Meet our new careers adviser


Michelle Minnikin knows only too well about the kind of turbulence many face in the workplace today  – the restructures, job changes and life changes.

As a Chartered Psychologist, she has not only been a recruitment manager dealing with restructures and redeployment, but has set up her own company, been a single parent and helped people who have been long term unemployed back to work, all of which makes her ideally suited to be new careers adviser.

Michelle was working as a recruitment manager at a small firm until the summer when budgetary constraints meant she was no longer able to deliver the initiatives she had hoped to.

Living in Newcastle she knew it would be difficult to get a recruitment manager job at a large company, which is where her previous experience lay. Before her last job she had worked for Balfour Beatty, spending approximately two days a week in London and working remotely the rest of the time.

So she set up her own company. Under its umbrella she does career coaching and personal branding [for CV and Interview Advisers], supporting organisations with their recruitment needs, as well as working part time on a fixed term contract as an occupational psychologist specialising in selection and assessment for the NHS. “I have created my own job,” she says, “and I feel less stressed.”


Michelle has over 10 years’ experience in recruitment and has worked for companies including T Mobile, Entec which was taken over by AMEC and Balfour Beatty. She switched to part time when her son, now aged six and a half, was born and she was at AMEC. She worked part time at Balfour Beatty until her son started school and was promoted several times. Her two days in the office in London meant she had to stay overnight in London once a week. Her husband who has a nine-year-old son from his first marriage, works for the Ministry of Justice and works flexible hours so was able to do the school run.

Michelle changed jobs in February this year after a supportive boss left and she got a new role at a small organisation in Newcastle, but it was not as flexible, and due to working 45 hours a week, she was missing key school events.

She has dedicated the next year to networking and growing her contacts so she can do full-time consultancy next year when her NHS contract finishes.

Michelle’s experience includes supporting people who face redundancy and helping to redeploy them – it was one woman she worked with at Balfour Beatty who recommended her for the CVIA role. She also worked on the Welfare to Work scheme (Working in Neighbourhoods) brought in by Labour, working with single parents and Job Seekers Allowance & Disability Living Allowance claimants in Middlesbrough to remove barriers to work, writing their cvs and doing training courses with people who had been out of work for several years. “In some cases it was a generational issue. Some people did not know anyone who had worked. It was about challenging that mindset and trying to change people’s lives,” she says. “It was amazing when we did manage to change people’s lives.”

Michelle herself was a single parent – her first marriage broke down when she was pregnant – and she was working at AMEC. She says what kept her going was her son’s amazing nursery and a great network of friends.

She is keen to help other working mums and says she likes to help people. “I’m a massive people pleaser,” she says. “I want people to be happy and to help them find the right job for them.”

*If you have a careers question for Michelle – perhaps you are looking to change careers, get back to work after a break or looking to change jobs – you can send them via the box on our Advice and Support page.

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