Thursday, 24 December 2009

Career by Numbers

The following information - Career by Number - has been drawn from the WORK supplement in Saturday's edition of 'The Guardian' newspaper over the past two months, and it can be used  as a 'fun' exercise at the beginning of each month, either in some form of quiz exercise or as a poster competition for Careers of the Month.

Are there benefits in studying abroad?

As we begin a new calender year, and with AS examinations complete, it is perhaps timely for the Year 13 student to focus on options post -18. Quite often careers teachers are asked about higher education opportunities abroad.

Apprenticeships that work

Writing in the 'Times Education Supplement' in October 2008 Joseph Lee commented that given the current recession many young people face more competition in getting onto some apprenticeship programmes than in applying to Oxford and Cambridge! With the shortage of places apprenticeships were among the hardest courses in the country to join. There is no doubt that some teenagers are heading to higher education when an apprenticeship would be a better option.

The Future of Learning

A recent editorial in the'Independent's Careers and Education section suggests that 'in Britain we have never been able to do vocational education properly'. It has always been seen as second-class and low status.  Over the past 25 years of education the notion of 'successful learning' has been narrowed to academic success. There is now this idea that having a vocational qualification somehow means you're not as worthy as the person with the academic qualification.  That has to change.

Entrepreneurs are not born, they are taught!

I read recently where this year was being set aside as Women into Enterprise Year. In one of the local papers was an invitation for women to attend a free introduction to enterprise course at the local Enterprise Centre. It's perhaps timely then to examine the progress of enterprise and entrepreneurship within our schools.When Learning for Life (Employability) became a statutory part of the Revised Curriculum, teachers were charged with bringing the twin concepts of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship to the attention of all KS3 and KS4 pupils.

Why design should be rated alongside science

Even though this particular blog site sets out to look at CEIAG provision for the 16 to 19 year olds, I  took some time out recently to read and reflect on an interesting article  in the Belfast Telegraph outlining plans for primary school children to be given careers advice as young as seven.

Studying 'DownSouth' -Educational Opportunities in the Republic of Ireland

At the recent NI Schools' Careers Association (NISCA) autumn conference in the La Mons Hotel, Belfast Ms Mairead Murphy-Byrne took a very informative and engagaing workshop on the Central Applications Office (CAO) system of application. Her objective was to give careers advice and guidance personnel within schools an insight into the application process for third level institutions in the Republic of Ireland.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

'We've got the WOW factor!'

When researching their degree choices students could be encouraged to examine the level of 'work readiness' as one of their desired selection criteria in either the university itself, or courses in particular. Liverpool John Moores (LJM) has no such worries on this front having taken the decision in 2007 to link up with some major companies in developing the WOW factor (World of Work skills) in their 421 courses.

'What about the money?'

Writing in the Guardian's' Money Section, Saturday 10th October 2009, Huma Qureshi in his article An Education in Financial Planning outlines how a generation of young people saddled with loans and debt need help to untangle the many money challenges facing them after leaving full time schooling.  Learning money management skills is very important work and for me would be an integral module in my sixth form CEIAG programme of work.

Would you like a career as a media technician?

The Belfast Telegraph's Job Finder section on the week ending 17th October carried an interesting article on a career in the media. The search is on for school leavers keen to pursue a career in the technology side of the media industry. The article was particularly timely given the hosting of the most recent Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) conference at Loughry College just the previous day.

Are there any jobs out there?

Given the current economic situation final year students at university positioning themselves to enter the job market in 2010, there isn't much cause for optimism.  This year's graduate market had fewer vacancies and with unemployment continuing to rise, students are bound to feel uncertainty at the very least. Some might be questioning the whole worth of spending money, effort and time on a degree. But is the downturn uniform across all sectors?

Are hospitality ambassadors coming to your school?

A new tourism and hospitality initiative is aiming to bring dynamic industry professionals into the classroom and lecture theatres of schools and colleges and to careers events throughout N.Ireland. People1st click here has developed this particular initiative supported by DEL and the NI Tourist Board through the Skills Action Plan for Hotel and Tourism.  People1st are recruiting those people within its industry who have had a successful career and are passionate about outlining the advantages of the industry to the next generation of employees/recruits across the province.

Scientists reveal that most babies born in Britain today will live past the age of 100!!

I'm startled to think that my two grand-daughters, born in March 2008, are likely to be living well into the first decade of the 22nd century! How will work have changed to cope with this increasing age profile? Here's an opportunity for you to explore the topic of age in your 'Futures' module in Year 13. Click here
Writing in the 'Sunday Observor' 27/9/2009, Robin McKee and Anuskha Asthana, reported that the Academy of Medical Sciences into old age revealed that 'healthy life expectancy is increasing at least as quickly as life expectancy!

We must prepare now for the jobs of the future!

In the aftermath of the recent STEM click here conferences at CAFRE Greenmount (9/10/2009) and CAFRE (Loughry), which focused on the food and drink, agri-food and land-based occupational sectors ( The agri-food sector is one of the FIVE key sectors identified by the recent Matrix Report click here for potential growth in NI..) there is a key challenge for schools and employers as the need for identifying, investing in and utilising the right skills, both now and over the longer term, is vital to sustain and grow the economy. This exercise in skills development will be critical to ensuring the north emerges strongly from the current downturn.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Modern Languages - is it over for German?

In her article in the 'Guardian' (22/09/09), Jessica Shepherd asks if it's all over for German.

Queens University, Belfast has ruled that this year's 20 undergraduates studying German will be its last. It states that student demand is 'unsustainably low'.The language will continue as an extra curricular study.  In October, the University of Leicester will debate a proposal from senior management to close its German department in 2013. Just 64 out of 116 universities in the UK are offering German as part of a degree.The subject has been available at UK universities for the past 125 years! In the 1950's it was particularly popular.The number of students taking German at both GCSE and A-level continues to drop.

Does Subject Choice really determine life chances?

Is university entrance now the real National Lottery? Trevor Fisher, Head of History at a Midlands Tertiary College writing in 'the Independent' (17/9/09) is posing this question in the light of changes to A Level grading in 2010 and the lack of consistency regarding university entrance requirements.

Rebranding Bournemouth University

In the early 80's when my sixth form students were searching for a higher education course that would address their interest in the burgeoning tourism and leisure industries, many were drawn to the attractions of the Bournemouth course despite its polytechnic status back then.  Today, Bournemouth is a flourishing university on the sunny south coast - a World Heritage coastline. Such beauty is mirrored in its many high quality academic offerings.

Monday, 14 September 2009

STEM Conference to focus on Careers in Food, Environmental & Land-Based Industries

At the upcoming STEM conference for Careers Teachers in early October, IMPROVE and LANTRA Sector Skills Council will introduce a wide range of career opportunities for young people within the food & drink and environmental & land based  industries. The STEM conferences offer teachers a unique opportunity to highlight ONE of the 25 Sector Skills on their careers notice-board so that young people are reminded of the opportunities, both local and further afield, that lie within each sector.

More companies encouraged to take on 'young workers.'

In an attempt to stave off the 'lost generation' of young people affected by the recession, the Government has called on both public and private sector employers to consider taking on young apprentices. At the beginning of September 2009, an extra 85,000 jobs and training opportunities were announced as part of a British government drive to stem the rising tide of youngsters joining the dole queue.

Preparing for Interview

Young people in Sixth Form need the benefits of continuous practice in rehearsing key interview techniques given that demand for entry into competitive third level courses requires them to demonstrate motivation and commitment at interview level.

Importance of Maths at GCSE level

From my career guidance work with young people over the past month I have been encouraging them to ensure that they can attain at least level "B" grade at GCSE.