Could the Cold War be over between Graduate Fog and the university careers advisers?

Anne-Marie Martin, AGCAS President and grande fromage of the careers services scene, has agreed to an interview with Graduate Fog.

Tragic but true, I’m genuinely excited about this. Why? Because when I approached Anne-Marie about doing this, I fully expected her to tell me to sod off.

And I wouldn’t have blamed her. Regular readers of Graduate Fog will know that I’m not always very polite about the university careers advisers, who I feel have an enormous responsibility to help graduates find jobs.

I’ve slung a lot of mud in their direction since this website launched, but these were our two most (ahem) lively clashes:

– Is UK graduate careers advice a national joke? ‘People get more help choosing a TV than their career’, says expert (41 comments!)

– Can you trust your uni careers adviser? Are cash-strapped unis pressuring careers advisers to flog dodgy postgrad courses?

And it gets worse. I’ve written all this (and more) about Anne-Marie’s profession after she did me a massive favour.

As well as being President of AGCAS, Anne-Marie is the Director of The Careers Group, University of London. When I was writing Dude, Where’s my Career? The Guide for Baffled Graduates she kindly gave me full access to her crack team of staff (hello David, Susie and Laura), who were very knowledgeable and lots of fun to work with. And she did all this for free.

So you see, when I approached Anne-Marie about being interviewed on Graduate Fog, I was fully expecting a response along the lines of ‘Boy, you’ve got a nerve, Tanya. NO.”

But she said Yes.

I am hugely encouraged by this – and think this move shows real leadership.

I hope it is a sign that the university careers community is ready to talk honestly and openly about what is and isn’t working for you lot, the graduates they are responsible for helping. As hundreds of thousands of graduates continue to emerge from university in record debt and facing a seriously tough job market, we need to work together to improve the support you are given to help you through this tricky time.

I am not expecting us to agree on everything but I do believe that creating a frank and open dialogue between Graduate Fog and AGCAS has exciting potential.

As we’ve seen in recent months, Graduate Fog isn’t about everybody agreeing. It’s about honest discussion that needs to be had. And yes, sometimes that means having a massive fight. If that’s what it takes in order for anything to change, I’m very happy to host these scraps here. In fact, I’d be proud to.

I’ve already started preparing a list of questions for Anne-Marie.

Among other things, I’m keen to ask her how she thinks uni careers advice can be improved – and to explain the exact nature of AGCAS’s financial links with Prospects, which I still don’t understand.

But because I’m doing this on behalf of you lot, Graduate Fog’s users, I thought I’d throw it open to you to suggest questions too…

*What would you like to ask Anne-Marie Martin, President of AGCAS?
Comment below or email me through the contact form if you’d prefer. Your name will be kept confidential if you’d like. (I’m hoping this will encourage frustrated careers advisers to contribute questions too? I know you’re out there!)

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