Thanks to Phil McCash for passing me this piece.

Channel 4 news: Can the young find jobs?

It talks about the situation for young workers and includes an interview with Rhiannon Colvin from Altgen an organisation that works with young people to help them set up co-ops.

Rhiannon argues that young people should stop fighting each other for poor quality work and start to set up co-ops.

I think that this is all very exciting and it links to a lot of the stuff that I’ve been thinking about in relation to guidance and critical pedagogy. Perhaps we need to stop looking for individual solutions and start looking for collective solutions as part of career guidance.

Tristram Hooley:

Here is an article in the Derby Telegraph about our #graduatedresscode project. I share Beth’s discomfort with the imagery – but there you go – that’s dealing with the media.

Originally posted on #GraduateDressCode:

As a way of increasing awareness of the project, we’ve had an article published by the Derby Telegraph. Aside from the image used, perhaps, it’s a good overall representation of our findings so far:

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Back in November I saw Kim Allen present the Celeb Youth project to the Career Development Institute conference. It was a brilliant presentation that talked about how young people are using celebrity to think about and talk about their aspirations.

Since then I’ve been following the project online and managed to bag an invite to the project’s final event over the last couple of days. The project has been fantastically innovative in the way that it has engaged with people and built outputs for a wide range of audiences. The team have blogged throughout the project and engaged with a wide range of disciplines and professions. It would have been possible to just do the research and produce a few papers for academic journals. Instead they’ve been talking to lots of people and thinking about what the implications of their research might be for teachers, careers advisers, youth workers and of course for celebs themselves.

The final event very much picked up the spirit of the project’s online presence. It began with performance artist Bryony Kimmings introducing us to her “credible likeable superstar role model” Catherine Bennett. Her performance raised lots of interesting issues about the way in which female pop stars tend to be constructed in a way which makes little sense and offers little positive value for one of their main audiences (tween girls). Why do all pop songs have to be about love and rejection? Why can’t we have songs about palaeontology, tuna pasta, what we want from the future and the animal kingdom?

These important questions set us all thinking for Katy Vigurs celeb quiz. I woz robbed!

The next day looked a bit more like a standard academic conference. However, before anyone even mentioned Bourdieu we were asked to share who our favourite celeb was with our neighbour. The papers got underway in a series of disciplinary based panel sessions. The format was one of the Celeb Youth team presented some findings, a couple of people responded from different perspectives (other disciplines, practice etc) and then we were all invited to gather in groups and discuss. We all talked to each other and got a good opportunity to chew over their ideas. Unlike most conferences I go to I wasn’t tempted to fall asleep or start checking my email. The whole thing was much more fertile than the usual conference format.

But, the medium was not the only message. There was also a lot of important stuff about how young people engage with the idea of celebrity. In essence the project is constructed in opposition to the usual knee jerk media/politician stuff about celebrities being to blame for everything. You know the sort of thing: the economy is broken because young people are lazy, young people are lazy because they watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Therefore Kim Kardashian caused the recession. I’m over egging it but not much. The Celeb Youth team (Laura I think?) showed a quote from Iain Duncan Smith about how X-Factor cause the riots. You can’t make this stuff up!

Conversely, the research suggests that young people look beyond simple analyses of celebrity. The Celeb Youth project shows young people engaging with celebrity as a resource within which they can think about and understand their own lives and aspirations. Rather than buying into a narrative which is simply “shag a footballer and get rich” they typically prize celebrities who they believe embody hard work. Of course not all young people see all celebrities in the same way, but this is rather the point. Celebrity is a battleground on which you can test out your ideas. It is a place where those with little life experience can observe those with a bit more and think about whether they are behaving well and making good decisions. This may not always lead people to the kinds of decisions and values that I hold, but it isn’t a simple process of cause and effect. There is a sophisticated, critical process of consumption going on here.

All of this raises a lot of issues for those of us who are particularly interested in developing interventions that help people to think about their future and increase their self-awareness. However, that discussion is probably for another day. For today I’ll just thank Celeb Youth for having me and wish them well as they carry on with their interesting work!

This is an interesting icould story talking about how you can end up working in the careers field.

In this film Christine talks about her struggle with different jobs and how she moved into being an employment mentor.

It would be interesting to investigate people’s pathways and motivations in this field a bit more.

Anyone interested in telling their story on this blog?

On Monday we were very privileged to play host to a group of excellent career practitioners at iCeGS. We had invited them to come and talk about the icould website.

