Tag Archives: advice

Careers and routes, usual and unusual, in a difficult time

This point in the year, where A-level students are often finalising university applications, tends to result in a range of repeat articles about what employers want from graduates. Worth a glance, therefore, at that old chestnut in the Telegraph’s latest incarnation of the article.

A more stimulating and interesting take on how keen people are to impress employers comes in the form of this Craigslist experiment. Be careful with your data! But the point remains that applications for jobs vastly, vastly outweigh the number of places available. As school students you’re used to teachers making space in the group for you, welcoming you no matter what, creating opportunities for you. A brutal reality check about how the world won’t help you out is something you need to be braced for. It’s a jungle out there.

If you want more evidence of how bleak the economic picture in the west is, and how hard it is to get (and keep) a job, check out these depressing articles: new graduates are taking jobs for substantially lower pay than those a few years ago, and people are going to work despite being seriously ill in some cases, so desperate are they to avoid giving a bad impression. (Ironically, it can be counter-productive to do this. Having ill workers or students can actually reduce performance in some circumstances by infecting others! But this is a measure of employee fear in some firms.)

All is not misery. Here’s an interesting video on how to get a job at Dyson, one of the UK’s most innovative employers; an article explaining that degrees are not the only route to success; and an interesting article about getting girls into science – why do people think you have to advertise in lipstick to get girls’ attention? And remember just how wide a range of people can achieve success in any field, and how hard teachers work to support you if you’ll help yourself: I recognise this myself from the crazy, and valuable, process of supporting DBS’s own Oxbridge applicants over the past month. 

Read this stuff well and get a deeper sense of the jobs market and your careers future. Use ISCO if you’re a member, make best use of PSHE careers activities, and book and effectively use your meetings with careers staff. Use the excellent Prospect site too. Because bad careers advice ruins your future. You get good advice and support here – just make sure you follow and use it.

A-level options evening

Here’s the powerpoint for year 11s from today’s assembly, on how the options process works for A-level. Look particularly at the first “Careers issues” page, which gives you some sense of how certain subjects link to certain careers.

Remember that this is just the first, cursory, overview summary of things. Much more detail will be available from Miss Kelly in the Options Evening this coming Wednesday.

In addition – book a slot to come and chat privately to me about your options before then. You don’t need a concrete idea what you want to do in order to have a Careers Support Meeting – in fact, they’re often just a chance to think aloud with a trained adult as a sounding board for your ideas.

Your parents – as I will say frankly to them at the Options Evening – are both the best, and the worst, source of advice. They have oodles of knowledge about their industries, the process of applying for and doing jobs, the ability to construct a career, the sense of what real companies need, and the real-world practicalities about salaries and living costs. At the same time, their knowledge of the education system is often very much out of date, gleaned from (politically biased and misrepresentative) newspapers, and whilst they are usually excellent judges of you as people, may not always be a good judge of you and your prospects as a student. It’s critical to talk and listen to them – but with a pinch of salt, and combine their advice with teachers and near-peers in older year groups.

Above all – come to the Options Evening, and make sure your parents come too. See you there.

Interview training – year 13s

If you’re in year 13 and either already have an interview date for one or more universities, OR if you know the unis you’ve applied to have interviews and you hope you receive an invite shortly –

It’s really important you get some help in good time to prepare you for that.

You need to both have some training (see Mr. Drennan) and preferably a formal mock interview with a panel. We’ll be organising panels soon – please let your tutor know if you want to be interviewed. Meanwhile, if you have an urgent need, come and see Mr. Drennan ASAP.

Careers news: uni figures, temp conditions, rating degrees and careers advice

Here’s a quick gathering of recent news in the Careers field.

Firstly (unsurprisingly, in the year fees have rocketed up) the number of applicants to UCAS has fallen noticeably. Don’t get too excited – it’s not fallen by the amount youth unemployment has risen, and a degree’s not a meal ticket any more. Unsurprisingly, given that getting a degree will now cost you a quarter of the value of a house in some parts of the UK, students will increasingly see themselves as customers – which explains why Which has decided to starting rating and ranking uni courses in the UK.

However, note the rise of temporary / agency work. More and more jobs and companies are taking workers on only through agencies. This rather nasty trick is to ensure they don’t need to give them normal employment rights. Even when the EU has passed a law to give most normal employment rights to temporary workers, it turns out big companies like Tesco are asking their staff to waive their new rights – the implicit threat being no waive = no job. Don’t end up in agency work if you can avoid it. It’s slavery by another name.

At the other end of the scale, you might like to look at the Telegraph’s top ten best-paid jobs in the UK. It’s a bit of a nonsense because (a) it massively underestimates some at the top of the list, (b) it ignores self-employed in some of these fields, who tend to earn more, (c) it’s all about being “top” of the organisations they name which, whilst nice, is not a realistic aim generally – you should expect more to be a successful middle-ranker and check those typical salaries.

Lastly and definitely not leastly, it turns out that people like me are not totally useless after all – while there is an ongoing rise in online or telephone careers advice, it seems some people are missing the personal touch of a Careers advisor in their own school. Don’t forget to book a meeting to come and talk to me about your future if you like. You might like to tell the Guardian about what you think of careers advice.

Careers services for young people being scrapped

Let’s be blunt: you’re in competition with your peers. For university places, for apprenticeships and internships, and for jobs – and you will be for years to come. If you’re better informed and prepared than them, you can and will do better; if they’re better prepared and informed than you, you should worry.

It’s cruel to say it but consider this:

This is an advantage to you over your peers / competitors in other schools around the globe… but only if you USE IT. Come and talk about Careers, and start planning well, and early.