In preparation for National Careers Week 2014 (#NCW14) I decided to interview Janet Colledge, Ambassador for the event. Janet is also the Founder and Careers Education Consultant at Outstanding Careers. You can see a full list of National Careers Week Ambassadors here.
National Careers Week runs between 3-7th March.
Q1) How and why did you become an ambassador for NCW14?
I’ve known Nick Newman, the founder of National Careers Week, for some time since his #SaveCareers Twitter campaign. We’d kept in touch via Twitter and I’d taken part in the previous National Careers Weeks when I was in charge of careers education at a school. He asked me way back last summer if I’d like to act as an ambassador. I snapped his hand off to be involved in such an important campaign.
Q2) What are some of the activities that you have planned and how will you be promoting NCW14?
Now I’m no longer a teacher, I spend a lot of my time working with schools to support them in improving their provision. Therefore, my focus has been more advisory rather than planning activities myself. I’ve spoken at a number of events, including the Career Development Institutes’ national conference about how to make the best of NCW. I’ve been tweeting ideas and blogging, as well as responding to people who’ve emailed me for advice. Therefore, my main contribution is that I’ve been putting together Pinterest boards of resources for careers education in schools: http://www.pinterest.com/
You’ll also find resources on the #NCW2014 website http://www.
Q3) How has it been working with Nick Newman and do you see NCW being a sustainable campaign for the future?
Nick is a great person to work with; we share similar ideals, wanting to help young people to understand the realities of the working world, though from different angles, Nick from his desire to promote amongst young people the understanding of what employers want; and me from the educational standpoint. (I’d love to see career development skills at the heart of secondary education much in the same way literacy is). Thus we compliment each other nicely. I should say at this point that I’m only one of 17 ambassadors, all of whom have different skills and qualities that they bring to the role: http://www.
The current groundswell of support for schools to promote work readiness from business leaders, along with the crisis in school provision after the dismantling of the Connexions service has left a gaping chasm in the ability of society to generate work ready young people. So I believe that NCW has a huge role to play in continuing to highlight the need for careers work with and for young people and to encourage development whilst the process of change is ongoing. However, once the stormin’ formin’ normin’ stage has passed, I see NCW becoming a celebration of the excellent work that many dedicated people do on a daily basis to support our young people’s transition from school to work. So yes, it’s here to stay.
Q4) How can one still get involved and what are some tips for creating resources and activities?
YES, YES, YES! Get involved. There’s a tips sheet on the NCW website to get you going and you can sign up on the website and get information and resources, including the NCW guide which I contributed to, emailed to you directly: http://www.
Q5) What do you think would be the challenge in the careers industry over the next few years? And feel free to add anything you want to.
I think the challenge is helping schools to become able to provide a careers programme tailored towards the needs of their pupils. Asking headteachers to commission and judge the effectiveness of careers education, information and guidance is a bit like asking a dentist to perform an appendectomy; they have bits of relevant knowledge but not the whole picture, this has led to a lot of schools either doing nothing, or relying on ‘off the shelf’ computer based packages which cost a fortune, on a yearly basis, but don’t actually fully cover what their pupils need. I should stress it’s not the headteachers’ fault; it’s the current situation and many are doing what they feel is best given their limited experience. Moving on from that position so that every school has either access to a local hub of support or a person inside the school who is knowledgeable enough to be able to support the young people in the way that suits them best is a huge challenge. Bring it on 🙂
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