Jon Ferns - Employability Lead for the School of Maths
Jon Ferns is the School Employability Lead and is working with the Careers Service to provide the support students need in preparing for their future once they graduate. We caught up with him with a few questions…..
You arrived at the school 4 years ago – what were you doing before you came here?
I actually studied at the University rather a long time ago now so it is good to be back! After Graduation I trained to be an Actuary first in insurance with the Co –op at their Head Office in Manchester and then at Mercer, one of the leading HR consultancy firms, which is where I qualified. I then had a career as a consulting actuary advising a wide range of company pension schemes. The focus was primarily what are called “ final salary” pension schemes, a subject that is regularly in the news – the failures of BHS and Carillion spring to mind, along with the saga surrounding the UK Steel Industry and the British Steel Pension Scheme.
How do you fill your time here at the University?
I actually have three roles to keep me busy. I lecture in actuarial science, act as a trustee to one of the University’s pension schemes and became the Employability Lead last year.
What do you hope to bring to your role as Employability Lead?
I am passionate about trying to support students into their post graduate life. Whilst the experts across all careers remain the Careers Service team, I do have a clear view, from my experience in industry of what employers look for, particularly in the wider skills beyond the mathematical skills students are developing while here. I’m also here on the ground within the Alan Turing Building speaking to students and seeking to be an effective bridge across to the Careers Service. There is a lot of expertise and resource within the Careers Service and I would like to bring that to students more effectively. We are developing a clear programme of events, starting with events during this Semester and rolling through into the next academic year. We want to communicate effectively to students so events don’t slip by and will do this via email, Twitter and Facebook. We are also developing a folder in students year modules called “Getting Ready for Your Career” where there are calendars of events , clear links to specific areas of the Careers Website and other useful material to hand.
Can Students Contact you?
Yes I’m happy to speak with students and particularly would welcome feedback so that we can make what we do better. I am based in Room 2.124 in the Alan Turing Building and my office hours are: Mondays 2-3 pm, Wednesdays 11-12 noon and Thursdays 11-12 noon.