Author: fecareersiag

Finding yourself

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From Reddit Get Motivated

It’s an appealing piece of writing and will ring true for many if they reflect on their career journey but I’m not sure if I completely agree with it with regard to careers theory.

It certainly contains elements of agreement with the growth and exploration phases of Super’s five life and career development stages but seems to start from a position that the individual is returning to a fixed, preordained destination that was always within them. It is a position that retreats from (the rightly much criticised) Dweck’s Mindset work.

The idea is positioned closely to Gottfredson’s Circumscription and Compromise theory which includes the self-reflection and actualization of the quote but Gottfredson also promotes the need for the individual to expose themselves to a wider range of experiences to aid the reflection process.

The idea in the image is closer to Parson’s “trait and match” basis of the client as an unmovable object who, before navigating the labour market along their favoured journey and perhaps even to find a satisfying destination, takes the time to undergo a process of deeper self realisation to understanding their aptitudes and interests. How experience has shaped these traits is not discussed, only that they are present and can be tested. This theory has its critiques in respect to it’s assumption on the stability of the labour market and the stability of the traits of the client. The quote in the image proposes the later and discounts the influence of experience gained along the journey being stripped away and, for that reason, it loses value for me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Using images & visual starters in Career Guidance

With a h/t to @CareersResearch I found these examples from Katherine Jennick about her practice using visual starters and images in her 1:1 IAG work with her cohort of Key Stage 3 & 4 clients very interesting.

The discussion with Liane Hambly (from around 17 minutes in the video below) is an excellent CPD resource and, I would imagine, a very useful resource for any leaders of the Level 6 Career Guidance and Development Diploma. Give it a watch.

 

 

The calls for a “UCAS – Apprenticeships” portal

Over the years I have been keeping up to date with CEIAG policy and news, a recurring recommendation in Careers reports and speeches has been that Government should establish or encourage a UCAS style portal (let’s call it AAS – Apprenticeship Application Service) through which young people (or anyone I assume) could apply for an Apprenticeship vacancy. It’s promoters believe that this will encourage more young people to apply for and gain apprenticeships and it has resurfaced in the recent Education Select Committee report “The apprenticeships ladder of opportunity: quality not quantity

We recommend that the Government introduces a proper UCAS-style portal for
technical education to simplify the application process and encourage progression to
further training at higher levels. (Paragraph 89)

It has also been raised by Gerald Kelly & Partners in their report “Not for them: Why aren’t teenagers applying for apprenticeships?” which surveyed young people to find that

While almost two-thirds (63%) say if they could apply for apprenticeships using an UCAS-style format they would

While the Social Mobility Commission under Alan Milburn called for

a UCAS-style body to give young people better information about which apprenticeships are available and what career prospects they could lead to

Vocational and Technical education supporters such as the Edge Foundation also promote

 A well designed portal could explain each option in detail and give advice on how and where to apply. The portal would also make signing up for apprenticeships easier and more managed, as this can currently be a lengthy process and students taking GCSEs already have a lot to focus on.

and opinion pieces have called for a “one stop shop” website to be designed.

UCAS is a monopoly service but it does gain buy-in and brand reach beyond education because it offers a consistency of service year on year. The dates of the application cycle are clearly predetermined and the format of a learners application set, no matter whether the learner is applying to the highest tariff Russell Group Universities or a Foundation Degree at the local FE College; the application form is the same. The institutions in receipt of these applications may also add their own requirements post application form submission before making an offer decision (such as an interview or portfolio assessment) but those institutions all still use that initial form and stick to communal deadlines. The application deadline for Oxbridge, Veterinary, Dentistry & Medicine may be sooner than the main application deadline but, within those categories, there is still agreement across all of the institutions offering those courses on a common deadline.

Would a UCAS style portal for Apprenticeships achieve the same goals and how would it be different to the already established “Find An Apprenticeship?”

