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.

As it's National Careers Week, I would like to share some of my top tips that will help students choose the right career.

1. Make it fun and widen your choices

Using online resources is a great way to explore your options. Planning your future should be fun. You could be working abroad or working in a profession yet to be invented - the world is your oyster. What can be more exciting than thinking about where you could be in five years time? Don’t forget to research careers you have not heard of before. For example, you may enjoyed maths, and the obvious choice might be an Accountant, but what about an Actuary or Quantity Surveyor, to name but two alternatives?

The government’s vision is to improve social mobility so that no-one is prevented from fulfilling their potential. As part of their Strategy for Social Mobility, new destination measures are being introduced for Key Stage 4 and 5 students which will focus on their progress after leaving school, college or a training provider.

The new destination measures will ensure that all students:

  • Achieve qualifications which provide them with the best opportunities for their future

  • Receive the help, support and advice necessary to enable them to make choices about their next steps in education, training and/or employment and make successful transitions.

The new statutory guidance for schools was published on 26th March 2012 and provides guidance on delivering impartial careers guidance in schools. With this new responsibility on headteachers and school staff, we take a look at the implications.

New duty for schools

The Education Act 2011, established late last year, places schools under a new duty in terms of providing careers guidance for pupils in years 9-11 in England. Schools will be expected to provide ‘independent and impartial careers guidance’ for their students from September 2012. The statutory guidance for providing careers guidance has been published with a recent statement from John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning: “The publication of this new statutory guidance marks an important step as schools prepare for the introduction of the new legal duty to secure independent careers guidance from September. Schools will be expected to work in partnership with external and expert careers guidance providers, as appropriate, to ensure pupils get good advice on the full range of post-16 options. The statutory guidance makes it clear that face-to-face careers guidance can benefit pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to make informed choices and successful transitions.”

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