Monday, 6 December 2010

What is it that makes geography graduates so employable?

I am indebted to Richard Garner for writing so lucidly and informatively about geography in last Thursday's edition of the 'Independent' ( 2nd December).  This writer poses the question that in a tough job climate what is it about those with geography degrees that makes them so employable?

Addressing the gender divide - making the case for Physics

If one accepts what futurologists tells us that retention of STEM subjects provides one with the best opportunity to be employed in the high end skilled sector of work in the years ahead, then it is indeed encouraging to read this piece from the Joint Council for Qualifications published at the beginning of September.
Physics: number of A-level entrants soars beyond 30K

Check out these interesting resources and downloads

Two diagnostic online career tools GRO and CareerUnlocker are being launched by the Careers Advisory Service (CAS) at the university of Reading. These take a holistic view of career development learning (CDL) and Personal Development Planning (PDL) and are available FREE of charge.

Apprenticeships - Opening doors to a better future!

As careers teachers we are all currently concerned with the competition for places irrespective of whichever option our young people are considering post-16.  In an earlier piece written on apprenticeship, I encouraged careers teachers to provide a noticeboard, prominently placed in the school, specifically detailing opportunities for national apprenticeship applications.

Career opportunities highlighted within the Sector Skills Councils (SSC)

In Career Guidance Today Volume 18.3 July 2010 Helen Barrett, Careers Executive, GoSkills, makes a strong case for considering passenger transport as a potential career area to research and reflect upon especially as there may be exciting opportunities for young people in such varied field as
designing transport systems, engineering high speed trains, or directing aircraft.

Entrepreneurship - Encouragement to make a job, not take a job!

A number of interesting articles have crossed my path recently confirming what many writers, economists and politicians, commenting on the parlous state of the current economy, feel is perhaps the best way forward out of the current recession. The message coming out is more encouragement for all to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career option.

Half of women believe their gender affects chances of being hired

I came across this interesting piece of research from the Institute of Career Guidance (ICG) news and felt that it would be a useful stimulus to provoke discussion and debate on issues of gender especially as it relates to one of the six KS4 LLW Statements of Minimum Entitlement - Investigate recruitment and retention, rights and responsibilities in the workplace. Arguably, this challenging topic of equality and diversity in the workplace should be an integral part of any careers teachers' 14 to 19 CEIAG programmes of work.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Languages - a crucial addition to today's CV

Giving up a language too soon can affect one's career prospects.  In our competitive global market place the demand is increasing exponentially and employers are valuing multi lingual employees who have the skills and expertise to operate in international environments.
I'm indebted to Kathryn Board, Chief Executive of CILT National Centre for Languages, who contributed such an informative article on modern languages in the Independent 15th October 2009. Read more

Interesting resources and downloads to explore

As this is the final blog for the 2009/2010 academic year I thought I would sign off by providing you with some interesting resources and downloads for you to peruse in your own time over the coming months so that, if you feel they are relevant to your programme of work for 2010/2011, you can integrate them.

New courses - new opportunities!!

I feel it appropriate in this the last Blog for 2009/10 that I pinpoint a number of new job opportunities that have come to my attention over the past month and which might provide some discussion with sixth form students in the new term.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

New University for Derry - a stimulus for the future?

Derry's euphoria from winning the UK City of Culture 2013 has not yet died down.  Whether it will be a sufficient enough incentive to get university aspirants to consider Derry as a venue in the same way as they view either Belfast or Jordanstown remains to be seen! Allied to this is an ambitious plan drawn up various business and community leaders to create new university conditions in the city by 2020. The intention is to lift the city and the North West region, both academically, and importantly, economically as it sets about challenging decades of economic inactivity, high unemployment and few opportunities for higher skills development. Read more

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Widen your search for Apprenticeship opportunities

In my final piece on Apprenticeship for the academic year 2009/10 I was struck by an article in the Belfast Telegraph on Tuesday 27th April 2010 when Symon Ross informed us that the Engineering Training Council (ETC) was inviting applications for more than 100 engineering apprenticeships to begin in September.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Making informed decisions about your future

Writing in The Independent, Thursday 18th March 2010, Lucy Hodge comments positively on a new website giving wannabe students vital information about drop out rates and earnings. Read more

How many students comment on the poor or inadeqaute advice they received while at school about higher education and how many end up in their courses more by luck than design.

David Willetts, the Shadow higher education spokesman is spearheading the site.  For the first time data on employment, careers and salaries are brought together in one place to help students to make the right choices of institution and subject for them.

Uni life!

Lucy Tobin is a 23 year graduate from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, with a First in English achieved in 2008. She is currently working in London as a journalist and her work appears regularly in national newspapers including the Guardian, Sunday Times, and Daily Mail.  This is her first book.
There is little doubt that in making the transition from second level to third level 'survival' at university requires quite a few skills that need addressing in any current sixth form learning for life and work (LLW) programmes of work. I would like to think this book might inform decisions about any meaningful sixth form PSHE/CEIAG schemes of work.

Carbon Zero NI - The 'Greening' of FE Courses

On Monday 29th March 2010, The South West College unveiled a 'green' training initiative to support job opportunities in the fast growing renewable energy sector.

Supported by industry heavyweights; NIE, Bombardier and B9 Energy and funded by Department of Employment and Learning (DEL), the new 'Carbon Zero NI' programme aims to develop and deliver green educational and training programmes within the FE sector ensuring NI can compete in the multi-billion pound global 'clean and green' market.

Thinking entrepreurially!

