On the right careers path


Schools now have a legal duty to provide year 9 to 11 students impartial and independent careers advice. Christine Buccella looks at some free web resources that might help.

With youth unemployment reaching more than 20 per cent, the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance and a large hike in tuition fees, young people need decent careers advice more than ever. SecEd’s recent Guide To Careers Guidance set out the need for teachers to be able to access high-quality information following changes in legislation that, from this term, places the duty to provide independent careers advice for students in years 9 to 11 onto schools. However, teachers will be well aware that they are to get none of the £203 million in central funding that paid for the previous services. 

Face-to-face, structured guidance is considered to be essential and the government has set up a voluntary register of trained, professional careers advisors to help schools (www.cparegister.org). With funding tight, however, the web is also a powerful tool, providing resources to help young people make good choices.

Real-life stories

Case studies are a fantastic way of illustrating the reality of a particular career and students respond enthusiastically to real-life stories. Personal case studies can help identify the details of a career and inform on different ways to approach it and succeed, but they can also be difficult to source. Career Player has good video profiles which give a personal perspective on career choice and job experience to help students determine whether a career path is really right for them. Visit www.careerplayer.com

Psychometric testing

There are a range of tools on the web to help students think about their personal preferences and what career path might make them happy and fulfilled. Fast Tomato is a fun and visually appealing site which helps students to think about what qualities their chosen job would have to encompass. There are also links to other useful sites and careers information. The BBC has a similar tool too. Visit www.fasttomato.com and www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/careers

Choosing a course and university

Choosing a course should be based on whether it offers the right foundation for each student to access their chosen career. It is vital that pupils gain access to key statistics about the institutions they are considering, including details of employment outcomes for previous graduates and their eventual career destinations. 

Higher education fees have also shone the spotlight on choosing the right course. BestCourse4Me allows students to see these details for university courses. It shows students the link between what and where they study and future earning power and employment prospects. The site also has data from almost every university in the UK showing the A level results that gained students entry onto each course. Visit www.bestcourse4me.com

Industry information/career profiles

Young people need to know what jobs are available in industries that interest them and the kind of roles that might be available to them. Future-proofing and industry information are key to deciding on a career and Milkround contains helpful advice on a wide range of industries and how to access them. Students can look at BestCourse4Me (see above) to see what courses to study for careers in different industries and for details of average weekly pay in each sector and role. Also for a broad description of a range of careers, the Prospects website is a good starting point. Visit www.milkround.com/industries and www.prospects.ac.uk/types_of_jobs.htm

Work experience

Having a realistic view of what jobs are actually available and understanding the employment needs of business are vital to making sure that students are focused and realistic in their ambitions. Partnerships and work experience and with local businesses help students to understand the value of meeting the needs of the market place when considering an industry and job role. Schools can build links with local businesses but there are also online resources, such as Prospects’ work placement listings which can broaden the experience to working abroad or in a variety of roles with large national and international businesses. Visit www.prospects.ac.uk/work_experience.htm

SecEd Guide To Careers Guidance

Earlier this year, SecEd produced a Guide To supplement giving schools a summary of the main careers guidance changes and looking at how schools can meet their new duty to provide “independent and impartial” guidance for students in years 9 to 11. It also looks at how schools can use both in-house and external business and careers expertise. It includes best practice advice and case studies. Download the PDF free of charge by clicking here.

  • Christine Buccella is project director at BestCourse4Me.


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