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Written By

Bianca de Loryn


College of Arts, Society and Education

Publish Date

28 September 2022

Related Study Areas

Going in with confidence

JCU alumni Tate Harris and Natalie Moloney help school leavers find alternative pathways to university and reignite careers of stay-at-home mums.

Natalie Moloney: Passionate about helping women return to work

After working for more than 15 years in Human Resources, Natalie Moloney studied the Graduate Certificate of Career Development at JCU. She opened At the Helm Career Services in Burleigh Heads in early 2021.

“I was having a conversation with a mother at my daughter's school a few years ago,” Natalie says. “She’d taken about seven years off work to be a stay-at-home mum, and she was terrified about the process of returning to work. She had lost confidence and was worried about her skills, and she knew there were going to be challenges.” Natalie knew exactly how she felt, because she has three children herself, and she also took time off from work to look after the kids.

Changing sides — from HR to career advisor

“I realised that I could really help, that I had the knowledge and skills to put together a really good program,” she says. That was the moment when Natalie decided to go back to university. She enrolled for a Graduate Certificate of Career Development, which JCU delivered completely online. “The degree has really set me up to be able to effectively help people in delivering career services.”

Having worked in human resources for many years, Natalie is in a unique position to her coach clients. She trains her customers to be aware of what HR managers and employers are really looking for. “Going through a recruitment process is such a daunting process for most people,” Natalie says. “It pushes you out of your comfort zone. And I feel like we as humans don't really like that very much.”

Natalie Moloney Coach
Women in business
Photograph supplied by: Natalie Moloney (left), Shutterstock (right)

Coaching women to get back into the workplace

Apart from personal consultations, Natalie also offers monthly workshops to coach women who have been away from the workplace for a number of years. “I want to help women understand themselves better, because that's a really important first step,” Natalie says. “Your motivations, interests, and your values play a massive part in this process.”

Natalie’s hands-on courses are designed to boost women’s employability. She helps them women their resumes, cover letters and their replies to key selection criteria. “We also talk about how to effectively prepare for a job interview and what to do to on the day of the job interview,” Natalie says.

Helping women to set themselves up for success

Every woman is different, and Natalie understands that. “I address the types of challenges and obstacles they may face, and then we look at strategies to overcome those,” Natalie says. “It’s going to be different for everybody."

"Everyone's got their own story. But it's about addressing those barriers. It's about helping them do the best they can to set themselves up for success when returning to work.”

Natalie Moloney

Women have to overcome many obstacles when it comes to going back into the job market. That can be problematic, especially when they realise that they are competing against men who may never have taken a career break to care for their families.

Learning to go in with confidence

“I don't think it should come down to worrying about gender. If you are applying for a role with a good employer, they see the benefits of an applicant based on their competency and their credibility. They will hopefully have measures in place to support women returners,” Natalie says. “But you’ve got to go in with confidence. Preparation is key for interviews, and you have got to put that work in and prepare.”

Tate Harris Career Coach
University students
Photograph supplied by: Tate Harris (left), Shutterstock (right)

Tate Harris: Helping young people find pathways to university

Tate Harris is a work-from-home dad based in Sydney. He takes care of his daughter for half the week, and works from home the other half of the week. Tate has recently started a career advice business, Next Steps Careers Counselling. He started the business after completing the Graduate Certificate of Career Development at JCU.

“I have been a youth worker for more than 10 years, and I worked with Canteen, a youth cancer support organisation,” Tate says.  “I hadn’t originally planned or thought of starting a business. However, throughout the process of the course I discovered I might have something to offer.”

Finding alternative ways to get into uni

Tate’s business focuses on helping school leavers make informed career choices, especially in regard to studying at university. “A lot of my clients have missed significant amounts of their HSC (Higher School Certificate) due to being at hospital for cancer treatment,” Tate says. “My expertise and focus are towards young people looking for alternative pathways to university. Particularly, if they haven’t reached the ATAR (university entry score) that they had hoped.”

This is not always easy, but Tate knows that these young people are survivors in the literal sense. “They tend to have built up a pretty strong resilience in life, which I believe is a benefit when navigating their careers,” he says. “I think careers always have ups and downs, with successful experiences and times of setbacks and learning. Resilience to push through these times with a relatively positive attitude is helpful.”

Coaching people of all ages how to get into uni

Even though Tate mostly assists young people to start a career, Tate says he is in a unique position to help people of all ages. He focuses on people who are interested in enrolling in a university in New South Wales. “I am finding that my expertise of alternative options for entry to universities can be applied to people from all ages and stages of life,” he says.

Tate currently offers online video consultations only. “As I’m online, I can theoretically work with anyone from within Australia. However, my expertise mainly applies to options with New South Wales and especially the Sydney region,” Tate says.

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