Interview With National Careers Week 2014 Ambassador Janet Colledge #NCW14

Janet Colledge
Faizan Patankar
Written by Faizan Patankar

outstanding careers

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.

Janet Colledge

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/careersdefender/ One of the boards is specifically for lessons suitable for subject areas to cover during #NCW2014.

You’ll also find resources on the #NCW2014 website http://www.nationalcareersweek.com/resources/  and here http://www.nationalcareersweek.com/careers-zone/  You’ll also find on the website a page dedicated to what individual schools are doing for #NCW2014; there are some really amazing ideas there; such creative work is being done in careers these days. Of course, you’ll also find excellent resources here: http://www.barclayslifeskills.com/  Barclays are forward thinking enough to sponsor NCW and have produced some wonderful materials.

Q3) How has it been working with Nick Newman and do you see NCW being a sustainable campaign for the future?

national careers week

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.nationalcareersweek.com/ambassadors/  Nick has assembled an amazing team!

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.nationalcareersweek.com/get-involved/ If this is your first time getting involved – start small, you’ve got a whole year to plan what you’re going to do for NCW2015 🙂

national careers week poster

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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About the author

Faizan Patankar

Faizan Patankar

I started Career Geek Blog in 2011 to share my experience in job-hunting. I now focus on careers industry and blogging is just a tool to share that info. Love hacking careers. During the day I focus on my hobby - Engineering.

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