  1. Timing and deadlines

Employers can hire apprenticeships throughout the year

apprenticeship starts sept 2018

so there isn’t much agreement on common deadlines. You can see from the graph that the trends do show an increase in starts at the end and beginning of the academic year as (mostly larger) employers have moved their recruitment cycles to capture school and college leavers and also start the off the job training component of the apprenticeship in line with the academic year yet a common deadline is still nowhere to be seen. Whereas now UCAS applicants are clear on the common deadline and Advisers are able to structure application advice towards that deadline the proposals of any AAS system do not seem to envisage that employers could only advertise apprenticeship vacancies in certain periods of the year so this would mean that individual employer deadlines would still apply. As the 2016 Employer Perspectives Survey (p 113) shows that around 18% of all UK institutions offer apprenticeships so this would still mean a multitude of deadlines to hit and advisers to be aware of.

2. Employer control over applications

Much of the Government rhetoric over the reform of the Apprenticeship system through the introduction of standards and the levy has been built around the theme of placing employers “at the heart” of apprenticeship training. Presumably this also includes allowing employers to determine their own apprenticeship recruitment processes. Currently employers can list their apprenticeship vacancies on the “Find An Apprenticeship” site (plus their own sites or third-party sites such as “Get My First Job“) and support and advice is offered on how to recruit, but the employer remains in charge of the process. Sometimes an employer will choose to use the more generic application questions and form contained within the Find An Apprenticeship site

Such as this mock application

or require applicants to apply through their own website

site management apprenticeship

This seems to be a flexibility required by employers. The recruitment process an SME will need to source a suitable applicant for a Level 2 vacancy will be very different to the procedure a multinational corporation will undertake on their annual recruitment of a multitude of apprenticeship standards at higher levels. So forcing a common application form onto all employers offering apprenticeships also seems beyond the reach of an AAS.

3. Age of applicants & references

Higher Education applicants of all ages use UCAS to apply but it would fair to say that the majority of HE starters come from applicants who are of a school or college leaving age.

ucas stats

This is not true of those starting apprenticeships

apprenticeship starts

where the majority of current starters from the applicant pool would not be in education to receive support from an Adviser. Of course the very point of the AAS would be to increase the number of younger applicants but that site would have to be one that would accommodate and be user-friendly for applicants of all ages, whether in education or not.

4. Numbers of applicants

All of the reports suggesting a AAS do so in the commendable hope that it would increase the number of young apply for and so starting apprenticeships. With its title, the Gerald Kelly report is particularly flagrant in its acceptance that young people aren’t applying for apprenticeships. This is strange, as I’ve posted about previously, the DfE no longer publishes the data showing apprenticeship applicants by age, only starts. Misappropriating the number of Apprenticeship starts by age as an indicator of the number of applications by age is not acknowledging the historic data we do have which showed that young already apply for apprenticeships in far greater numbers than the number of vacancies posted. For as AAS portal to be truly warranted, the data on applications by age needs to be regularly shared by the DfE.

5. Differences between Find An Apprenticeship

In any of the reports linked, AAS recommendations come seemingly without reference to the Find An Apprenticeship website which already exists or, if they do acknowledge it, they are unclear about what differences the proposed UCAS style Apprenticeships portal would have. Find An Apprenticeship already allows people to search on a common site for all apprenticeships, research opportunities laid out in a standard format and, in some cases, complete an application through the same site. As I have shown, just establishing a new portal with aspirations to be more like UCAS fails to acknowledge or offer solutions to the fundamental differences between the Apprenticeship and Higher Education processes and routes which would leave any new portal looking and performing much the way as the current Find An Apprenticeship already does.

An AAS portal also offers a suggested quick fix which fails to address the central issue. The Gatsby Benchmarks have shown us what works in CEIAG provision. This is time and cost intensive provision as Apprentices themselves acknowledge

and Gatsby evidenced but it is that support that would really enable young people in greater numbers to strive for and successfully secure Apprenticeships.

