Sharon Walpole on life skills and soft skills

My guest for episode 18 of Media Will Eat Itself is Sharon Walpole of Careermap, a service that helps young people get their career kickstarted. We cover her background in publishing and how it’s helped her now that she’s a business development specialist.

Of course, the bulk of our discussion is about young people, and navigating cyberbullying, confidence, recognising your self-worth, leveraging your soft skills, and mental health in general. It’s a fascinating conversation and I really hope you enjoy it.

Find out more about Sharon Walpole on her LinkedIn page and check out the Careermap website, too.

This podcast is also available on Patreon |  iTunes | Podbean | PlayerFM | ListenNotes


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00:44 The conversation kicks off right here. What exactly is Careermap? Sharon Walpole describes how it works as a resource for young people, including courses, videos, career guidance, and so on.

03:20 Sharon has a publishing background, and is digital savvy, so her role takes in lots of tasks on a regular basis. She is essentially editor-in-chief of Careermap and its various channels. And who is it that helps Sharon do her job? Of course, she has a team of talent to draw on, and some large, familiar organisations willing to help young people take their first (and sometimes second) steps into working life.

06:35 Video is such a big deal these days, and CareermapTV aggregates a whole host of useful content for its visitors. It’s also set to produce its own content. Labour-intensive as it is, what does Sharon think is the best approach to not become bogged down with content production on a massive scale.

10:41 Sharon Walpole’s background in publishing stretches back to her dad, who was a typesetter. She has brought a varied knowledge to her current role, which demands more in terms of being multi-skilled.

13:03 The website is going through change. What are the demands of taking a messy website and turning it into something functional and good-looking? Sharon shares some of the plans about the new site, and the work that’s going into it.

“It’s exciting! It’s great to be at the front end [of the site redesign], and have ideas and discussions, and a week later it’s there!”

15:17 What does it mean to be switched on? Perhaps it doesn’t matter so much if the older generation aren’t as clued up on what the latest technology is. We have so much to offer digital natives in terms of helping them make use of the technology they’ve become so used to, and to draw on who they are as people.

“Our role to play in all this is organising young people’s brains, and to give them context and structure. I worry that there’s so much teaching to pass an exam, and too much helicopter parenting going on, that young people aren’t forced to make decisions, or think laterally, or think creatively.”

18:26 Sharon Walpole went from publishing to marketing and business development. Was it a natural transition for her?

21:10 How do confident people like Sharon pass on their knowledge to introverted young people? It’s about realising what your skills are, and it’s in the obvious details!

25:14 Mental health is a big issue. How is social media culpable, and how do we help young people navigate the downsides as important mentors?

28:09 Soft skills and leadership – Sharon Walpole highlights the importance of face-to-face skills; of being able to communicate effectively, whether you’re a confident person or not.


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