The Ministerial foreward in A Guide to Enterprise Education states that

Young people today often say they want to be their own boss, to start their own company or to make  a living from a personal passion. Enterprise Education will help them to do that successfully, to their own benefit and that of the economy and the local community.
Ian Wright MP Parliamentay Under Secretary for 14-19 Reform and Apprenticeship

Being enterprising is the ability of individuals, groups and businesses to repond to change, take risks, to innovate and generate and implement new ideas and new ways of doing things.  Put simply, enterprise is having ideas and making them happen.

The future of apprenticeships lies in the hands of employers

The Building Services Engineering sector (BSE) has developed an excellent reputation across the sector with employers supporting and investing in employer-led apprenticeship training.

This approach has developed quality training in the workplace and is supported by directed learning off-the-job.  The employer-led approach ensures that much more of the apprentices' skills development is carried out on-the-job alongside qualified and experienced employees.

Doing it for the kids!

Of late social work as a career has come in for some bad press.  Anna Tims writing in the Guardian on the 21st March 2010 put it most succinctly when she reported,

'In the good times social work is ignored by the comfortable majority.  In the bad, it is relentlessly, damningly publicised!'

The Oscar nominated actor, Samantha Morton spoke last year of the 'wonderful' social workers who supported her as a child as she helped to launch a national campaign aimed at recruiting more people into the profession. She is backing a campaign to recruit more than 5,000 social workers for vulnerable children, adults and families. The Help Give Them a Voice TV campaign is being fronted by a number of leading celebrities, and comes amid fears that recent bad press will deter people from choosing social work as a career.The Children's Secretary wants a more confident, better resourced, and better trained profession.

'Avatar and The Bournemouth supremacy'

With so much educational press written of late on the importance of Science,Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and career opportunities, I particularly enjoyed Lucy Tobin's insightful article in the Guardian (6th March 2010) into the making of the recent sci-fi blockbuster 'Avatar.' The article considers the work done in the different departments of Bournemouth university where expertise is shared in the complimentary disciplines of computer technology and design technology to produce arguably the most talked about film of the year.Read more

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Bioscience for Life!

Each time I launch a new blog I will try and open up a potential STEM job growth area for you to consider undertaking some practical exercises for groups within the school.  At the beginning of this new decade and in keeping with the theme of this month's blog - JOBS IN 2020 - I want to highlight BIOSCIENCES as a career area for you to focus on during the month of March. I would like you to consider using a sample of the sixth form science students as 'experts' on Biosciences to work with KS3 pupils in preparation for GCSE subject choice. Perhaps I could ask you to liasise with your science department in producing some poster display materials to be viewed by younger pupils in the school.(Material is available free of charge) read more 

Planning: a career for people who want to keep growing after they grow up

What did you want to be when you grew up?
Not many 5 year olds dream about being town planners when they grow up. But when being an astronaut, ballerina or train driver starts to look a bit less realistic, it’s a career your students or clients should consider. They may not play with building blocks any more, but through planning they can shape the world around them and help build a better future.

How will you earn a living in 10 years time? Key skills for the next decade?

How will you earn a living in ten years time? The way we work in 2020 will be shaped by those entering the workforce - pupils like those currently in their KS3 years!

If we were to ask them what kind of jobs they expected to be doing in 2020 what would their answers be - TV/film director; barrister; accountant; designer; journalist; police work; professional sports person; actor; doctor etc and what do they want from work? Money? status? or to have a job that's fun enjoyable, helping people, making a real difference?

Perhaps there is an opportunity for you to engage your sixth form students conducting just such a survey with Years 8, 9 or 10 to find out what kind of future they foresee for themselves. The results could really provoke interesting discussions on the skills required to address their many career ambitions! 

What careers don't you need mathematics for?

"Theatre design, climate change modelling, designing computer games: What careers don't you need mathematics for?

In December 2009, Kate Bellingham, the government's career champion for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects launched

Talking about how maths made her career, Kate suggests that the great thing about maths was that the further you took it, the further it takes you. Her passion for the subject underlined how much she'd done in her own career to date: physics, sound engineering, teaching, TV presenting (formerly on BBC's Tomorrow's World), promomoting science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for the government.

The future of universities in a knowledge economy.

It is vital to the economy to have flourishing universities, as Presidents Obama and Sarkozy know.
Editorial The Independent 18.02.2010

Lord Mandelson, the secretary of state for business, innovation and skills is pushing universities to use 'contextual data' to accept students with lower graded A-levels, or none at all, if they show potential despite being held back by social disadvantage, poor health or a difficult home life. But how does this tie in with cuts to university budgets, restrictions on the number of students, unprecedented numbers applying for degree courses and soaring A-level results? It all adds up to intense competition for places and large numbers of disappointed applicants. The economic climate means more students will be likely to apply to university, while those who didn't get places last year may re-apply, and there will be less available to pay for them. Everything it would appear is being squeezed at the same time!

Be Skilled, Be Qualified, Be Paid!

Travelling the two miles recently from Donaghmore to Dungannon by Ulsterbus, I was drawn to the large advertising poster to the back of the driver. The content of which ran something like this;

APPRENTICESHIPS _ Which one works for you?

Be Skilled, Be Qualified, Be Paid

In these recessionary times the Stormont Committee for Employment and Learning has sought to establish why tens of thousands of young people in the North are disengaged from training and employment.
There are some 40,000 NEETS (not in employment, education and training) in the North, many of whom are not willing to participate in alternative provision.

What will work look like in 2020?

As we begin the second decade of the new millennium, Ian Wylie, writing in 'The Guardian' (Saturday 9th January) posits an interesting question for us on what work will look like in 2020. According to futurists, trade unionists and human resource specialists in 10 years' time, jobs will be very, very different. Perhaps now is a good time at the start of a new decade to figure out which sectors, industries and jobs are destined for growth.