The face of Careers at Calrossy
Most families who have had students in Senior Secondary at Calrossy will know his face, as does most of Tamworth, after previously being a Tamworth Regional Councillor and hoping to represent the community again following the 2024 Tamworth Local Government election. He is often affectionately referred to behind the scenes of Calrossy, as the Energizer Bunny, with his seemingly limitless energy.
Charles Impey has been the Careers Adviser at Calrossy for eight years. His move to Calrossy came after working in the Career Education Sector for 15 years prior to the move to the school.
“This opportunity provided me with a chance to focus my energy and resources on a more direct and targeted cohort of young people in a school rather than across an entire State, where one didn’t really see where the benefits of one’s work helped those who may need it,” he says.
After growing up in Sydney, Mr Impey moved to Tamworth 31 years ago and has worked across the fitness, security, retail and then education and training industries. It was his later work with Career Consultancy and Advisory Program development and facilitation that led him to Calrossy.
“It was the chance to be in an environment where the work I can do can be appreciated and of benefit to a cohort of people, in our case, the students of Calrossy Anglican School and in many cases their parents too.”
“The students are so information thirsty… and so are the parents. Both keep me grounded and very busy.”
As part of the Calrossy Careers Program Mr Impey has become a one-stop shop guiding often stressed Senior students, and their families, as they embark on their individual career and tertiary education paths.
“Students often ask me, ‘which is the best university for them, or for their course interest?”, to which I respond, it depends on your approach as a student at that university. Sure some universities have reputations and seemingly have some stronger areas, for example, the UNSW is known for its engineering, the UNE is known for its agricultural courses, but the graduate students being picked up by business and industry are those who have their qualification, but also have some experiences and have forged some networks. We talk about participating in internships, placements, and overseas exchange opportunities as well as becoming student members of the peak association aligned to their career goals"
"We also have a growing number of trade interested students and their interests are starting early. I have fielded calls and emails from parents and students as early as year 7 who are thinking ahead towards their career ambition, trades and university interests."
"Responding to the diverse interests of our students with personalised advice is the key to looking after our students. There is no curriculum for careers, this is because careers can be so broad, it is actually every single thing and it is global. With this in mind, we seek the help of the village to raise the career interests of the child. We host an annual dinner, where around 50 + guests from various walks of life sit down with students who have common interests from years 9 to 12 and discuss a whole variety of career topics over a dinner. We visit TAFE, we visit 15 different universities as part of tours in partnership with other high schools across our region. In addition and through my roles on committees and groups external of our school, we provide access to our students to a host of academies, colleges and other training institutions to help our students become informed and aware. We deliver a flexible work experience program that allows our students to experience a real workplace during school time and during holiday time, thus to minimise their time away from important school classes. We provide individual career planning support to students, which is summarised with the creation of a Career Planning and Considerations document to help provide the career road maps for our students. We host so many guest speakers and guests who use online face to face technology to cleverly connect with our students. For International Women’s Day this year, we hosted a live conversation with a Federal Prosecutor with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions who also appears regularly on the channel 7 Program The Chase as one of the professional quizzer, she joined us live from New York where she is completing her Masters in Law at Columbia University in NY focusing on transnational and comparative criminal law. People like this super talented and intelligent lady, inspires our students to dream larger whilst thinking beyond the normal in their career spaces. You can’t make a decision if you don’t know, but you can make a decision if you do know," the Careers Adviser explains.
Mr Impey also spends time in the classroom where he runs Careers and Connection classes for Year 10 students, introducing the community to our students and our students to the community. In terms 1 and 2, we are spending time with the senior residents of our community at Bupa Aged Care. This experience helps to ground our students and to realise there are people in our community who have lived a long and effervescent life and love nothing more than sharing their memories with younger members of the community, such as our students. We even joined the residents in an exercise session at our most recent visit. With future partnerships and visits to Ronald McDonald House, businesses aligned to the students career interests and other community centred events planned into terms 3 and 4, the program helps our students create an well informed awareness of the broader community.
He describes himself as energetic, passionate and enthusiastic and anyone on the ground at Calrossy would definitely agree with this description. He says his focus is on the individuals and unlimited potential of careers.
“I like to allow a career conversation to run wild because careers is every single thing and from local to global, a career can take you anywhere, which is so important for our students to know. Careers is about the students, it is individual and there should never be duplication. The creativity and the cleverness of careers should shine and be encouraged so that students can be limitless in their thinking over time,” believes Mr Impey.
As a Careers Adviser and like many teachers he describes his greatest challenge as time but it is far outweighed by the rewards.
“There is never enough time to do everything, but the reward is having the chance to witness the pathways our Alumni take once they leave, knowing the small but important role we play in their pathways.”
After years working on all sides of the careers industry, Mr Impey’s advice to students is simple.
“Be your own self, find what inspires you, what aspirations you have and craft this into a career based on great awareness and you will have the best chance to love what you do so that you’ll never work a day in your life.”
His own inspiration comes from a former workmate who overcame great adversity.
“An old colleague of mine named Sam Cawthorn, his courage after surviving a motor car accident with a B-double that nearly killed him, he lost his right arm and his right leg but he has bounced into life with a thirst to be a positive influence in the lives of others.”
Sam’s story continues to motivate him.
“Be honest, fair and human with the students and they’ll respond to you positively.”
In his down time Mr Impey likes gardening and sports but not surprisingly he doesn’t have much spare time. Besides Calrossy he has a long list of commitments including membership of the Tamworth and District Career Advisers Network, NSW Careers Advisers Association, Tamworth Business Chamber, the Northwest Regional Careers Expo Committee, UNE Education Think Tank and the New England Jobs and Skills Taskforce.
A few things you might not know about the very busy Mr Impey is he was responsible for taking the region’s career expo from the old basketball stadium to the TREC where it is now the largest expo of its kind in regional Australia. He was one of the tireless community volunteers that spearheaded the redevelopment of Tamworth’s Marsupial Park as the Vice President of the Tamworth Marsupial Park for many of the 11 years he was involved until the Friends of Marsupial Park dispended a few years ago.
While the Calrossy Careers Adviser clearly loves helping others and working with students to find their dream jobs, his dream job remains allusive.
His dream career is a cricket commentator. He believes this has so many synergies with his present job, “Sharing knowledge, information, talking (a lot) and helping others understand what is going on” but that will have to wait and in the meantime “I just love what I do.”