Recently, when I was feeling slightly unwell with various symptoms that do not usually appear together, I looked them up on a ‘Diagnose Yourself’ website. I was able to click on a diagram of a body to show where each symptom appeared and then indicate what the symptom was. After only a moment, I had a list of possible complaints to choose from.
So, how is this relevant to Careers work?I see a direct parallel between my experience of finding out about my medical condition, and someone searching for information about careers. In the past they would have had to go to a Careers Library, usually in a Careers Centre, School or College, where there would be someone to help them find the information they needed.
Now, it is so easy to look things up online, and young people particularly prefer this means of finding information. There is almost limitless information available at the click of a mouse. Surely this must be a good thing? Well, yes, but it is often nearly impossible to know how accurate, unbiased and up-to-date online careers information is, and if decisions are made on the basis of inaccurate information, it could have far reaching consequences. Much better that someone is signposted to a trustworthy source of online information – and this requires intervention from ‘someone who knows’, preferably a careers professional.
At a time when the Government is indicating that much of the Information, Advice and Guidance provided by the new All-age service will be online, my concern is about how accessible this will be, and who will be providing the IAG. For me, unmediated careers information is possibly even more dangerous than no information. When people are making decisions which may affect their whole lives, we should not settle for less than the best.
Oh, and my mild case of Bubonic Plague cleared up without treatment the next day.