Guest post: The Idea League



Following on from my discussion of career guidance in coastal towns I’ve been sent a really interesting guest post by Baron Miles that talks about an initiative that is taking place in Weymouth and Portland.  

There have been a number of reports over the last two years that have described Weymouth and Portland as a coastal community with a ‘poverty of aspiration’. Just last week the Dorset Echo pointed to a report that described the borough as a ‘social mobility coldspot’. We believe that the people of Weymouth and Portland are a strong community that are rightfully proud of the place in which they live. After all, it’s stunningly beautiful what with the glorious Jurassic Coast stretching off towards the Purbecks, the nature reserves at Lodmoor, Radipole Lake and Lorton Meadows and the unique Chesil Beach linking the mainland with the fantastic cliff faces and climbs of Portland.

It is for this reason that we have set up the Weymouth and Portland Idea League. We want to develop and build on the strengths that we have as a community; progressing the economy and infrastructure for the benefit of all that live and visit this stunning part of the country.

Over the last 12 months we have been working on the Idea League in order to launch it in the local schools and colleges, bringing the community together to inspire the young people of Weymouth and Portland to produce solutions to our economic problems; to encourage them to start new businesses, both online and real (be they fully-fledged or micro); to develop mobile apps to sell online or as free social enterprises that support existing industries in the area; to create new and exciting events for a variety of tourists and locals; and to create community-based projects like art groups or beach cleans.

We have started to recruit mentors from the local, national and international community to help take these ideas and turn them into a reality. We are asking for no specific time commitments as we believe that the projects should have a team of relevant mentors so that the young person or people get a variety of different perspectives to move their project forward and so that mentors can drop in, out and back in again as time allows. This is a critical point; for volunteers have busy and demanding lives. Modern technology and social networks will enable this type of mentoring to be possible.

We are working with a number of national organisations such as Teach First, Youth Employment UK, Apps for Good, Enterprise Child and Startacus to develop the mentoring and safeguarding materials that will provide mentors with support and training to develop their skills. We are also closely working with Dorset County Council, the Dorset Councils Partnership, the Weymouth BID, the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce and the Chesil Education Partnership in order to develop the employability skills, resilience and the enterprise and creativity of our young people.

The launch of the League is September 2016.

If you can help with any aspect of this project please email Baron Miles:

More about the £70 million for careers

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the Prime Ministers announcement of £70 million for careers.

Since then there has been some debate about what this actually covers. Russel from Secondary CEIAG went as far as to question whether it was really new money at all.

Thankfully some light has been thrown on this by Ian Austin MP who asked the following Parliamentary questions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much of the £70 million funding towards careers in this Parliament, announced by the Prime Minister on 11 January 2016, will be spent in each of the next four years. (23711) Tabled on: 21 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of the funding for careers in this Parliament, announced by the Prime Minister on 11 January 2016, will be allocated to the (a) Careers and Enterprise Company and (b) Government’s new initiative to recruit high-flying mentors; and to where any other monies from that funding will be allocated. (23712) Tabled on: 21 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the funding announced on 11 January 2016 by the Prime Minister for careers in this Parliament include the £20 million funding announced for the Careers Service in December 2014. (23713) Tabled on: 21 January 2016

To which he received the following answer from the minister (Sam Gyimah).

On 11 January 2016, my Rt Hon Friend the Prime Minister announced that we are committing £70 million to our careers strategy over this Parliament to continue the transformation of the quality of the careers education, advice and guidance offered to young people. This is on top of the £20 million in 2015-16 announced for careers in the 2014 Autumn Statement.

This £70 million will be spent over the next four years to 2020. We have not yet finalised how much will be spent each year or how it will be allocated but can confirm that there will be continued funding for the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) to continue its excellent work. We anticipate that this will include funding to support the Enterprise Adviser Network, the Careers and Enterprise Fund, the Enterprise Passport, the CEC’s research programme and its wider activity to bring schools, colleges, business, and careers and enterprise organisations closer together, and to deliver the new mentoring campaign announced by the Prime Minister on 11 January 2016. We will make further announcements in due course.

Which provides a lot more information including some insights about future priorities.

Decisions at 18

I’ll be keynoting this year’s Decisions at 18 conference in Sheffield (25th-26th April).

Decisions at 18 2016 is aimed at advisers supporting young people who are considering admissions to Higher Education and alternative routes.

The conference promises to explore fees to consider, graduate employment and the growing number of alternative routes to HE.

Hope that I’ll see some of you there.

Book to attend Decisions at 18

Free NICEC/CDI workshop -At the cutting edge – Working with adults

CDI and NICEC members are invited to attend a free workshop on Thursday 11th February.

This Cutting Edge – Research to Practice event will explore different aspects of how we can enhance our practice working with adults at various stages of their lives; both in careers guidance and career coaching settings.

Keynote speakers include NICEC Fellows Julia Yates; Stephen McNair; Rosemary McLean; Tristram Hooley and Marian Morris.

The event will be held at a venue in central Manchester. 50 free places are reserved for CDI members; please complete the standard booking form to reserve your place.

Book for At the cutting edge – Working with adults

My h-index score has gone up to 10!


Never talk to librarians! They’ll tell you stuff that you can’t unhear.

A while ago I set up a Google Scholar profile to keep track of when my work is cited. I noticed various arcane numbers down the right hand side. Most intriguingly I noticed that Google Scholar was giving me a couple of scores.

I asked a librarian and she told me to watch the h-index. The h-index measures the number of papers that you have that have been cited as many times as the number of papers that you have. So

  • h = 1 if you have 1 paper that has been cited once.
  • h = 2 if you have 2 papers that have been cited twice
  • h = 10 if you have 10 papers that have been cited 10 times.

As such it measures both the volume of your output and the regard that it is held in by the academic community.

As the number goes up it becomes more difficult to push it up further. I’ve been stuck on 9 for ages.

So hitting 10 is a red letter day for me!

All of this leads to a gamification of academic endeavour that is at once concerning and utterly seductive.

What do points mean?

Anyway my top 10 papers which are contributing to my h-index score are as follows:

  1. Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university: ‘It is more for socialising and talking to friends about work than for actually doing work’
  2. Social media: a guide for researchers
  3. Careering through the web
  4. What is online research?
  5. Careers work with young people. Collapse or transition?
  6. Fostering college and career readiness
  7. Careers 2020: options for future careers work in English schools
  8. Enhancing choice? The role of technology in the career support market
  9. How the internet changed career: framing the relationship between career development and online technologies
  10. The ‘Blueprint’framework for career management skills: a critical exploration