Over the last 6 weeks or so that I have been with Talentino, I have been trying to work out what most people want to see in their career guidance. This comes from government reports, independent studies, various platforms where young people have made themselves heard, as well as just asking people around me. Aside from answers like ‘information on how to win the lottery’, there seemed to be one thing that really stood out: People want face-to-face support.
It is true, we are becoming a more and more virtual world. And not just at work & socially, but at school & college too. I’m not sure that if I was school, I would want to spend 2 hours hunched over my laptop writing my Shakespeare essay, then go to Physics to create my magnetism poster on Publisher, then spend another 45 minutes hunched over my laptop looking at jobs and university degree options. The first reason? Careers guidance is not a lesson!! Let’s face it, 7 hours of intensive lessons a day gets monotonous and debilitating for teenagers. Careers Guidance should be a noticeably different experience. A chance to sit down and have a conversation with someone you know, someone that can encourage you, and excite you! And in fact, from the study conducted on 200 young people across 5 UK schools by Talentino, 95% of pupils wanted face-to-face support.
As you may know, there is a 55/38/7 percentage rule in communication: 55% is through body language, 38% through tone of voice, and only 7% is the actual words spoken. This does need taking with a pinch or two of salt though. It’s a general rule of communication rather than looking specifically at careers guidance or education, especially when advice can be really stripped down to certain information. But, if I got told by a computer after I’ve answered some quiz questions that I’d be a good leader, I’m not necessarily going to believe it. But if I’m sat with someone who tells me “I think you’d make a great leader, people respect you, people listen to you, you have good ideas and don’t mind voicing them”, I’m going to feel great about myself, and take it to heart! And that good feeling will make me more positive and active about my career development plan. As well as everything else really, one good session at school, and I’m going into every other lesson raring to go!
And in fact, my personal and anecdotal points aside, the government has recognised it too. In April 2014, the Careers Statutory Guide was published, and under the paragraph 17 “What must the governing body do?” one of the points reads: “website access is not sufficient in itself to meet the statutory duty”. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a huge benefit to having the online resources. And in fact a completely effective careers guidance programme will not be possible without using websites like Prospects, or the NCS. The point is that we need more than just the online resources. This has to be combined with the opportunity to sit down on a regular basis with someone that you can get to know (and who knows you) and trust, and will listen to. Only then will young people be encouraged to get excited for their career development and write their own career story.