A guide to iCeGS publications from 2013

As you may have picked up, I work at the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) at the University of Derby.  I try and add links to my work and the work of my colleagues to this blog, however, sometimes in the cut and thrust of the year I miss the odd thing. So I thought that I’d devote an end of year post to summarising all of the things that the Centre has published during 2013.

One feature of 2013 has been iCeGS increasing international perspectives. I published a paper on career development in Canada, while my colleague Nicki Moore was very active in Croatia helping to set up the new Croatian Employment Service.  Meanwhile another of our colleagues, Siobhan Neary was writing about career guidance in Sri Lanka.

We also retained our strong interest in the area of career guidance policy. I wrote a policy commentary on the report of the National Careers Council, Tony Watts looked at the Heseltine Review, the Education Select Committee report and the Government’s response to it (including the Government’s Inspiration Vision statement), the Ofsted Review of Career Guidance and the Statutory Guidance on Career Guidance for FE and Sixth Forms. Meanwhile at a European level my colleague Jo Hutchinson looked at how career guidance might provide some answers as part of the European youth guarentee initiative that seeks to tackle youth unemployment. We also published an article looking at how the ‘blueprint’ model might provide a mechanism to link career guidance policy and practice.

Following on from this interest in career guidance policy, much of iCeGS work focuses on the issue of policy translation. Jo Hutchinson wrote an interesting paper on the interface between school leadership, career guidance and STEM teaching in schools.

We also retain a strong interest in career guidance practice and in supporting the development of innovative ideas in the field. We published papers on the storyboarding technique and the role of digital skills in the development of employability. I also continued reviewed a very interesting book on the chaos theory of careers which makes some paradigm shifting propositions for practice in the area.

Another major theme of iCeGS work in 2013 has been our engagement with higher education. We undertook a cross-European review of HR strategies for researchers and looked at how the Unistats website supports higher education choice making, .

Underpinning a lot of this work is a strand of research which investigates the formation of aspirations and decision making. Some of my colleagues published a very interesting paper looking at gender and career identity formation in younger children.

We also get involved in a range of projects which are not directly related to career guidance. I worked on a methodological paper about researching religion and non-religion which I thought was pretty interesting. Less leftfield was the publication of some work on social pedagogy in Derbyshire and a more theoretical paper on its role in supporting youth key worker practice. Social pedagogy is an interesting concept that I feel may have implications for guidance. I hope that we’ll be looking at this more in the coming year.

All in all a pretty busy year. There is lots more about to be published so it looks like 2014 will be at least as busy. I’ll try and keep everyone updated on this blog.

Top 10 posts from 2013

Christmas is a time for lists about things that have happened in the year. So here is my first list. This is what you’ve been reading on Adventures in Career Development during 2013.

10. I posted a link to a short film by Andrew Manson about social mobility and career education. People seemed to like it and watched it enought times to get it into the top 10 for the year.

9. Another film makes it into the top 10. This one is Andy Chan arguing that Careers Services Must Die. Although of course he actually argues nothing of the sort.

8. Next up you can find my thoughts on the school counsellor model in Ontario.

7. Controversy almost always turns into hit. So next up you can find my thoughts on Sinead O’Connor and Miley Cyrus. This one prompted a lot of debate and got me into all sorts of trouble.

6. Demonstrating that most of the people who read this blog are careers sector insiders, the next piece is the story about Heather Jackson and Tony Watts resigning from the national careers council.

5. More controversy. This time I tangle with graduate labour market expert Charlie Ball over an article that he wrote for the Guardian.

4. A surprising entry at number 4 is my more philosophical discussion of the need to rethink career guidance around a more social and collective paradigm. Deindividualising career development.

3. But after that brief dip into philosophy we are back on familiar populist ground. This time I was connecting career development with the Smurfs (well it was a long school summer holiday).

2. Second most popular post of the year was my thoughts on what careers companies should do with social media.

1. And top of the pops was my write up of Jaana, Raimo and Jim’s article on career practitioners conceptions of social media. Everyone loved that article!

Ruritanian Education Secretary Quized on Careers

Following Michael Gove’s appearance yesterday in front of the House of Commons Education Committee people are already talking about his weird public meltdown. However, spare a though for his Ruritanian counter-part who recently also faced questions on his government’s policy on careers. The transcript from his meeting with the Ruritanian Inquisitorial Council follows.

Transcript from the Ruritanian Inquisitorial Council session on careers (December 2013)

Ruritanian Grand Inquisitor: Welcome M. Gova. Thank you for giving up your time to meet with the Council on this important issue.

