Careers education – let’s go to work

By Tami McCrone

Tuesday 30 September 2014

My previous blog Let’s ban the word ‘careers was fuelled by frustration at the current state of careers education and careers guidance in this country.

I wanted to provoke debate about ways forward, and – judging by the reaction – seem to have succeeded in stimulating a lively discussion. Thank you for all your contributions; let’s keep this important conversation going…

I think we all agree that the system of careers education and guidance we currently have is not working. I wholeheartedly agree with Deidre Hughes’ call for action to be taken to achieve a culture change in careers provision, and I believe we should look at innovative, original ways of bringing that change about. Sometimes a new name can signal a new way of tackling an issue that has become entrenched in stale rhetoric – but there are many other ways of thinking ‘outside the box’.

One such way was outlined in my previous blog: broadening the connection of pupils in primary school and Key Stage 3 to the wider world, and including parents and teachers in that development. I believe, fundamentally, that careers education has been eroded to the detriment of careers guidance, precisely at a time when we should be enriching it and expanding its reach to younger pupils. I think Anthony Barnes encapsulates many of the elements of this enrichment in his comment – describing issues such as ‘aspiration and inspiration; adaptability and resilience; happiness and wellbeing; equality and diversity; optimism and hope; values and good work; happenstance and chaos’. For our young people to be able to use careers guidance in their teenage years (and later in life) they need to have this underpinning careers education.

So, I maintain that we need to be more innovative – radical, even – in our thinking about careers education and guidance. We need all those involved to keep talking to find ways to really achieve something different. Only by doing this can we make careers education more relevant and helpful to our young people.