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.

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Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Personal Reflections - The Need for Careers Education

Now that my children have left school; one in the final year of a degree course and one in a gap year, I am having some interesting discussions with them about career and how poorly they feel that they were prepared for the choices that they now have to make. Now I like to think that I did my best to plug the gaps in their careers education and guidance but we all know that supporting our own is a very different business to that of supporting others. I did my best to make sure that they knew about alternatives to their own school sixth form and to going on to University. None-the-less they both chose to stay on into the sixth form and to go to University and honestly I had no problem with those decisions. However it is clear to them both now that progression onto higher education was expected by their school and by their peers. Although the ‘odd’ person didn’t do so it was the natural next step. However, like perhaps many young people now they are acutely aware of the financial cost of higher education and that the challenge to ‘get in’ is far from the end of the story. Many of their friends have found themselves unhappy and unprepared at University, in particular those who didn’t take a gap year. Those coming to the end of their degrees are anxious and often unclear what to do next. Now I know that university careers services do a brilliant job but I imagine that they too wish that young people were better prepared for this launch into the world of work. Quite basic things seem to be missing such as good, reflective self awareness, and an understanding of the complexities of the world of work.

As government thinking focuses on what might be described as ‘back to basics’ and less support is given to personal development learning, including career learning in the curriculum, I can only imagine that this situation will get worse. The Browne Report made it clear that impartial guidance was crucial for those deciding on a University degree, especially those paying up to £9,000 pa in tuition fees. However let us not forget that unless we prepare young people well for that guidance and for those decisions it will be left to University careers services to deal with the fall out. Now more that ever before careers professionals need to ensure that young people have every opportunity to learn about themselves and about their opportunities, statutory or not.
Anne Chant