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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Monday, 19 November 2012

A mild case of Bubonic Plague

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.
I felt rather like ‘J’, the narrator of ‘Three Men in a Boat’ (one of my favourite books), who looked through a medical dictionary and concluded that he ‘had everything except Housemaid’s Knee’. He had to go to the library to look this up, but I was able to get my diagnosis on my laptop while sitting in front of the fire at home.

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.
Alison Fielding

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