M.Gova (Minister for Education): Thank you for having me. It is always a pleasure.

RGI: We have asked you here to talk about the Government’s policy on careers. As you know the Council has recently conducted an investigation into the issue and we found that there were serious problems with careers advice in schools. What is your plan to address this?

M.Gova: Well, thank you for your report. But, unfortunately it is quite wrong. In fact it is a load of rubbish. Careers advice in schools is better than it has ever been. Under our Government schools have been set free from the shackles of bureaucracy and consequently are providing better advice than ever.

RGI: Well that wasn’t what we found and we are not alone. The Confederation of Ruritanian Industry recently issued a report saying that careers advice was the “sick man of the Ruritanian school system”, so surely there are problems here that need dealing with.

M.Gova: Can I remind you that no Ruritanian Government has ever got careers advice working effectively. Indeed no one else in the world has ever given as piece of careers advice successfully. The very idea of giving careers advice is a pie in the sky dream powered by fairies with no basis in evidence.

RGI: So are you saying that actually careers advice hasn’t got better under your government?

M.Gova: Oh, no. It has got better, but let’s be honest how could it have got worse. I feel very lucky in this area because no matter how bad our policy has been the previous situation was so dreadful that we literally couldn’t make it worse if we tried. I know this because we have tried. Quite hard. If things were bad they must have got better – that’s logic!

RGI: Our concern is that young people are not being given the advice that they need to make good decisions about their futures. The schools have a vested interest to keep them in the school and so hardly anyone is taking alternative routes.

M.Gova: Well you may say that. But, actually I think that is a good thing. As you know our Government has introduced a new curriculum based on my rose tinted memories of my own school days…..Ahhh, the scones, the straw boaters, punting on the Ruritanian canal…..

RGI: M.Gova, are you OK?

M.Gova: Oh yes, sorry. So as I say, a new curriculum based on intensive scientific research. All Ruritanian school children now spend 50% of their week learning Sanskrit and we are starting to see the results really paying off. After all how can you have social mobility without universal Sanskrit?

RGI: That is all very well, but what about careers advice?

M.Gova: Will you stop talking about careers advice. I’m starting to think that you are in hoc to the shadowy underground Careers Liberation Front. Have you now or have you ever been a careers adviser?

RGI: What are you talking about?

M.Gova: Careers advisers. You know the sort. Seditious extremists going around peddling their so called “advice” to unsuspecting children. Filling their heads with un-Sandskritian thoughts. I think that we are all agreed that it would be much better just to have the honest Ruritanian business man talking to our young people. Nothing inspires young people like having a middle-aged, middle-manager from a faceless corporation talking to them from the front of an assembly. I mean I ask you what could be more inspiring than that?

RGI: Well that’s as maybe, but isn’t it very difficult for schools to get business people involved? In fact aren’t careers advisers useful to provide some brokerage?

M.Gova: No, you’ve got it quite wrong. Business people are falling over themselves to get into schools. Also people from the universities. For example the University of Ruritania provide a wonderful course in Aerial Architecture (taught in Sandskrit thankfully). Ah, I remember my days at University…

RGI: M. Gova pay attention! So are you saying that there is no place for a professional careers adviser?

M. Gova: You call them professionals, I call them a poison that is sweeping our land. We need to root them out wherever we find them. What kind of professional could you have in this area? Are we expecting that they would know something about the labour market and something about how individuals make decisions? Both of those things are impossibly unknowable. I mean what Sandskrit text tells you anything about the contemporary labour market? Oh, no, make no mistake, careers advice is an impossible dream. It has never worked in Ruritania or anywhere in the world and it never will work. If I reign for a thousand years I will make sure that no one is ever given any advice about their career. I urge you and your committee to join me in rooting out the distorting influence of the powerful careers-industrial complex Together we will build a better school system typified by Sandskrit and inspirational talks from my friend M. Jonesa (under-accountants at the Ruritanian Pear Corportation). This is what children need, this is what will prepare them for the future. I will broke no dissent on this one.

RGI: Thank you M.Gova. Your comments have been very enlightening.

#AskGove #Careers Education Select Committee 18/12/13

If you missed Michael Gove  talking careers advice today it is well worth a look. See http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=14503

Russel of the Secondary CEIAG has already offered up his usual penetrating analysis on this subject see #AskGove #Careers Education Select Committee 18/12/13.

It is well worth looking at this if you want to understand what Michael Gove thinks about careers.