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?


5 thoughts on “Some Year 11 pupils have no interest in “careers”

  1. I was one of these people! I did my observed group work at an Ofsted Outstanding school recently and I spent hours preparing but I could not believe how rude and disrespectful many, (of course not all) children were. At the end of one day the careers co-ordinator found me in tears and I am in my 40’s and not the most delicate flower. I then carried on and did fortnightly sessions for 6 months but I was so glad when they decided to increase my interviewing slots and do the group sessions in house. The other school I work in is in special measures so I imagine it would be even worse but I was amazed at how badly behaved the kids at the “good school” . I would refuse to do a session now without a teacher present. My respect for teachers is off the scale after what I went through. As you say….Why

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  2. Thanks Alison – I feel your pain!

    When I delivered, as an Adviser, I DID find myself having to put some behavioural management techniques, however, I’m not a trained teacher.

    Any other experiences out there?


  3. Always been a problem in class size settings since Careers /PHSE not seen as an important/exam subject. I am of the opinion( having retired after 28 years ) that this is a waste of time .Only small group discussion and 1-1 is effective. when people talk about Careers Education at a younger age they overlook the immaturity that most students have until 15 or above .This has now been compounded by recent government policy encouraging students to stay on to FE/HE and defer real decisions until they are in their 20s which I also consider is socially wrong since this impacts on other decision making .The real impact of apprenticeships would occur if the leaving age was actually lowered to 14/15 and a re financing to this from the FE sector which in the main is producing a plethora of courses inconsequential for the students or society at large

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  4. Firstly, a trainee careers adviser should never be left with a group of more than 5-6 pupils at a time without a teacher present, that’s just bad practise. You’re meant to be honing your skills and can’t concentrate on that when doing crowd control at the same time.

    Secondly, I’d say that in many schools careers isn’t give the status it needs to have and the knock on effect is that pupils don’t value it. Reality hasn’t hit home yet, especially if they have not been on work experience and the ‘penny hasn’t dropped’ that they’re not going out there to get a well paid job that has status and good pay without working at it.

    Thirdly, I’d ask if the school has a good careers education programme in place? This is the foundation of great CEIAG, without it pupils don’t have the knowledge or skills required to make sense of the information being given in these group sessions. If a pupil can’t engage with the topic the result is often poor behaviour.

    So my point is, trainee careers advisers, ask questions about the programme that pupils undertake, what are the expected outcomes? Where can you see full details of the scheme of work? If the answer is nowhere, you might like to educate them that Ofsted will expect to see a coherent programme of careers education and activity along with expected outcomes. Oh and don’t expect good behaviour – you’ll have to work on them seeing the point of the sessions first.

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  5. Having trained many years ago I suspect behaviour in classrooms and how this was managed was different. I completed quite a few curriculum themed careers lessons and was well supported by the Careers Co ordinator and teaching staff. Pupils seemed to want to be engaged then. Nowadays, like other people have commented, there seems to be a shift in social responses, is it the case you’re not their regular teacher so they are going to make you earn your stripes or bravado of a few playing to the crowd? Or can they see that the world of work is a move able feast and they’re not sure where they will fit in? To put my comments in context I moved on from careers advising to work as and Intensive Personal Adviser and then manage a large Connexions team whose funding was then moved into Children’s Services…so I moved on. I now project manage education projects for the LA but miss my careers work, there is a definite gap in the support young people need to make informed decisions. Julie

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