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Paula Benton

Assistant Professor

Department: Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department for Social Work, Education and Community Well-being, and have taught at Northumbria University for over 16 years.  My research interests are around career identity, employability, work related learning, graduate transitions and workforce development.  I teach primarily on BA Hons Guidance and Counselling where I continue to develop innovative ways to provide authentic learning experiences for students and foster a collaborative learning culture.  

My previous professional background is Career Guidance where, after working as Careers Adviser for a number of years, I specialised in Careers Education.  I went on to become a Senior Manager with responsibility for staff development for the Connexions service in Northumberland where I developed accredited guidance programmes for a range of professionals in education, work-based learning, youth and adult community settings. I developed several nationally acclaimed projects to develop guidance within secondary and post 16 education, wrote for national and international guidance publications and won two National Career Awards for innovation in the field of career guidance.

In my current role, I continue to work closely with partner organisations to support workforce development and to champion quality career guidance.  

Paula Benton

Throughout my 16 years at Northumbria University, my interest in facilitating student transition to, through and beyond university has led to a number of innovative projects to enhance teaching and learning in this area. Research interests stem from my previous professional background in career guidance and focus largely around career development and employability. I am particularly interested in how experiential learning develops self-efficacy and informs career and graduate identity.

Examples of research projects I have led include an exploration of students’ perceptions of employability at different stages of study; mixed methods research examining the graduate transitions of Psychology, Sports Science and Guidance & Counselling alumni alongiside research into early career experiences of Guidance & Counselling graduates. I am currently leading a piece of research to examine the motivations and experiences of people joining the career development workforce. 

I work in partnership with a number of Local Authorities, schools and colleges across the North East to advise on the latest research, policy and practice in career development and pastoral support.  I am also a founding member of a regional Career Guidance Professional Practice Network which promotes and develops best practice in career guidance and investment in the future career development workforce.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Career development learning in higher education: how authentic work experiences and opportunities for career exploration canincrease self-efficacy and inform career identity, Benton, P. Apr 2015, In: Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling
  • Exploring Professional Practice, Benton, P. 2014
  • An Evaluation of Integrated Services for Young People, Graham, P., Benton, P., Rice, G., Hemmings, P. 2010
  • Developing a Connexions service in England, Benton, P. 2002

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Oral presentation: Understanding the graduate employment experience. 2018
  • Oral presentation: Embedding employability into the curriculum’ 2018
  • Invited talk: Developing Effective Careers Education and Guidance in the curriculum 2017
  • Oral presentation: How can placements contribute to career development learning and employability? 2014
  • Oral presentation: Factors affecting university and course choice: implications for guidance 2011

  • Academic Studies in Education MA (Hons) November 18 2015
  • Teacher Training City andGuildsLevel 1 June 30 2000
  • Careers Guidance PGDip June 30 1995
  • Social Studies/Science BA (Hons) June 28 1991
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy SFHEA 2017


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