Bargain on the careers advice front

31st May 1996 at 01:00
WHAT NEXT from Yorkshire International Thompson Multimedia, with Interactive Learning Productions.

Price Pounds 79.99 plus VAT, and Pounds 24.99 for extra discs.

No other careers software? Want to buy multimedia and think you may not be able to afford anything else for a while? What Next tries to do what's needed in one.

It covers "self-awareness, opportunity awareness, and transitional skills" - or, to use the section titles, Discovering yourself, What next after Year 11? (work? youth training? stay at school? further education?) and How to get a job. They're not presented in that order, but neither are students' career ideas!

At the price, this is quite a bargain, though, compared with specific programs on any of these topics, a bit thinly spread. The best section, What Else?, contains good audio case studies, including working abroad as an au pair, starting a business, and voluntary work.

The rest is a little disappointing, given the producers' reputation. Video clips add little - a slightly patronising young presenter is the only person to move around on screen. The interviews section contains few pictures and illustrations elsewhere are unimaginative (The National Council for Vocational Qualifications logo is about as interesting as the test card!).

There's a lot to read - good stuff, but not aimed at slow learners. How will it be updated? Youth credits, for instance, aren't mentioned. There's also one important inaccuracy. It would be illegal for employment agencies to charge job-seekers as well as their employers.

Good ideas are the index - you can go anywhere in the program you've a keyword for - and the "Trailsave" and "Scrapbook" options, which allow you to capture images, words and sequences for your own presentations.

It could be tried as a starter with more able Year 10 and 11 pupils for those schools which have not already invested in multimedia for careers. But it still has ideas to offer the FE sector.

Available from the Television Centre, Leeds, LS3 1JS.

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