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

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Education as a route to acquiring voice?

In his ‘foreward’ to Paulo Friere’s ‘Pedagogy of the oppressed’, Richard Shaul acknowledges the ‘culture of silence’ and the role of education as a route to ‘acquiring voice’ and a recent interview I engaged with for my EdD, has inspired me to reflect on my role as an educator, as a researcher and as a narrator.  I wonder how much of who I am, how I am and what I think and do promotes the acquisition of voice within others, particularly those who belong to a socially oppressed group. 
Friere refers to ‘conscientizc√°o’ and presents that the perceived caveat of procuring forums for these perhaps otherwise unheard voices is that the critical consciousness will instigate anarchy. As the oppressed and the oppressors are engaged in an interchange, this so-called inevitable ‘destructive fantacism’ is just as readily a ‘fear of freedom’.  In reflecting upon my own contribution to and perhaps even my obligation to this, I consider that it is about what we do and also about what we do not do to encourage critical consciousness.  
Referring to a video about racism I saw as part of my basic youth work training many years ago, ‘Me feel it’, much of what restricts and oppresses the voices of others happens silently, covertly and sometimes unintentionally.  The person I interviewed for my study stated that: ‘…me as a black person growing up in a white society and having to experience what I have and a lot of other black people have experienced these things…for me to sit in a class room now and listen to some of these phrases and some of these references, I’m thinking ‘ how out of date is it’ you know and what is it, what makes it right for us to follow these people’s processes by the letter?’. 
A final thought, drawing on Friere’s assertions is the importance of perceiving ‘the reality of oppression not as a closed world from which there is no exit, but as a limiting situation which they can transform’.  I hope that my own critical awareness will help to fuel the necessary transformation in my own work, because if education is a route to acquiring voice, then we as educators need to examine the interpersonal, contextual and material in a bid to open the necessary doors to ease this exit.
Jo Oliver

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

All Change and All-Age

Our Minister of State for Education, John Hayes announced the New All-Age Careers Service on Nov 4th 2010 and during his speech made the following statement:

‘A single, unified careers service would provide major benefits in terms of transparency and accessibility. And a single service with its own unique identity would have more credibility for people within it as well as users than the more fragmented arrangements that are currently in place.

There are a range of other benefits, including the ability to support young people more effectively during their transition to adulthood. And that’s why creating an all-age service will be one of my and my Departments’ most important tasks over the coming months and years.

As we go about this, it’s important to recognise that we’re not starting from scratch. On the contrary, we will build on Next Step, and on Connexions because we must not lose the best of either’.

In advocating this, I am certainly under no illusions about the Spending Review settlement. But if we are going to create the sort of comprehensive guidance service that I and many others think we need, then we will simply have to do more with less’

Fine words—but how does this relate to reality?

Take, for a start, not wanting to lose the best of Connexions. What I actually see is Connexions centres with large CLOSED notices scrawled across their premises, careers advisers pulled out of schools and many receiving redundancy notices. If the careers advisers are not in the schools and the Centres are disappearing, I do wonder how this can be keeping the best of Connexions?

Secondly, there is the ominous ‘doing more with less’. Is this actually possible? Well, given the wonders of modern technology, the Minister may actually be lucky with this one. My own experience of delivering telephone guidance for the Open University opened my eyes to just how effective this can be and it is certainly a more economical option, both for the client and guidance company, than face to face. So with an innovative approach, utilising the latest advances in technology ( I am not suggesting that the telephone falls into this category!) I believe Mr Hayes may ( just) have a chance of genuinely achieving more with less!

During his speech he also emphasised the need to continue to improve the status of the profession and the need for continuing professional development. This has to be good, and is already happening with the new LLUK Level 6 Diploma for adult guidance professionals and the Task Force recommendation of level 7 qualifications as the standard within 5 years.

Another theme was the partnership he expected to see between professional guidance practitioners and the schools who will be able to buy their services in. It was clear that he feels strongly that schools should buy in independent, impartial, professional career guidance for their pupils, however, it also was obvious that who the school purchase this from will be the decision of the individual school. In my opinion this will lead to a very variable provision with only some schools being prepared to pay for quality provision for all pupils, especially if they have to do this out of reduced budgets.

So what do the changes really mean?

John Hayes’ speech demonstrated that he is a champion of change to a better, more professional career guidance provision for all ages of client but the worry is that he may well be thwarted by the present funding cuts and other s in power that do not have his own convictions .

Time will tell.

Please click on the above title to link to the ICG website where you can read or listen to the John Hayes speech in full.

Barbara Shottin