University graduates now have an unprecedented opportunity to jump start their careers, thanks to Australia’s newest and most innovative web-based career readiness advice and training business.
Embark Career Readiness Centre was founded by Cheryl Hayman (pictured), one of Australia’s best known and respected marketers. Cheryl has over 20 years experience as a senior marketer in multinational organisations including George Weston Foods, Yum! Restaurants and Unilever, spanning Australia, NZ and the United Kingdom.
Cheryl also owns and manages a strategic marketing and business consultancy, Hayman Strategy, providing a broad range of business and marketing solutions to a variety of corporations.
Cheryl Hayman told Australian Women Online she was inspired to create Embark after receiving dozens of emails from university students and parents asking for advice on how to start a career in marketing.
“I saw Embark as an opportunity to help give back further to the industry and to help young people to be a little more ready as they head into their careers,” Cheryl said.
“They are trained really well through the colleges and universities in their field and they come out with their pieces of paper and their degrees and so on, but not knowing how to get a job.”
Embark is specifically aimed to help recent graduates bridge the gap between completing their degree and going to a recruiter and choosing their first job. It is designed around not only getting that job – but finding the right job in consideration of the career journey and what will work best for them.
“I have a lot of advertising and marketing colleagues who talk to me about the lack of understanding of what is expected of them (graduates) when they enter the industry. They join the industry because they get the job but they actually don’t have enough passion for the business or for the job because they haven’t fully understood what the industry’s about,” she said.
“Equally there are some graduates who are saying it’s a really competitive job market and I want to go somewhere I can actually build a career. So I would like somebody to help me think through that process before I just jump into the first job.”
To better prepare graduates for their first job, Embark runs and hosts comprehensive webinars that are tailored to various industries and allows graduates to learn from professionals, make contacts and connections, and develop practical employability skills. The first webinar series will commence on June 23rd 2008 and will focus on the marketing and communications industry and students.
“I’m writing most of the training myself and because I’m well connected in the advertising, marketing and related industries, I feel most competent writing to that. But two thirds of the training would probably be relevant to everybody and then there would be a specific module where I might get a guest speaker to talk about a different industry,” she said.
In addition to the 3 part webinar series, Embark offers tailor-made assistance with one-on-one sessions, including CV review, interview practice and direct feedback. To participate, Embark students simply need a computer and a telephone line.
Cheryl says she is anticipating a lot of interest from those who attended universities outside Sydney and Melbourne, especially regional centres where students may feel they are at a disadvantage when entering the job market.
When she isn’t preparing new graduates for their first job, or running her own strategic marketing and business consultancy, Cheryl Hayman is inspiring the female entrepreneurial spirit.
Cheryl has undertaken a number of non-executive Board roles including the Australian Businesswomen’s Network, International Grammar School and the Peer Support Foundation. She also sits on several industry bodies in an advisory capacity including Sumo Salad. She is the current President of the Marketing Women’s Association (MWA), a not-for-profit association that provides a forum for professional women working in the marketing industry to network more effectively.
Cheryl says “There’s a great expectation that women work in a different way to men. Something that would be seen as ‘assertive’ from a man, is often viewed as ‘aggressive’ from a woman. So women are hesitant to ask for things.”
“Women are also juggling more demands. We are great at multi-tasking and try to organise everything and everybody and we take a lot on. In a workplace environment we are challenging ourselves all the time to take more and more on and we set very high hurdles for ourselves. So women are their worst enemies in this regard,” she said.
“But women are also recognising how far they can go in business and how much they can actually achieve if they set their minds to it. We have learned that we can achieve a lot.”
I would like to thank Cheryl Hayman for speaking with Australian Women Online.