Welcome to Space4Careers

Welcome to Space4Careers, the blog of the Centre for Career & Personal Development at Canterbury Christ Church University. This blog does what it says on the tin, it provides an opportunity for anyone who is interested in all aspects of careers work to find a little bit of space in their busy lives to think about current issues and trends. If you like or dislike, agree or disagree with what you see, please respond and let us have your views. We'd love to hear from you.

Please note, the content of this blog represents the views of the individual blogger, not those of

Canterbury Christ Church University.

View the website for the Centre for Career and Personal Development

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Gender Stereotyping

It was in 2007 that I heard a conversation on Radio 4’s ‘woman’s hour’ with the then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone . He was berating careers advisers in schools for ‘still assuming that girls would want to do “caring, teaching, nursing”.’ I rather dismissed this and did what I normally do – shout at the radio! However I was recently shown some destination figures for last year’s leavers which suggest that about 75% of girls still choose to begin their careers in the ‘5Cs’ – Caring, Catering, Cleaning, Cashiering and Clerical. Will the new statutory principle to challenge gender stereotypes do anything to change things? I’d like to think so, and I’m sure that introducing career learning into the primary years will help. However until we engage more with parents, anything we deliver to young people may be whistling in the wind. Should we be doing more to work with parents so that not only gender stereotyping can be challenged, but aspirations more generally are addressed? Part of the Parent Guarantee says that parents should have access to information advice and guidance so that they can support their children’s choices. Will this help or are these perceptions of what girls and boys can do too deeply engrained?
Anne Chant

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Is Careers Guidance Training ageist?

With the development of the new Adult Advancement and Careers Service comes the introduction of a new qualification for those working as career guidance practitioners with adults.  LLUK have worked hard to establish this Diploma as a minimum level 6, and it is likely that universities may run it at post graduate level 7 –the latter being the same level as the current Qualification in Career Guidance (QCG).  The difference is that the QCG consists of 120 credits, the new Adult Diploma will be 60 credits.  The QCG has traditionally been aimed at those wanting to work with young people although many graduates from the programme successfully pursue careers in the adult career guidance sector.

I have a few questions:

Do you feel there is such a difference between working as a careers professional with young people and working as a careers professional with adults that we really require two different qualifications?

Do you think we need a different knowledge base? Do we need different skills or do we use the same skills in different ways?

Why do you think it is that the adult qualification will be only half the size of the QCG?  Does working with adults really require less knowledge or fewer skills, hence a shorter programme of study?

I personally wonder if there are not as many differences between the work with different groups of adults (professionals, women returners, unemployed, ex prisoners etc) as there are differences between working with young people and adults?

What do you think?  I am currently working on developing the Adult Diploma and would really like to have your thoughts.
Barbara Shottin

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Reading in silence and wonder!

Recently I read an article by Finn Thorbjorn Hansen and Norman Amundson (2009) which was inspirational! It is called, Residing in silence and wonder: career counselling from the perspective of ‘being’. The authors recognise the difficulty when asking for a more spiritual and moral approach to career counselling. Drawing on what is referred to as ‘philosophical counselling’ (p. 32) they argue for ‘felt presence’, and not rushing to solutions that close down the opportunity for more meaningful engagement. As an example of a deeply reflexive approach to career counselling that is truly centred on the ‘client’, they write about ‘stillness, openness and undoing’ (p.34), as is evident in the following reflection on the counselling process:

A session filled with activity needs to be tempered with a willingness to just “be” in the situation. Certainly this involves periods of silence, but it is more than just sitting quietly. At the most fundamental level it means that I need to have a sense of patience, self-assurance and confidence that the activities will be helpful if I just stay with them. This process proceeds at its own pace (often slower than I would like) and it is important that I don’t try to force the situation (p.33).

Inspired to read more?  The reference is below.
Hazel Reid

Hansen, F.T. & Amundson, N. (2009) Residing in silence and wonder: career counselling from the perspective ‘being’. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, Vol 9, 1, 31-43.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Today's the day

Well, the campaigning is over and the polls are open. I don’t know about you, but deciding who to vote for this time around has been much more difficult for me.  Like lots of other people I watched the leaders’ debates on TV, so now I can name a Liberal Democrat! But by the time I watched the third debate no-one seemed to have anything new to say.

So what might the result of the election mean for career guidance?  Thirteen years ago who would have thought that the world of careers would fare so badly under New Labour?  Of course the Tories have promised an all age careers service as our friends and colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have.  But where will the money come from?  Particularly remembering that money for career guidance in England is no longer ring-fenced, but put into the coffers of local authorities.  The recent strategies (Quality Choice and Aspiration and Impartial Careers Education) seem positive, but what can we expect in the light of public sector cuts?  And the Lib Dems?  If you live in Doncaster Central, Glasgow North or Runnymede and Weybridge you could vote for some fellow career guidance professionals!

Barbara Bassot

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Making Plans for Nigel

I recently heard the XTC song 'Making Plans for Nigel' again after 30 years!

It made me think about how the process of making decisions about career choice is perceived by people other than careers professionals.  It's not clear from the song whether it's parents making plans, or other adults, but Nigel seems not to have much say in this.  They do recognise, though, that 'He must be happy in his work'.

As careers professionals we want young people to make their own, informed choices about their futures.  Parents and other adults have a part to play in supporting their young people, but I suspect that many see their role as very like that of Nigel's parents - making the best decisions for their children.  We need to empower young people to make their own choices - perhaps we need a new song for 2010: 'Nigel is Making Plans for Himself'!  Perhaps we also need to consider that Nigel may now be the parent of a young person, and may want his children to have a different experience.

Apart, of course, from the Careers Officer in 'Kes' what other media portrayals of 'careers' can you think of - and what messages do they send?

Alison Fielding