This kind of rhetoric does more harm than good

This kind of rhetoric does more harm than good

Friday 11th May 2018

I'm sitting at my desk overlooking the Thames, trying to let the sound of the water calm me. It's not helping!!! What has got me so riled up?

This article by Laura MacInerney here

In it, she dismisses the role of careers adviser and joins in the erroneous Govian view that careers advisers tell you what job you should do.

Sorry Laura, to speak plainly, I'm an east end girl so I do that by default, One one particular point I'm afraid you're talking out of your a*se. Let's get one thing straight. You're talking a fair amount of sense in parts, but you don't need to diminish the role of fellow professionals to make the point that teachers have a vital role in the future life chances of our students.

The value of careers advisers in schools.

If the school buys careers advisers in to the standard outlined in the Government careers strategy they are :-

  • highly trained to post graduate level at least
  • follow a code of ethics that require them to put the best interests of the child at the heart of their work
  • carry out a huge variety of tasks - take a look at the link to the careers adviser job profile at the bottom of this post.
  • Have a huge array of up to date information on pathways and routes to no teacher could ever hope to keep up with.
  • They coach, support and counsel young people to achieve their dreams and possibilities
  • They act as part of a multidisciplinary team of professionals, along with teacher, social workers etc to ensure young peoples' well being.

They do far more than Laura gives them credit for. However, as i said earlier she does make some valid points. So having got that beef off my chest. Here's what we agree on.

Teachers do have a vital role to play in careers education

Not as careers advisers but has inspirers, facilitators, signposters and encouragers of young people. Teachers do, as Laura says have a huge influence on young people and can inspire or equally dispirit young people in a look or word, let alone a sentence.

The changing face of 21st Century careers learning

Things have moved on from the old model of a careers adviser doing an interview, a few CV lessons and work experience being careers.

The Government careers strategy requires schools to be much more all encompassing in their careers offer. The Government has adopted the Gatsby benchmarks, a research based set of indicators of excellence in careers learning. They are relying on them in order to deliver the needs of the country for an effective workforce.

Yes that's what's behind the strategy but also to deliver the benefits of social justice, self actualisation and humanity. So add CEIAG (Careers Education, Information Advice & Guidance) alongside literacy and numeracy as the keystones of education.

The careers strategy and statutory guidance requires schools to work towards achieving all of the 8 Gatsby benchmarks by 2020. They are:-

1 - A stable careers programme
2 - Learning from career and labour market information
3 - Addressing the needs of each pupil
4 - Linking curriculum learning to careers
5 - Encounters with employers and employees
6 - Experiences of workplaces
7 - Encounters with further and higher education
8 - Personal guidance

So getting employers in to deliver workshops, talks etc which are relevant to your subject needs addresses benchmark 4 and 5. That is what teachers can do and do better than anyone else.

Teachers need to take on board that

  • Key skills such as communication, decision making, evaluation etc are not just subject learning objectives but are also valid careers learning
  • That young people don't just need the skills; they also need to know how these skills are used in real life situations
  • That said young people need to practice using the skills in said situations.
  • That seeing what they are learning in the classroom has a valid real world use boosts classroom attainment and engagement (See teachers and careers by Prof Tristram Hooley) here

Then we will keep coming back to this virulent dichotomy between professionals.

So perhaps everyone should learn the mantra I heard from a number of teachers at a school in Redbridge recently

Every teacher is a careers teacher.

Just remember, they're a careers teacher, not a careers adviser, that's something totally different and just as valuable.

What careers advisers do