Changing numbers of careers advisers in schools

I’ve been sent a very interesting answer to a Parliamentary Question asked by Jim Cunningham. He asked the Government to provide information on how many staff in schools had the role of careers adviser in the academic year (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11, (c) 2011-12, (d) 2012-13 and (e) 2013-14.

The answer suggests that this number is steadily growing.

2010 – 450 careers advisers

2011 – 470

2012 – 570

2013 – 660

Source: School Workforce Census. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

I’ve never worked with the School Workforce Census so I’d be really interested to hear from someone who has. My main question is whether “careers adviser” is the only careers relevant category (and so includes a range of other careers co-ordinator type roles). If it is then these data tell an interesting story.

What this seems to say to me is that while we have seen a growth in school investment in careers work following the collapse of Connexions (see Collapse or Transition for the story on this) this growth has been relatively small. The figure of 660 schools that employ careers advisers aligns well with our finding in Advancing Ambitions that 820 schools hold a careers quality award. I suspect that these two numbers overlap considerably which lends credence to my usual guesstimate that less than a quarter of secondary schools in England are really taking careers seriously (but that those that do are often investing in it to a relatively high degree e.g. employing staff).

Unison have pointed out that this figure also says nothing about the qualifications of the careers advisers employed by the schools. Given the fact that there is no regulation on this it would be surprising if all of these advisers were qualified.

However, even without information on qualifications this provides us with a useful insight into school’s engagement in careers. I think that we should continue to monitor this number over the next few years.


A practical guide to career learning and development: innovation in careers education 11–19

Barbara Bassot, Anthony Barnes and Anne Chant have just published and excellent new book entitled A practical guide to career learning and development: innovation in careers education 11–19.

The book is an essential guide for all those involved in careers education. It particularly focuses on career happiness, resilience and growth and provides practical examples and strategies focused on implementing these theories within a school or college.

I have reviewed the book for the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling. There are 50 free downloads of the review for the first people to visit the site.

Should career professionals advise people on career image

You may remember that we’ve been doing a strand of work looking at issues of appearance and attractiveness in the context of career. Julia Yates and I wrote an article where we described this as career image and discussed some of the issues that career professionals might encounter if they started talking about this.

We are now interested in looking at what career professionals think about some of these issues. We have written a survey and are asking people to fill it in.

Survey: Giving advice on career image

It should only take you 10 minutes or so to fill in and we’d really appreciate your thoughts on this. We’ve been getting a very good response from career professionals that we’ve been talking to about these issues and we want to try and draw together some of the wisdom and practices of the profession to inform our ideas about how to take this forward.

Thanks for your help

ICCDPP symposium

I will be attending the ICCDPP symposium in Des Moines, Iowa this year. I’ll be helping to facilitate the strand which is looking at integrating policies and creating systems that work.

The ICCDPP symposium is an international meeting of policy makers and people with a strategic interest in career development. It brings together a wide range of countries and provides space for facilitating discussion and the sharing of policy and practice. Participants attend in country teams and work together to review what they are learning and think about how to rethink it for their context.

The 2015 theme: “Building the Talent Pipeline and Providing Youth with Hope for the Future,” focuses on the challenges facing governments, employers, and communities to ensure young people have economically viable futures.

A full list of countries and organisations attending is available. If your country is not currently listed you should think about how you can assemble a team. If you contact the symposium organisers then they will be able to identify anyone in your country who has already been contacts.

I hope to see some of you there.


CDI/NICEC event: Looking afresh at career management skills

4th February, Holiday Inn, Cardiff

I am involved in delivering a workshop on career management skills as part of the new joint CDI/NICEC CPD events.

The event will include me, Julia Yates, Anthony Barnes and Claire Nix. We’ll be working with participants to try and think about what career management is and how the concept can best be operationalised in practice. Attendance is free to CDI and NICEC members.

Symposium on online practice in guidance and counselling

The British Journal of Guidance and Counselling has just produced a new symposium looking at online practice in guidance and counselling. I was involved as an editor of the symposium. I think that it makes a really important contribution to thinking about how the internet reshapes practice in the fields of guidance and counselling.

It is well worth spending some time looking at some of these papers.

UCU pre-election manifesto on the knowledge economy

I have just read the UCU pre-election manifesto on the knowledge economy.

I think that it is an excellent document which sets out 15 practical policies that the next government could adopt around education and skills. There is, as you would expect, lots of good stuff on higher education funding and the management of higher education. However, it also includes very positive policies on Apprenticeship, lifelong learning and youth unemployment.

Obviously I was very encouraged to see one of its 15 policies being on career guidance.

Over haul career education. High quality, impartial career guidance is essential if students are to fully understand the different study options available to them and make an informed choice about their future education and employment plans. This should be free to all and available not only during initial education, but also throughout further and higher study and beyond. Adequate resource should be invested to allow face-to-face and telephone support as well as the provision of online resources.

I think that this document is a very important one and one that those who are interested in education policy should mobilise around. Thanks to you the UCU for pulling it together.