What to expect from a Careers Interview…

One thing that seems to be endemic in most of the discussion about careers advice is, often without too much qualification, how rubbish it was. Indeed  this can be reported by everyone from cabinet ministers downwards without much argument or moderation. One interesting report on this area of careers was carried out by Edge Hill University in a project funded by HEFCE on how working class undergraduates made their decision. One of the fascinating aspects I found was the session on “Reversing previous experience of Careers”,  as they said in their report “It emerged that contact at school or college had been patchy, and was not always with qualified careers advisers. The workshops enabled staff to de-bunk misconceptions, and explain the differences between university and school careers provision. To enhance students’ perception of a quality service, staff placed greater emphasis on publicising the regional and national awards gained by the Careers Centre.”

The whole report is worth reading http://www.prospectsnet.com/cms/ShowPage/Home_page/Main_Menu___News_and_information/Graduate_Market_Trends_2008/Working_Class_Students__the_Career_Decision_Making_Process_and_Employability__Autumn_08_/p!ebXXXdd and perhaps will be reflected on when the discussion of careers advice again is raised on the political agenda.

 

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e-Guidance & Virtual career development – interesting paper from IAEVG

With the continuing rise in the use of the internet, and everything now being prefaced with either ‘e’ or ‘i’ in the brave new world, the aspect of ‘e-guidance’ is coming to the fore with increasing rapidity. An interesting paper from the IAEVG website http://ktl.jyu.fi/img/portal/15150/E-GUIDANCE__VIRTUAL_CAREER_DEVELOPMENT_IAEVG.pdf gives an interesting insight into where things are moving.  Unfortunately the actual definition of e-guidance various with everyone you speak to. For some the fact that you can email careers questions is e-guidance, whilst for others this barely qualifies as such a thing. Although the government has already got some work going in the area with www.careersadvice.gov.uk and www.connexions-direct.com they divorce the service they provide from actually seeing people face-to-face. In my experience this is still desired by a propostion of the clients we see and should only be seen as part of the mix rather than all careers guidance being delivered via e-guidance.  With increasing pressure of careers services both at Uni and outside the HE sector this is an area we will be returning to again before to long.

 

Subject Choice and how it can affect earnings…

As we progress through this academic year I’m finding some questions have a familiar ring to them. Not so much from students as from their parents…or indeed other adults with an interest in HE. Basically this refers to the fact that some subjects provide a better change of earning money that others, and that not all subjects are the same in terms of helping you get the famed “Graduate Job” with matching salary.  In its bluntest form this can relate to old issues of Arts subjects verses Science subjects, which is an incredible simplification of a complex area anyway. I believe this is probably related to the BBC post of several years ago which mentioned research showing that ‘A degree in an arts subject reduces average earnings to below those of someone who leaves school with just A-levels, a study shows.’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2823717.stm  Although this was from several years ago it obviously made an impact. Fuller information can be obtained from the governments own stats website. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/STATBASE/ssdataset.asp?vlnk=7431&More=Y  Of course this data can often throw up more questions than answers and we all know of exceptions to the rule, or reasons why the apparent failure to earn the ‘big money’ can be a rational choice by the student. However with all the talk about costs and debt, especially set against the recession we are currently experiencing I don’t think this sort of questioning will be going away anytime soon.  More current stats will be hampered by the fact that the economy which students are entering is very different that the one the data refers to. Watch this space I feel

Higher Education guide – from Connexions in the West Midlands

It is interesting that such minisites as http://www.heguide.org.uk are now appearing. They do provide a useful summary of the HE options and can be promoted by the Connexions Services secure in the knowledge that it ties into a more generic approach to promoting the options at level 4 and above. At it is not tied to any provider it should be seen as impartial and even-handed in what it does.   There seems to be two points of view for this kind of work. One is that it replicates info which can be found elsewhere on the Web, not least from UCAS of course, or indeed other provider such as the local Lifelong Learning Network, (although they are coming to the end of their funding now).  The alternative view is that there is so much info out on the web that it does confuse people and websites such as this one can be a useful starter to progress through what be available.  Perhaps with the increase in students attending university within their regional areas this sort of locally promoted website might grow. Interesting times…

Interesting in working in the NHS, but want to do a non medical degree ?

It is a cliché that the NHS only employs Nurses and Doctors, but even so other options are not always known to everyone. If you are planning to study a degree, whether it is Media Studies or Zoology and have ever thought what you can do with it, why not take a look at this site: http://www.whatcanidowithmydegree.nhs.uk. Great fun to see what you can do with a range of subjects…and you also learn more about Britains largest employer at the same time. approaximately 1.3 million people work in the NHS, could you be one of them ?

A website to help research your study subject

This is the first in an occasional series of websites which I’ve found useful (but are not always well known about). I’ve found this website a useful resource. It can be used with students  who might just have got their GCSE results and are now looking to go onto 6th form study, possibly considering which subjects they might finally take. Or you could use it with students looking at a Diploma or another vocational or occupational course that would still allow them to go onto a degree should they choose. Alternatively a student might be halfway through their studies and now faces completing the UCAS form to apply to University. What help is available for them ?
If you have every wanted to find out about a subject in more depth you probably use the internet, but it can be difficult to find useful, reliable info about a chosen career area even if you use Google. Well now there is a website which has gathered the best of the web for you, and arranged this over the main subject fields covering degree areas from Aeronautical Engineering to Womens Studies. Have a look at this and see if it helps progression with  career choices http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/
There is even an Internet Detective course available to help you sort out the gold from the dross http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/detective/ Everything is free and quality controlled by a national team of lecturers and librarians from UK universities. An excellent resource I think

Which is the best University to study History in ?

If you are an adviser this is often the sort of question you get which can trigger a long and involved discussion. Whilst valuing the need to talk it might be useful to use some impartial source to get some ideas and facts first. In an ideal world what would we want ? Well somebody such as UCAS, which covers all applications to undergraduate study in the UK and another group such as the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) would be a good pairing. If they could show the information on a website that you could look at yourself it would be great. Well now you can. Click on www.unistats.com and you will be able to compare student satisfaction, job prospects, Degree class and progression and what students were doing 6 months after graduation plus even more info. Interesting reading and you can still ask the original question anyway, but it might provoke an even more interesting discussion !  And in case you were wondering…the question to the answer is, or course,  best in what way ?