How to provide meaningful careers advice for your students this term

Ross Maloney

Ross is the Chief Executive of The Skills Show - the UK’s biggest skills and careers event.

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Helping your students choose a career can be a complicated and confusing process.

The worlds of education and employment are changing so fast, many teachers can be overwhelmed by the opportunities available to their students and some prefer to stick to “what they know”.

Independent research from the Association of Colleges published in 2012 gave a clear indication of the problems facing teachers when trying to assist in this area: 82% of teachers believe they lack sufficient knowledge to advise pupils effectively on careers.

So what can teachers do to assist their students in selecting the right career and ensure their term plan includes the delivery of meaningful careers advice? Ross Maloney, Chief Executive of The Skills Show, has the following advice:

  • What do your students actually want to do? Get them to sit down and really think about it – their own ideas on a future career path may differ from your own, but it is important to remember that a happy worker will always be more satisfied than one who is pigeonholed into a career they do not want.
  • We all know that work can be rewarding, fulfilling and sometimes even fun – but it is work! Students need to realise that, without it, the basics of life may be harder to come by (a home, a car, pocket money!)
  • Encourage your students to research the careers of people in the public eye that they admire, to see if they have taken an unexpected route to success. Theo Paphitis, for example, started his career as an apprentice and worked his way to the top.
  • Encourage your students to talk to you about your career and that path you have taken. They could also talk with their family, friends and neighbours – knowledge is power!
  • Investigate whether it is possible to arrange some work experience for your students within your college or school – having a go will give them a real taster.
  • What are your students really passionate about? They are far more likely to succeed in these subjects, and the jobs and careers associated with them, than those that they feel they “must” study.

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