Carol Castle and Cathy Sinclair, Co-Directors of Student Recruitment and Admissions at Sheffield Hallam University

(Cathy on the left and Carol on the right!)

  1. Who are you and what do you do?

We’re Carol and Cathy and we job share the role of Co-Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions at Sheffield Hallam University.   We are responsible for future student marketing, student recruitment and widening access across UK and International markets.  We’ve job shared since 2017 and applied for this role as a jobshare in 2019.  We are strong champions of flexible working – in particular the power of jobsharing to enable individuals to thrive and progress within full time organisations, and how this contributes positively to talent retention and diversity. Jobsharing also enables us to engage in other interests, for example Carol is a Trustee and a Multi-Academy Trust and Cathy a Trustee at Sheffield University Students Union, and to be around and more present for our children.

  1. What is it that you love most about your work?

Universities are great places to work – the mission to transform lives and the passionate shared understanding of the transformative impact of education makes Sheffield Hallam a great place to be.  There are always challenges, and the role is large and complex, but the privilege of working towards something you believe in and knowing you make a difference is hugely rewarding.  We work with an outstanding, talented and innovative team, and enjoy collaborating with colleagues across the University and wider sector.

  1. What strengths or personal attributes do you think have really helped you to succeed?

The power of jobsharing should not be under-estimated!  We have found that combining and playing to our individual skills, experiences and strengths has meant we are able to achieve much more than either of us could alone.  We share the same values and fundamental approach and commitment to our role, and have built a strong trust to enable us each to play to our strengths whilst challenging each other to push out of our comfort zones and develop areas we’re less confident in.  We share a positive optimistic outlook, and a strong sense of ‘purpose’.

  1. How have you managed set backs / challenges along the way?

Our role is challenging, high pressure at times with multiple demands, and this is a challenging time for the higher education sector.  Having a peer who completely understands and shares these challenges is incredibly empowering.  We use any cross over time in the week to problem solve, build on ideas or work through complex challenges.  We also make use of a wide network of support and ask others for advice, support or learn from others.

  1. What is your formula / top tips for a successful work / life balance?

Jobsharing has probably meant we have spent more time clearly defining what our own individual ‘optimum’ work/life balance looks like, recognising this is different for everyone, and that it does change! When we first started jobsharing it was definitely driven by the optimum balance being working three days a week to enable each of us to have time at home with our children.  Now they are all at school and getting (slightly!) more independent job sharing isn’t driven by this, but instead by the power of what we achieve together.  We currently each work four days a week and alongside our core role lead a number of strategic projects.  This is the right balance for now and enables each of us to also get involved in other areas we’re passionate about including volunteer roles.  For us, it’s been important to have a clear understanding of what matters to us (whether that’s having a run, or being in a sports team or being around to care for relatives) and make sure we design our jobsharing in a way that empowers and enables those needs as much as possible.