Our friends at Courses Plus share their thoughts on Careers AdviceMonday, November 17, 2014 12:00 AM
The Tricky Prospect of Careers Advice
Careers advice for school children in the 1980s wasn’t great – in some cases it was non-existent. During school years you’re expected to aim for higher levels of academia in readiness for the big wide world and taking on a chosen career. Unfortunately, back then the inspiration required wasn’t delivered along with the advice, and many students left school without a sense of purpose or direction. Careers advice should instil a sense of motivation and determination to succeed – getting you where you want to be. That single impromptu chat with teacher at the end of a lesson hardly lived up to the word ‘chat’ let alone ‘advice’.
Fast-forward to today and things are mighty different, aren’t they? Well, no, not quite. Recent government inspections have drawn similar conclusions regarding the level and quality of career advice that students receive today. Students are still being failed it seems.
Ofsted’s September 2013 report examined a group of schools during a 12-month period. Students were aged between 14 and 16 and the inspection looked at the quality of the careers advice given. The results showed that over three-quarters of schools were providing inadequate advice and career guidance was simply not working.
Moreover, too few schools had proper structures in place to give students the necessary head start in life. Only one in five schools had effective strategies for helping those nearing leaving age and way too few called upon qualified external advisors to steer important decision making – the level required just wasn’t there.
Matthew Hancock MP, the Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, believes young people need to be inspired and have their eyes opened to the world of work. Broadening horizons and promoting ambition are ways to get students ready for employment. Mr Hancock has published an ‘Inspiration Vision Statement’ in response to the findings, which details how employers, schools and training establishments should go about making this happen.
Unfortunately those of us already in full time employment have missed the boat. A large proportion of the workforce are involved in work which isn’t suitable or is merely good enough. This isn’t to say professional career advice would have made any difference. However there’s quality information available provided you’re steered correctly.
The National Careers Service is an information source which offers an up-to-date website featuring career tools, action plans and a huge number of career profiles. It also boasts usable widgets describing qualification levels and study methods that will help with nailing your dream job. It’s worth checking back regularly though as the site is updated with new information constantly. The National Careers Service also encourages feedback – if there’s anything not being covered then get in touch. Websites of professional governing bodies, such as Courses Plus or the Master Locksmith Association (if you’re thinking of becoming a locksmith) or LANTRA (for budding florists) are worth looking up.
Higher education establishment websites such as colleges or universities will yield information relating to relevant courses. They also encourage candidates to drop in for a natter. During any university/college interview you can speak with qualified careers advisers but likewise don’t be afraid of chatting to those already involved in careers. This last point is particularly good for determining whether a specific job types suit your aspirations.
Family and friends can also provide insight and give you useful information– even if only generalist. This is still valuable in its own right and shouldn’t be dismissed.
Sometimes, though, the best advice can come from within. It may sound corny but taking time to consider what your loves and loathes are can set off a chain reaction. For instance: a young lady working in a sales job was gazing out of the window. She suddenly remembered her love of animals. As a child animals were a big part of her life and she desperately want this to be her career. Unfortunately this fact had been forgotten. Thinking deeper she realised this was what she wanted to do and therefore made it a reality. Sometimes the spark of interest is already there, it’s just a case of having the proper guidance to bring things into the open.
If you’re looking for more information on which course is right for you, visit this handy study guide created by Courses Plus: www.coursesplus.co.uk/studyguide.php