Just in case you haven’t seen the icould website before it is a career website based around a fantastic set of videos. The videos each give the story of someone’s career with all the twists and turns and misdirections. They are career profiles rather than job profiles.

The site also includes a wide range of other tools and features. Since the last time I’ve written about icould there has been the addition of new LMI features including some geographical features that open up local labour market information.

However, the point of the project was not to wax lyrical about icould. icould is a great product, but it isn’t an alternative to career practitioners. So what we wanted to see was what career practitioners could do with the site. We are planning to run an action research project for the next few months to explore how icould can get used in interesting and innovative ways.

I’ll try and report back on what comes out of this on the blog. However, in the meantime I’d be interested to hear from any career practitioners who are using the site. What are you doing with it? How are you integrating it into your practice? What works well (and what doesn’t)?

Tomorrow we will be holding a joint meeting of the iCeGS Associate Network and the Midland Career Guidance Seminar. I hope to see some of you there.

Unfortunately we have had a last minute drop out of one of our presenters which means that I’ve been asked to step into the breach.

So tomorrow I will be presenting on the evidence base on lifelong guidance, building on work that I’ve been doing for the ELGPN.

The evidence base on lifelong guidance

The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) at the University of Derby is looking to recruit a Researcher to support the growth and development of the Research Centre research and consultancy, working work closely with other researchers in the Centre on our expanding portfolio of local, national and international assignments.

We are looking for a researcher with a knowledge of a range of research methods, quantitative expertise would be particularly welcome, applicants should have a strong interest in careers and the relationship between education and work with a Masters degree in a relevant subject and preferably a Doctorate in educational or social research.

Find out more and apply online

Note, for less experienced researchers we also have a Research Assistant vacancy available at the moment.


Tristram Hooley:

This is our poster for the University of Derby’s teaching and learning conference. It shows some initial results from our Graduate Dress Code project.

Originally posted on #GraduateDressCode:


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I studied Alan Bennett’s plays for my A Level English. Undoubtedly Michael Gove wouldn’t approve. He also wouldn’t approve of Bennett’s recent comments on social mobility, public schools and universities. I’m with Alan on this one….

Alan Bennett, To educate according to the social situation of the parents is wrong and a waste
As a 17-year-old, the odds were stacked against boys like me trying to get into Oxbridge. Sixty years on, it is still unfair – and even un-Christian

cheserfield college

On Monday I got to spend a very interesting day with Ben Owen (Head of Student Services) and Amy Woolley (Guidance and Admissions Manager) from Chesterfield College. They showed me round the College and we talked about the way in which they have reworked their careers provision in the College.

What was most impressive about the provision that they have developed was the fact that careers and guidance are conceived as an integral part of every student’s journey into, through and out of the College. Ben and Amy have been actively working with schools and careers providers in the area to ensure that pre-entry information and guidance is available. Once a student applies to a college they receive an admissions interview undertaken by a trained guidance practitioner to help them to decide whether they are a good fit for the course that they are applying for.

The linking of guidance with admissions usually raises all sorts of concerns about impartiality. How can you give guidance at the same time as being essentially part of the recruitment process? Amy and Ben were clear that, for them, this was not an issue for two reasons. Firstly the staff who are undertaking the guidance are professionals and understand their appropriate professional role. Secondly the College has no interest in recruiting students who are a poor fit for the courses that they are seeking to study on. Consequently, every student begins their course with an opportunity to think about how the course fits into their wider life goals.

Once they are on course the College uses a mixture of group work and one to one support to support students progression and to help them to achieve post-College outcomes. Perhaps the most interesting element here is the way in which this in-course guidance function has been combined into a single team with the pre-course guidance function. This provides the College with a larger pool of career experts who are naturally focused holistically. Ben spoke passionately about the dangers of having the recruitment and admissions functions divorced from delivery. In Chesterfield College this can’t happen as pre-entry and on course careers support are part of the same thing.

We discussed the poor evidence base that exists in relation to careers work in Colleges. Schools have always been the focus of most educational research with universities a close second. The FE and vocational education sector has always struggled for attention. This is as true in relation in careers work as in any other aspect of the educational process. My visit to Chesterfield College suggests that this is a shame as there is much good and interesting practice that deserves closer attention.

If anyone has any ideas on how we could fund a new study of careers work in FE I’d be very interested to talk further.