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A week's a long time in advising

So says Gill Foggo who is an adviser for Career Development Edinburgh and Lothians. Below she outlines a typical timetable. The Career Development Edinburgh and Lothians provides careers advice for young people in the city of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Mid Lothian and West Lothian under contract to the Secretary of State for Scotland.

As a careers adviser, I am based at Edinburgh East Career Development Centre in Union Street, Edinburgh. Staff in this centre provide a careers guidance service in 12 local secondary schools and six other schools which cater for pupils with a wide range of special needs. In addition, the centre offers a guidance and placing service for school leavers and the young unemployed.

I have six years' experience as a careers adviser, and this is an account of a "typical" working week.

Monday A hectic start to the week as I spend the morning on duty - deal with callers to Career Development Centre which includes: interviewing a young person who is unemployed - arrange two job interviews; speaking to young person who has recently lost Skillseekers training place - help to make benefit claim and look at alternative options; discussing catering courses available at local further education colleges with interested client; taking telephone call from anxious parent - son requires appointment with careers adviser - to discuss job seeking skills; receiving a telephone call from young person - moving to Edinburgh area in near future - advise on local caring courses and appropriate Skillseekers provision.

In the afternoon Ivisit Skillseekers training provider to update programme information sheets for young people, and review recruitment arrangements and identify ways of increasing number of applicants. It's good to get out of the office after this morning's frantic duty.

Return to Career Development Centre to produce updated programme information sheets and write up client records. Also phone a young person about a suitable vacancy then arrange to send relevant application form.

Tuesday Morning - in a local school to deliver introductory talk to S5 and S6, followed by meeting with guidance team to plan and review my contribution to the school's careers education programme for the next academic session. After morning break, meet with S4 social education groups - deliver "Destination Analysis" exercise prior to pupils' work experience week. This highlights the numbers of pupils leaving school who enter employment, training, further and higher education and raises awareness of employment trends and local job availability for school leavers.

Having fought my way through the notorious city traffic, I have a quick bite to eat and then attend the annual Higher Education Convention organised by Career Development Edinburgh and Lothians. This gives S5 and S6 pupils an opportunity to speak to consultants from a large range of higher education institutions. I arrange to meet some of my pupils to answer any remaining questions and to make sure they are making the best use of their time.

Back to office, return phone calls. Contact assistant head teacher at my school - to confirm details of my attendance at S5 parents' evening next week.

Wednesday Day spent in school. Interview five S6 pupils in the morning to discuss career options. At lunchtime, run my weekly "Careers Clinic" in the library - which gives open access for S4, S5 and S6 pupils. Typical enquiries include request for careers information on working abroad; entry requirements for law at university; requests for careers interviews; help with preparation of CVs and letters of application; list of employers addresses for speculative letter writing. By the end of the clinic its 1.30pm and I'm ready for my lunch.

After this break, I give talk on UCAS higher education application system to S6 - discuss completion of UCAS application forms and procedure with special reference to the "personal statement".

Return to Career Development Centre to complete all necessary administration work and to produce plans of action detailing follow up steps to be taken by this morning's interviewees. Deal with telephone messages from various clients, speak to colleague about proposed new UCAS application procedure, then telephone a recent school leaver to find out how they got on at a job interview. Half way through the week and I've still to catch up on last week's paper work and telephone calls.

Thursday Morning - visit a local employer who is looking to recruit a young person as service maintenance engineers. More information required from the employer on Modern Apprenticeship training to help colleagues identify suitable applicants for his vacancy. Also discussed the possibility of the employer offering work experience placements to S4 pupils as there is a shortage of engineering places on the careers company organised database.

Return to Career Development Centre (lucky to find a parking space nearby) to complete all necessary paper work relating to the visit. Send thank you letter to employer with some information he had requested.

Afternoon - (lucky not to have a parking ticket since meter ran out 20 minutes ago) attend a meeting with small group of colleagues to draft survey questionnaire and plan its administration. Questionnaire to be sent to employers seeking their views on the quality and efficiency of the recruitment service offered by the company.

Return to Career Development Centre to interview a young person referred by school guidance teacher - client has decided to leave school but has no clear career ideas. Then it's time to catch up on the paper work.

Friday Morning - attend the annual seminar for careers advisers at local college. Gain up-to-date information on courses, entry requirements and new developments.

This also gives me a chance to meet up with colleagues from other areas and to catch up with their news.

Afternoon - time set aside for Career Development Centre appointments including - meeting young person and parents to discuss possible application to a local college extension course, a special course for young people who need extra time to prepare for employmenttraining.

Also meet a recent school- leaver looking for office work but requiring help with updating CV and completion of application forms.

I then have appointments with another two unemployed clients and arranged interviews with local employers and Skillseeker training providers.

Followed by updating my records. Friday afternoon - it's time to tidy my desk before going home to enjoy the weekend.

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