Lesley Craig 

About me

I work for a Scottish local authority as an Educational Psychologist.

Left school

June 1990

Senior Phase

I achieved Higher (SCQF level 6) Biology, History, Art, English and Music and CSYS (SCQF level 7) English.

Choosing my Destination

Some of my teachers at Stirling High were particularly supportive. Mr Selkirk (History), Mrs Gilogilly (English), Mr Melville (Music), Mr Carberry (Art), Mr Thompson (DHT, who directed the school shows) and Miss Salmond (Classics) all provided advice encouragement and inspiration. I was part of a theatre group outside of school and was offered a traineeship by the director on leaving school. In the theatre company there were lots of experienced performers, directors and technicians who were able to offer lots of advice. I changed route and studied music at university where again we had access to lots of experienced teachers and performers who were very supportive. I discovered while studying music that I am dyslexic and that changed my route again as I became fascinated about how the brain works. 

I completed my undergraduate BSc in Psychology with the Open University, which is an incredible organisation. In addition to all the lecturers, we were offered careers advice sessions and that supported me to identify the steps I needed to train for my current career as an Educational Psychologist.

I advise you to work hard, be curious and ask lots of people about their lives - there is always advice and inspiration if you look for it.

Extra Curricular & Work Experience

I was part of two theatre groups outside of school and was offered a traineeship on leaving school. I have always performed though as I was a very committed dancer before that. I sang in choirs for many years and was in lots of school productions too. I have been a singing teacher (following my time studying music) a tour guide, a cleaner, a child minder, I worked in youth theatre and community youth education (some of these roles were self employed). I supported the local Cubs and Scouts too. I was a Learning Support Assistant for two years in a primary school (I needed all this experience of working with young people to apply for my Masters Degree). I have continued to study and have taken up art again through evening classes and I am looking to join a creative writing group now. 

Communication, presentation and people skills were probably the key skills they helped me develop (in addition to the more specialist skills in music, drama etc).

Skills I've developed

Obviously my qualifications and employment had given me specific specialist skills. However, there are more general skills that all these experiences bring. 

People skills are key. Listening, understanding the other person's point of view, being able to mediate in relationships are all important at work (and in your home life). 

Remain curious about the world. Keep learning (it's good for your brain, and your mental health as well as your career). Understanding how different skill sets can be relevant to, and enhance, your current role helps. Being able to really think about a problem and see all the options and analyse next steps (good planning) is key too. But if I had to advise just one skill I'd say be a nice person, try to get along with others. Everyone has something you don't know about going on, so try to be kind where you can. It makes the working day a happier place to be.

My Advice

Don't be afraid to try different jobs, take the 'do for now' job and to volunteer if it helps you get the experience and connections you need for the place you want to go. There is no wrong path. Life is a long journey and you can change routes as you go. Don't panic if you're not sure right now what you want to do, or if it feels too far out of your reach. Everything you do builds skills and opens up your eyes to opportunities you probably never even knew existed.

I always used to say to my boys; as long as they were happy, not hurting anyone and able to pay their bills they were successful in my eyes. When I was in S2 making my choices for courses I felt huge pressure "to know" what I wanted for the rest of my life!! As you can see from my journey, it has been varied and I changed my mind a few times. That's ok. So try to relax and know you can still not know where you'll end up, as all the small steps you take on the way do count.