Publication of You’re Hired! Graduate Career Handbook brought forwards!


I’ve got a new book coming out next week called You’re Hired! Graduate Career Handbook. The book was originally supposed to be released at the start of next term, but there has been a lot of interest in it and so we managed to persuade the publishers to push it out a bit quicker to allow people to get hold of a copy over the summer.

The book offers a comprehensive guide to career planning and job hunting for students and graduates. I think that what is different about this book in comparison to some of the other volumes out there is that we take a holistic view of career rather than just talking about how to beat your way through recruitment processes.

The book covers thinking about what to do with your life, how to make the most of your time at university, building up experience and networks, making the transition to further learning and work and perhaps most importantly being prepared to make a plan B and deal with setbacks. So we think that it should be essential reading for everyone from those who are about to start at university to those who are currently a couple of years into their graduate career and wondering where it all went wrong. Your career is something that you build everyday and it is never too late (or too early) to take action.

So (pre-)order your copy today!

Gender and apprenticeships

Female Construction Apprentice

I’m excited about the future of vocational education. There is so much going on right now with the T-levels and the apprenticeship levy. There is at least a possibility that we are seeing a serious step forwards in vocational education in England at the moment. What is more, I’m pretty sure that this is a cross-party issue and so even if we do see a change in government the focus on vocational education and skills is likely to endure.

However, there are some things that are concerning about the way that vocational education tends to channel certain young people into certain careers. There is clearly a strong class dimension to this, which I’m also interested in, but in this post I’d like to look at the issue of gender.

A joint TUC and YWCA paper (Apprenticeships and Gender) published a few years ago concluded that the expansion in apprenticeships had replicated traditional gender segregation in the labour market. More recent work by the Young Women’s Trust (Making Apprenticeships Work for Young Women) notes that since 2010 women apprentices have outnumbered men, but that male apprentices get paid 21% more on average.

The Young Women’s Trust presents the following chart to show how male and female apprenticeships differ by sector.

gender differences

What it shows is that women are concentrated in health and social care, business administration and childcare and education. In contrast male apprentices are present in a lot more sectors and have less of a profile in these traditionally low paying sectors.

These differences play out in terms of pay, but they also play out in terms of job quality with female apprentices less likely to report training and more likely to lose their job at the end of the apprenticeship.

All of this is very concerning, but not in all honesty completely unexpected. Similar issues have been reported in the past (as this 2006 article by the Equal Opportunities commission shows). Inevitably the reasons for this phenomenon are complex. It undoubtedly includes a dose of good old fashioned sexism, but the associations of gender with particular parts of the labour market are more complex than this. They undoubtedly include questions about self- and career- identity in young people. How far they can imagine themselves in different careers. They also clearly relate to employer expectations and to the ever questionable idea of ‘cultural fit’. ‘Someone like her just wouldn’t fit in here‘ is a much used excuse.

I don’t have any easy answers as to what it is possible to do about this. But what I am sure is that achieving any change on this issue will require shifts on both the supply and demand side of the labour market. We need both young people and employers to think and act differently. It will also require changes pre-, during, and post- vocational education programme. In other words people need to be recruited differently, supported better whilst on programme and then given ongoing support to transition to the labour market. All of these changes need to be actively alert to gender rather than simply trying to be ‘gender neutral’ – delivering a major cultural change is not going to be easy.

I’d be really interested to hear people’s thoughts about how they deal with some of these issues in career education and guidance processes.



How Careers Work: Observations of an Applied Researcher (8th June)


Wednesday 8 June

5.30 – 6.30pm

We are delighted to welcome Wendy Hirsh our Visiting Professor of Career Development to iCeGS on the 8th June. Wendy will be sharing her reflections on ‘how careers work’. .

Wendy will base the lecture on a range of applied research projects that she has undertaken where individuals have discussed how they make decisions about work, learning and the future.  In the lecture, Wendy will illustrate how her experiences shaped her own ideas about career development. Debate will be warmly welcomed.

We’d like to invite everyone to join us in Derby for this exciting inaugural lecture.

Book your place for How Careers Work

Top tips for job hunting online: seven steps to your dream career

I have published a blog post on the Trotman website discussing my top tips for online job hunting.

This draws from our new book You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online.

We do pretty much everything online these days. Whether it is ordering take aways, watching Game of Throne or finding out what Kim Kardashian, we tend to go to Google and Facebook before we go anywhere else.

In our new book You’re Hired! Job Hunting Online we explain that finding a job or building your career is no different. If you are serious about finding the career that you want you need to get online. In the book we argue that there are seven steps to using the internet to get the career that you want.

Read more…


Using game-based learning in career education


We currently have three interns working at iCeGS. Each of them has developed a research project with a member of our team which they are exploring during their internship.

Sophie Rowe has been working with Nicki Moore on the issue of games, gaming and game based learning in career education. They have produced a survey which they would like practitioners to fill in.

So whether you are a gamer or not, please spare a few minutes to fill in this survey.

Developing career and employability knowledge and skills, using games and games based learning