 

 

NICEC 2019 Conference – Changing boundaries: career, identity & self

The 16th & 15th April 2019 at the Chancellors Hotel and Conference Centre (google map link) will see the 2019 NICEC Conference (titled “Changing boundaries: career, identity and self) take place.

https://www.scribd.com/document/389398754/NICEC-Conference-Flyer

The Conference is open for ticket bookings through Eventbrite here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/changing-boundaries-career-identity-and-self-an-international-conference-on-research-practice-and-tickets-48343197806

but is also open for workshop suggestions and leaders –

We invite contributions for workshops from a broad range of presenters conceptualising ‘changing boundaries’ in different ways to reflect the diversity in thinking and innovation in policy-making and practice.  Key questions that the conference aims to address include:

  • What influences career identity and the self?
  • Can disruption be fruitful?
  • What does the future look like?
  • What conceptualisations of career will be needed?
  • Where is the continuity and where is the change?

We welcome abstracts of up to 300 words for individual presentations (20 minutes) and up to 500 words for symposiums (one hour). Abstracts should be submitted to julia.yates.1@city.ac.uk by 31st October 2018.

I understand that CPD funding can be hard fought for and carefully allocated in these times but I would encourage you to consider dedicating some towards a conference which promises to be a thoughtful and considered look at the future of careers work.

Fancy being my boss?

At the Bedford College Group we have vacancy for a Manager of Student Well-being & Achievement.

Link to advert here.

This role is (mostly) based in Kettering and will lead a team of Personal Achievement Tutors there but will also lead the Student Services Careers provision across the Group. Currently the Careers Team consists of seven Advisers and a Resource Assistant covering 3 main Bedfordshire campuses plus our specialist sites listed here:

https://www.bedford.ac.uk/our-locations

and our 3 main Northamptonshire sites listed here:

https://www.tresham.ac.uk/about-us/our-campuses/

So it’s a role requiring a wide range of skills and knowledge.

Bedford College Group is one of the largest providers of Further and Higher Education, apprenticeship and part-time training in the region. We have sector beating destination statistics and you can see our CEIAG policy here and our Careers Programme Statement here. If the role is something that interests you, please do consider applying!

NICEC

nicec

The National Institute for Career Education & Counselling (NICEC) is a learning “Fellowship of people committed to understanding and developing career education and guidance practice and policy in the UK and across the globe” that has been in action since 1975.

I’ve been aware of the group and their work for many years through the NICEC Journal which I read with great interest when it landed in my pigeon-hole (back when you got a hard copy as part of a CDI membership) and have attended numerous workshops at events over the years led by a number of the Fellows.

The network is organised as group of invited Fellows and a membership of individuals interested in career theory and practice who then receive the Journal and are able to attend the networking and evening seminar events put on throughout the year.

An annual conference is also part of the offer with next year’s planned for April 16th 2019 with the theme of “Changing boundaries: career, identity, and self. An international conference on research, practice and policy in career development.

I post as I have been invited to join as a Fellow and feel extremely privileged to take up the offer.

Please do keep an eye out for future NICEC seminars that I will advertise and take a look at the Conference and, if you see something that interests you, sign up! I’ll see you there.

The potential split between College and School Careers Leaders

September will see a change for schools and they “appoint” a Careers Leader as mandated by the Careers Strategy and the Guidance  documents for Schools and Colleges. What structures or staffing models schools will adopt (or just rename) to meet this will vary widely both because the guidance allows them to

careers leaders4

and because the funding squeeze will dictate that they will utilise the staff at their disposal.

For Colleges the guidance is tighter in the recommended structures to follow

careers leaders5

The specificity of requiring a Vice Principal or Director to take on the role does make sense in a College context. They are usually larger organisations both in terms of learners requiring provision and members of staff to work with and sites to cover so most providers will employ a team with a Careers/Employability focus line-managed through their Student Services areas. Combined with the more vocational nature of the teaching & qualification offer (teachers will have their own industry expertise to also offer IAG as part of the main qualification) placing the role at a strategic level puts the onus on the institution to achieve the cross College buy-in sought by the CEC to build a joined up Careers programme rather than a standalone service that does not collaborate throughout the teaching areas. At this scale, this isn’t a one person job so the delivery and the leadership have to be split.

