Career Paths and Learning Curves

Since I joined the Talentino team at the start of the year, I decided to write about what I have learnt from my foray into the world of Careers Education. From various trips to the House of Commons, to seeing school programmes in action across the country, to my March-time trip to Dusseldorf to see how the Germans do it. Before I go into all of that, I thought it best to give some insight into where I come from, in terms of Careers Ed., and my initial thoughts & feelings.

When I was 16, I sat down in my old Spanish classroom for my Career Guidance in front of a multiple choice questionnaire, which was to help me decide what to do with my future. After completion and analysis, the Career Coach sat down with their print-out of my profile, and gave me my calling in life: Theatre Actor. This sounded great! The costumes, the parties, the amorous eyes as I strut my stuff on the stage every night! There was one minor problem however, that I had never shown the slightest bit of interest in the Performing Arts…

I’m now 23, and my Career Path is not exactly set in stone. I went through Uni (French & Spanish at Surrey), then worked for an IT Start-Up helping to grow their business, and I am now having a great time with Talentino. I know how daunting it is to be presented with the infinite list of jobs out there, and be expected to choose a path. Let alone how to go about it! Unfortunately as far as I knew, careers guidance didn’t get much better than my computer-generated suggestions. Which really made me think when I was at the House of Commons listening to young people talk about what they want from their career development programme (YEUK’s Parliamentary debate on careers education).

One girl stood up and announced that schools focus their career guidance on the university route, where only 53% of students go to university. 53%!! That means that nearly half of young people are basically left to find their own paths outside of uni. After a conversation on how we need more information available on non-uni routes, another contribution was made, from the experience not too different from my own. She told the room that we need to increase the involvement of (and I now have this written in huge letters in my notes surrounded by stars and squiggles) the “Human Element”.   Maybe if I was sat down on a regular basis with someone who got to know me, they might have realised I was not born to be the next Billy Elliot.

As well as this, it was also apparent that young people wanted to hear from employers. At the end of the day, we go through career development to get employed, so it makes sense. What’s interesting here is actually that the government are really ramping up on this now. As many of you will be aware (and probably a large number of you won’t be) Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, has set up a Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC). Announced in December 2014, the plan is that this organisation will make it far easier for businesses & employers to get involved in schools’ career development programmes.  It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few months - let’s hope that, as well as employer engagement, the human element forms a large part of these plans.

Toby Connick

Business Development Manager

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