A fair chance in life
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31 August 2009
Unleashing Aspirations - commissioned by Gordon Brown - describes bad things happening in Britain’s opportunity structure. We have a natural interest - it is about who gets to do what in society. It is also about why it is so unfair.
The report documents how top jobs in law, medicine, politics and the media go to people who are privately educated. ‘Privately educated’ is as much a marker for good life-chances as ‘free-school-meals’ is for bad ones.
We need to probe:
- what's going on;
- making sense of the findings;
- what to do about them; and
- where careers work figures.
Careers work figures. No ethical careers worker can fail to wonder what careers work should be doing about it - and why we haven’t done it better.
There is a clue in a distinction that the report doesn’t make, between:
- thwarted aspiration - which maybe we can help to unleash; but there is also
- suppressed aspiration - which somehow needs to be re-ignited.
Neither is easy. But if is we are serious about re-igniting squeezed off hopes we need to think again about the career-development models we use to shape our work.