubbed off on me. You need a teacher to bring that subject to life. He left when I was doing my GCSEs. When I started sixth form, my new teacher had no passion for the subject so I didn’t enjoy it anymore. Maybe if I had the same teacher throughout school, I would have gone on to do my A-Levels and attend University.”
Despite not taking the route she originally planned, Natalie has excelled in the recruitment sector and has certainly unlocked her potential at CER. We asked her what the next 11 years at CER will bring, she replied: “Hopefully I’m still in the same role. I love being there for the team and bringing the best out in them.”
If you’re interested in a career in education recruitment and would like to find out about the company visit our team page.