The more options available in the School guidance will lead to many non teaching, non Senior Leaders being assigned the “Careers Leader” or a version of option 1 in the image above. If these roles are rebadged Careers Co-ordinator or Careers Adviser position line-managed by a member of Senior Leadership or the Head Teacher then in these cases the Careers Leader is “Leader” in name only. The strategic oversight and direction of the Careers provision at the school will be lead by the member of staff on the Senior Leadership team line managing the practitioner doing the delivery. It is they who will feed into working groups across the school (curriculum, data, behaviour etc) as they will have more areas of responsibility and line-management duties for the delivery staff in those areas.

The guidance document acknowledges the possible downsides from this option

if senior leadership support is not in place, middle Careers Leaders can struggle to drive school-level change and successfully fulfill the coordination tasks which are part of the role.

and offers two case studies, one of which explains the link from the delivery practitioner to Senior Leadership

Cathy is not a trained teacher and whilst not formally designated as a middle leader, is effectively treated as one. For example, her line manager is the deputy head with whom she meets regularly.

and one that doesn’t

Leyla was responsible for all aspects of careers across the school, including contracts with external careers providers. The post was organised as a middle leader position and Leyla combined her role as Careers Leader with responsibilities for the business department and vocational education.

without explaining the conundrum of proposing the Leader as a “Senior” role whilst then offering examples of structures where it isn’t.

Allowing schools to farm off the “Careers Leader” job title onto staff not at a Senior enough level to inject and sustain a culture change throughout the school is not the hoped for consequence of implementing the Career Leaders policy. Before the Careers Strategy and CEC even existed, some schools had already reacted to the loss of Connexions by employing a non teaching member of staff to deliver their Careers provision. The lever the CEC is trying to pull through the establishment of the Careers Leader role and the accompanying guidance is to place CEIAG further up the food chain and closer to the heart of school decision-making and planning.

Careers Leaders are responsible and accountable for the delivery of their school’s programme of career advice and guidance. It is a senior role that requires the person doing it to have a clear overview of the school’s careers provision

This is what schools choosing Option 2 will  be attempting to achieve but will certainly have to invest in delivery practitioners for their Careers provision to match their ambition whilst also refraining from allocating the title to a Senior Leader with a multitude of other strands to manage. The possible pitfalls of this Option are under-funding and under-staffing.

Multi-Academy Trusts choosing to implement Option 3 would also have to invest in delivery staff to offer provision across sites but should have their own Careers Team line-management structure.

Schools choosing the Option 1 structure will therefore deviate from Colleges and other schools in that they will be attempting to combine the roles of strategy and delivery into one role (that may or may not have Senior Leader support). Those named Leaders in a combined strategy/delivery role without Senior Leader support will find the job the hardest of all while those in a delivery role reporting to a member of SLT are the Leaders in name only described above. The separation of strategy and delivery roles encourages a team model and so is able to push the responsibility of CEIAG higher up the school staffing structure and so closer to the core strategy decisions.

In a previous post on this subject I’ve agreed with the CDI that the naming of a Careers Leader is not something to become too hung up on as

It matters less whether the tasks are undertaken by one member of staff or several, or whether the post is filled by a member of the teaching or non-teaching staff, and more that all the tasks are clearly assigned and that the personnel allocated the role(s) are enabled and supported to fulfil their responsibilities effectively

which still holds true as ultimately it is the outcomes for students which should determine the success of structures. What I am clearer on now though is that there are potential dangers in using a title that means different things in different providers and for financially hard pressed schools, the lure of changing a job title without reflecting on the purpose or remit of that role.

College guidance

https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/sites/default/files/uploaded/careers_leaders_in_colleges.pdf

School guidance

https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/sites/default/files/uploaded/understanding-careers-leader-role-careers-enterprise.pdf