'World-leading' online careers guidance launched

2nd September 2011 at 01:00

A new online careers service has been lauded by the Skills Minister Alasdair Allan as "world-leading", at its launch this week at the Orkney Skills Development Scotland (SDS) advice centre.

But My World of Work, which was also praised by SDS chairman Willy Roe in his report for the Scottish Government on post-16 education, has been criticised in a Unison survey of SDS employees, many of whom felt it would not deliver a high-quality service.

The web-based portal features a careers A-Z, CV builder, course search, jobs search, "My Strengths" questionnaire, video clips of people talking about their job roles and a magazine element. It is seen as a key part of the Government's Careers Information and Guidance (CIAG) strategy.

Unison's survey about CIAG received 410 responses, just under 50 per cent of its membership; 94 per cent said they believed the new MyWoW system would fail to offer clients high-quality advice and guidance.

"Almost all respondents had huge reservations about a strategy that will be overly reliant on web-based services, which our members feel cannot offer high- quality advice and guidance.

"There is a view that the strategy is predominantly driven forward due to financial constraints but dressed up as modernising the service," said a spokesman for Unison.

Alan Sherry, principal of John Wheatley College in Glasgow, told TESS that for the communities served by his college, it was important that they had access to the best possible careers guidance, which he believed was best delivered one-to-one by careers advisers.

"Middle-class kids get access to a whole range of appropriate guidance support and often online support. This college has a concern that this online approach further disadvantages our local young people."

A spokeswoman for SDS said: "My World of Work responds to public and private sector insights into our changing society. Careers advisers have been involved in its development at every stage and staff feedback on its role and capabilities has been resoundingly positive."

She added: "SDS will continue to provide face-to-face and telephone services to the public. The new web service has been developed to complement these and respond to a clear demand for careers information, advice and guidance when and where people want it.

"It offers an engaging interactive experience to help people explore their strengths, skills and knowledge and how they relate to the world of work, 247 and in all parts of Scotland."

elizabeth.buie@tes.co.uk.

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