Good career guidance matters. It helps young people to understand the world of work, make the most of their talents and realise their potential.
Yet, speaking at a Westminster Education Forum event on tackling youth unemployment, Jan Ellis, chief executive of the Career Development Institute, hit out at current careers provision, saying “there are a lot of young people still not being able to access high-quality careers information and advice”.
With 800,000 young people classed at Neet (not in education, employment or training), according to data from the Office for National Statistics, it’s crucial that all young people in schools and colleges receive comprehensive, high-quality careers education to help empower them to feel invested in their future, to visualise it and set out achievable goals and ideas.
Engaging students in careers conversations
On this podcast, sponsored by Launch Your Career, we explore some of the issues that schools and colleges face in providing valuable careers advice and how they can tackle these in order to support young people in making a successful transition from education to employment, and help them to identify and choose career opportunities that are right for them.
We speak to David Hodgson, trainer, speaker and author of the science-based personality quiz The Buzz, and Ryan Gibson, national system leader for careers education at Academies Enterprise Trust, one of the largest groups of schools in England, with 58 schools and over 30,000 children.
In the conversation, Hodgson and Gibson reflect on how careers journeys are no longer necessarily linear journeys and how individuals can move sideways, forwards and backwards at certain points throughout their lives, so careers advice today needs to be more about equipping young people with career management skills to help them navigate their career and build up resilience.
One way to do this is by framing conversations around personality type. This entails helping young people to identify their interests, passions and strengths, then explore careers that might allow them to express those and be more fulfilled in the work that they do.
Hodgson suggests that discussions should start with the intention of being happy, exploring what impact students want to make in the world and what their special talents, ideas and strengths are and so on. Starting with that intention and working backwards from there is empowering for young people, he says.
“So, we look at, 'Well, how am I going to express those interests and talents and look for opportunities, look for courses, look for training?'” says Hodgson. “And then look at how you're going to get paid to do the things that are going to be the impactful things that you can do.
“And when I work with young people in that direction, it becomes such a different conversation. And a very powerful one. And it can be a shock. You can see the shock in their face when they think, ‘Oh, I'm going to have to take control and responsibility for this. This is exciting. This is a bit different.’”
Gibson agrees: “I think you have to help young people understand themselves first before you start thinking about what it is they might want to go on and do next. And then that gives you a platform to explore those things and give students those encounters, those opportunities, whether it’s experience with lawyers, or universities or apprenticeship providers, or whatever it may be, it is absolutely crucial to build on that engagement going forward.”
The podcast goes on to explore how schools and colleges can tackle the many pressures they face, such as stimulating these discussions with young people and juggling the competing priorities that exist within schools. We explore how technology is being used to facilitate this by igniting young people’s interest and opening their eyes to a world of opportunity, with detailed and tangible routes to those opportunities.