This article first appeared on the 1st January on the indigo blog run by Trotman. In it David Andrews and I suggest five New Year’s resolutions for careers leaders, inspired by our recent second edition of The Careers Leader Handbook.
Being a Careers Leader is a great job, but you’ve probably found that there is always more to do than time to do it. So, if you reached Christmas feeling a bit burnt out, we offer you the following New Year’s resolutions to put you back in control for 2023.
- Spend some time planning. It may seem counter-intuitive to spend more time planning when you are already super busy, but as we argue in chapter 2.1 of The Careers Leader Handbook planning is at the heart of delivering a high-quality careers programme. Gatsby Benchmark 1 is all about having a robust plan and following it through. You are probably already filling in Compass regularly, but are you always using it to drive development? Get your Compass results, head off to a quiet space and award yourself some thinking time. Where are the gaps that you want to tackle this term? And what are you going to do about them?
- Get to grips with the CDI framework. The Gatsby Benchmarks describe what you should put in place to deliver an excellent careers programme. But they don’t describe why you are doing this or what pupils and students will get out of it. The CDI framework sets out the learning outcomes that careers programmes are trying to bring about. In chapter 2.4 we argue that engaging with this framework can make your careers programme much more intentional and help you to clarify what you are trying to achieve.
- Remember that you aren’t alone. Being the Careers Leader can be a lonely job. But even though you may be the only person in the school or college focused on careers, there are still plenty of your colleagues who you can work with. In chapter 3.3 we talk about the importance of co-ordinating the staff across the institution to help them to engage with careers. This is about mapping who else is involved in delivering careers. Once you start doing this you will probably find a lot more people than you thought. Why not organise a regular coffee with all your key champions?
- Get out more! Careers leaders are doing some of their most important work when they are outside the school or college. Whether you are meeting with employers, visiting an apprenticeship provider or attending an event at the local careers hub, you are building the networks on which your careers programme is based. In chapter 3.4 we argue that effective networkers give as well as take, helping the people that they work with from beyond the institution. If you devote time to this you will be swamped with offers of people helping you with meeting Benchmarks 5, 6 and 7.
- Spend some time on your own career. As the member of staff who is most focused on careers, students might expect that you have a brilliant career plan of your own. Of course, this may not be the case for everyone in the role, but spending time on your own personal, professional and career development is a useful reflective activity if you are going to be the school’s or college’s leading advocate for career planning. In chapter 4.4 we look at what happens next for careers leaders. Maybe you will move up the hierarchy where you are, go to work for a careers hub, put all of your experience of leadership to use in another context or run off to join the circus. Who knows? But we do know that there is value in practising what you preach!
Of course, these resolutions are just suggestions. You should make up your own and fit them to your situation and your school or college. The start of the year is a great time to take stock and think about what you can and should change.
Good luck and have a great 2023!
If you enjoyed this article, you might want to get yourself a copy of The Careers Leader Handbook.
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