Audrey McCulloch wins AGCAS Significant Influence Award 2016

01 October 2016

The second recipient of the 2016 AGCAS Significant Influence Award is Audrey McCulloch. Audrey has been part of the fabric of higher education careers and employability work and, more specifically, AGCAS Scotland for over twenty years.

Natural collaborator

Audrey has been the driving force behind a number of regional and national initiatives, from offering advice to new AGCAS member services about service development and standards, to supporting partnership activities between institutions. In 2001, she visited Finland as part of an AGCAS delegation to identify good practice in online careers guidance, undertaking pioneering work in an area we now take for granted. In addition to regular contributions to AGCAS task groups and training, as Convenor of AGCAS Scotland from 2000 to 2004 Audrey did a huge amount to raise the profile of AGCAS Scotland, forging powerful relationships with the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Careers Scotland. 

Direct intervention

Two stand-out activities are particularly notable during Audrey's exceptional career:

Firstly, Audrey was instrumental in developing the stewardship of Shared Vacancies Scotland, which remains a unique and valued approach and product in the sector. It resulted in a significant rise in the number of vacancies made available and has been a huge benefit to employers, institutions, students and graduates. It is now recognised by Scottish Enterprise as a selling point when talking with potential inward investors.
Secondly, when a successful scheme that helped graduates find jobs in SMEs was discontinued, Audrey created the opportunity to challenge the decision directly with Alex Salmond, the then First Minister, at a networking event. There is little doubt that, as a result of that encounter a 'new' scheme was developed. ScotGrad is entering its third round of funding, with AGCAS a key partner in its delivery and success. Without Audrey's direct intervention higher education careers services would have lost ground, with our collective voice weakened.

Credible voice

Audrey served at a time when it was increasingly important to communicate effectively with decision makers and influence policy: with rising interest in government circles in employability, AGCAS Scotland leaders required a significantly higher profile.  She was amongst those who rose to that challenge without a blueprint: her skill, foresight, determination and dedication resulted in AGCAS Scotland securing a more credible voice.
Furthermore, Audrey has afforded staff across AGCAS her time and experience over many years to help their own professional development, deploying her clear and strategic thinking, always looking at the bigger picture and seeking solutions to add value to individuals, stakeholders, services and the wider sector. Added to all of that, she was a brilliant hands-on careers adviser.
Audrey left Glasgow Caledonian University in May this year. There's no doubt that she will be a big loss to her own institution, other institutions, both in Scotland and the whole of the UK, and the wider AGCAS network.