Karren Brady gives career advice – from being paid for extra work to public speaking

APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham United FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.

Today, she helps out a teaching assistant who wishes to be paid more for extra work and gives tips on how to be a confident public speaker.

Baroness Karren Brady gives career advice


Baroness Karren Brady gives career advice

Q. I’ve been a teaching assistant in a primary school for 10 years.

For the past six, I’ve had my own small teaching group and I’ve had to do planning, and lead parents’ evenings and assessments – none of which are in my job description or reflected in my salary.

I enjoy the extra responsibility, but also think I should be paid for this. I know I need to speak to the headteacher about it, but I don’t know what my rights are if she says no.

Can you help?

A. You should absolutely speak to your headteacher! Detail all the additional work you do and the great results this has led to and make a clear case for the pay rise you’re requesting.

While many employees do end up taking on more tasks than their job description states, once they become both regular and time-consuming, your salary should reflect the changes in your role.

Prepare as much as possible for the conversation with your headteacher and keep it positive – explain that you enjoy doing these tasks, but would like fair compensation. If they say no, then you have a few options.

You can continue as you are, but request a more senior job title and a salary review before the start of the next school year so the headteacher can factor it into next year’s budget.

If you don’t want to continue with the workload without an immediate pay rise, you could ask that you reduce the additional tasks and share them fairly across staff members.

Or, if you are ready to take a big step, it could be worth looking for a promotion externally to a role that includes these responsibilities and pays a salary worthy of your experience.

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Q. My job involves lots of presenting to small and large groups of people. I was never a very confident public speaker, so when we switched to Zoom during the pandemic, it really helped 

and I now feel happy doing presentations over video. However, my boss has recently asked me to do a talk IRL to more than a hundred people and all my old insecurities have returned. 

Do you have any tips?

Eloise, via email

A. There’s an old saying that the only thing people fear more than death is speaking in public! But you have already faced your fear of presenting during the pandemic – and have proved you can do it.

Your boss obviously thinks you are great at it, otherwise they would not have asked you to present in person to a large audience. You need to make sure you start with a positive mindset and tell yourself: “I can do this, I am good at it!”

You also need to be confident in what you are presenting. If you know the content, your knowledge will shine through and automatically portray confidence. Finally, practise.

If you will be standing when you present, then stand when you rehearse. Practising in front of a mirror is one of the oldest and best tips for public speaking.

Connect with the person looking back at you, and you will get a feeling for what your audience experiences.

If you’re still struggling, there’s no shame in telling your manager that your confidence has taken a knock, and asking them whether  you could do a course to refresh your skills.

Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email

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Compiled by: Claire Frost

  • Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.


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