Our careers qualifications are causing a commotion!

Remember the days of NVQs? I can confidently claim that some national standards became SO “watered down” that, for many candidates, undertaking their qualification became nothing more than a box-ticking exercise. They were lucky if they saw their Assessor once a month!

Not the case with the Develop-meant and Always Consult team! We pride ourselves on “the personal touch”. Even though we use modern technology to support our delivery, the staff we train tell us there’s nothing more rewarding than attending our underpinning knowledge workshops and meeting their Assessor on a regular basis.

Take the OCR Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development, for example. Practitioners need a friendly face to guide them through. The standards require unpicking, there’s research to do and a lot of prep before assignments are written, or Professional Discussions are recorded.

It’s the first time in a while that a qualification in the careers sector has had an impact on practice. Staff claim the Unit on Labour Market Information has really made them consider how much they DON’T know about employment and trends locally, nationally and in Europe. The module on Careers Theory has reinforced that careers guidance isn’t just “a cosy chat” and there is some “science” behind what Advisers deliver. The programme also focuses, among other things, on reflective practice and Continuing Professional Development. Staff have the opportunity to take a step back and consider their role in the careers industry, recognise their skills and strengths and take action on how they can improve their practice.

It’s great to have a choice with the range of qualifications on offer at the moment. If the Level 6 sounds scary, newbie Careers Advisers can undertake the Level 4 Diploma in Career Information and Advice. For staff who don’t work in the careers sector yet still advise clients on a multitude of topics, we deliver the OCR Level 3 Certificate in Advice and Guidance and the Level 4 Diploma for more experienced professionals.

If you’re interested in one of our qualifications, get in touch! Together we’ll determine the programme that’s right for you and bespoke our delivery to meet your learning style. With payment options available if you’re self-funding and a boatload of glowing testimonials to our name, you’ve come to the right place!

Drop us a line at adrian@develop-meant.com

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Do employers expect too much of young people?

I’ve worked with young people for the last 20 plus years. When I ask fellow business bods what they want to see from the youngsters they employ, interestingly enough good literacy, numeracy and IT skills rarely crops up! What I AM hearing is: there’s a lack of self-awareness and confidence, poor verbal communication skills, the inability to confess: “I haven’t any more work to do, what would you like me to do next?” or: “I’m stuck, can you help me?”

I’ve burrowed down into these comments over the last few years and this whole discussion can be flipped on its head. More often than not – particularly with some smaller employers (although the big boys don’t get away scot-free!) it’s the lack of induction into company policies, procedures and protocols that have tripped up many young ‘uns.

I spoke to one boss who said: “We had this lad, good kid, bit shy. He was with us for three days, didn’t turn up on Thursday. I had to ring him. Turns out he was sick…” Mr Employer, did you inform him he had to contact you before 9am? The answer was in the negative!

I also found that several Managers weren’t particularly good Mentors – very little time, patience or empathy with their newbie recruits.

I still haven’t sussed out a confident answer to the original question! Do you think employers have this assumption that young people are learning all about themselves, the world and careers at school? I know, to some degree, they are. Some schools better than others. Should employers take more responsibility for making links into education AND mentoring, training and developing the school leavers they employ?

Some Year 11 pupils have no interest in “careers”

I often work in schools with Careers Advisers observing them in action for their careers qualifications. Some of them choose a Unit on delivering group work sessions to clients.

From my experience, careers staff work really hard on the preparation and planning for this module. Group work delivery is usually outside their “comfort zone”. They’re keen to develop a programme that meets all learning styles, keeps students engaged and – most important – is fun. Often Advisers will invite employers to get involved in an attempt to keep things “real”.

So, why is it that – particularly when I’m sat in a room with Year 11 students – I want to crawl into a corner and die?! I’ve worked with children and young people for nearly 25 years and it’s very rare I “knock” youngsters, however, it can be NO coincidence that I often observe absolutely appalling and disrespectful behaviour from young people.

Put it this way, I went to a school in Wolverhampton that didn’t have the best of best reputations, however, I don’t remember ANY of my classmates behaving so badly, particularly if someone from the “outside world” had taken the trouble to visit and present.

I wouldn’t still be working in this amazing sector if I couldn’t relate to young people and share my experiences with the staff who support them. However, if my collective experience of late is anything to go by then – blimey!

The teachers present in these sessions- who are ultimately responsible for monitoring behaviour – do their utmost and are usually no “push over”. The attitude of some young people I see is bordering on arrogant with a complete lack of interest, i.e. “This means nothing to me!”

Can you fathom out what’s going on here? I’m not sure I can! Is it a society thing? Behavioural? Education not prepping young people for “the real world”? Lack of importance given to careers? Careers IAG delivered in more innovative ways?

HELP!

Careers Guidance staff focus on the future!

December was the month when Develop-meant with Always Consult helped inspire Telford and Wrekin careers professionals with a mini-conference called “Count Me In!”

Future Focus offers information, advice and guidance to young people so they make well-informed, realistic career decisions. The conference was designed to help staff recognise their achievements, plan for the future and move the service forward.

The day started with a celebration of success! Staff were asked to identify what Future Focus had achieved since its transition from the Connexions service and what they valued most about each other. There was a real buzz in the air! The team found that taking time out for this kind of recognition was not only enjoyable, it helped boost morale which would have a marked effect on future performance.

One of the objectives of the day was to investigate “The Circle of Influence”. The Advisers had to consider the facets of the business they could change and improve. As a result, a “Future Focus Action Plan” evolved. The group also contributed to the design of their new Mission Statement. Everyone was delighted the service now had a clearly-defined statement to help promote the organisation’s goals.

Future Focus Team Leader, Tara Foran, said: “I’m extremely pleased with the input from the group and the results from the day.” Service Delivery Manager, Sue Marston commented: “It’s the best away day I’ve ever been on!”

Based on feedback from the delegates – a great day was had by all!

future focus

Future Focus staff writing nice things about each other on their away day