Careers Innovation Group Meeting (9th March, 2010) - notes

1.0       Introduction 1.1      ...

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Jenny Bimrose
12 May 2010

1.0       Introduction

1.1       Group members provided a brief update on key developments in their respective areas of development work. It was agreed that the outcomes from this meeting would be crucial in terms of determining the future direction of the Careers Innovation Group’s work. The initial discussion concluded that membership of this group provides a platform for dialogue between academics and employers in identifying ‘innovation’ and ‘ideas’ for development activities. It also offers an invaluable ‘space’ for reflection, updates and a community of interest in policy, research and practice.

2.0       Broad themes specifically linked to ‘innovation’

2.1       The following broad themes were discussed to gain an overview of recent developments:

  • LLUK- online CPD facility including career progression framework; new qualification credit framework, aacs workforce development strategy and implementation plan and competency framework. Visit:
  •  NICEC/NFER research findings (2010) on Careers Leaders/Careers Co-ordinators Framework

 Noted: voice of practitioner needs to be heard; tension to be resolved on matters relating to licence to practise versus register of practice. Professional structures require stability and new dynamics for driving this forward - one is dependent upon the other.

  •  Careers Profession Taskforce in England: - replication of how policy operates – is there a role for the Careers Innovation Group in making a formal statement to inform and influence the work of this new Taskforce?  For example, – Conservatives have pledged £5m investment in online developments – is this innovation? How does this relate to the current Area Prospectuses within Connexions and the national Careers Advice Service? Do we want to say more on this?
  •  Issue of boundaries and a new discourse emerging re: 14-24 year olds (more of an economic focus featuring in policy and practitioner discourse). Why not start at 13?
  •  DSCF draft paper – Guidance for Local Authorities – serving economic benefits of the country; STEM agenda; Apprenticeships and Diplomas. Where are the ideas going to come from re: investment in innovation within a Local Authority context?
  •  Careers work is about who gets to do what in society. No society has a more important question than this. People stand from where you are to where you go from. In a fast changing world it’s difficult to see what sort of future young people and adults are preparing for. We need to keep up to date – self critical, learn from experience, learn from new knowledge, technology, how people are brought up and the kind of lifestyles they seek.
  •  UKCES has recently commissioned two research papers which may be of interest to the group’s work. The theme is ‘ICT and careers work’. IER and iCeGS are each working on separate but complementary papers for submission in March 2010.

 Options: Point to innovation? Promote innovation? Forming an opinion on innovation, having a public voice.....Blogging, cloudworks, uploading onto Word Press area –what about this? Challenging what’s going on and evidence. Outcome from discussion:                Strategy 1 - harnessing the power of the internet.

 3.0       Let’s get the conversation going

3.1       The Careers Innovation Group should make references to what’s happening in policy terms regarding social mobility, retention in learning and work, NEET, use of technology in careers work, labour market information/intelligence (LMI(I) and careers work/STEM developments. It was noted that in November 2009, the Council for Industry in Higher Education (CIHE) proposed the formation of a UK-wide careers sector strategic forum. This is in its infancy but there is potential to form closer working links in due course.

Options: Letters to editors – added value support from members; provoking, prompting and amplifying key messages. The main aim is to (i) gain visibility; (ii) get a discourse going; (iii) trialling ideas for innovation. Strategy 2 – promoting innovation through action.

3.2       Conversation – what is the changing nature of careers and what are the key messages that need to be conveyed to uninitiated? It was agreed that the careers professions does not present a unified voice. Examples of questions posed were as follows:

  • What are people going to need to feel equipped to deliver that which is required from their clients or prospective clients?
  • What does it take re: mastery within the careers profession?
  • Where do you go to find a safe space to build confidence and increase professionalism?

3.3       Members highlighted that in 10 years time we don’t know what jobs will be available and ways in which career trajectories will unfold. Therefore, how does the careers sector harness knowledge of labour markets and embed this at a grass roots level? Further questions emerged: what changes in practitioner knowledge, skills, behaviour and attitudes are required to achieve innovation in the workplace?  In summary, the group felt that future face-to-face meetings should be interactive and adopt a developmental approach.

3.4       The Careers Innovation Group website is now accessible and this can and should be used to upload ideas and resources. This site is about doing better by extending the repertoire of the careers guidance profession in England. The website is a repository to input ideas’s good to talk with one of practitioners, academics and professional associations that want to share – careers professional community of practice: allegiance to the professionals not necessarily the company.

  • Action: The group agreed that at the next meeting it would be best to choose a theme and then generate a conversation during the day to further ‘kick start’ thinking / ideas on innovation.
  • Action: Weblinks to be created with careers professional associations; Careers England, National Connexions Partnership network; NICE project (48 countries); eep; NICEC website; cegnet, journals; press release online; and links to appropriate webpages.
  • Action: The Careers Alliance Group to be informed of this new development. (Alan Vincent/ Deirdre Hughes)
  • Action: Bill to write a note on the website - Why you might look at this site? What we aim to achieve?

3.5       Examples of innovatory approaches in careers work included:

Robin explained that the next phase is to embed its usage in a variety of environments. There is high demand for use in schools and significant demand outside of its original target audience (i.e.14-19 year olds).

  •  Vitae initiative for postgraduates – has reached a stage of evidence gathering mid-point in the 5 year contract. There is and innovation fund within Vitae. Visit:

 Survey of CPD needs of careers staff in schools being carried out by ACEG (11th March 2010 deadline for returns). Alan reported that the initial findings show that there is a general reluctance to look at online training as a main source of training i.e. short courses and modules preferred. ACEG are promoting the NICEC/NFER report on Careers Leaders/Careers Co-ordinators work in schools. They plan to continue exploring appropriate qualifications for people working in schools and colleges. The goal is to have a more equitable geographical spread of careers training provision throughout England.

  •  Investors in Career Award working in primary, secondary and further education settings lead by Careers South West. There is renewed interest in careers interventions at primary school level but some doubt about further funding levels for this type of career-related learning.
  •  A Virtual Connexions Centre, Milton Keynes. Alison explained that this new resource is proving very popular and is being further developed by Prospects.

Visit:  She talked about innovative work in Gloucester College and how IAG is offered to young people on an informal basis that in turn leads into a working relationship and practitioners having to re-orientate their approach to engaging differently with young people.

  •  Career Adaptability Initiative lead by Mark Savickas: The next meeting is scheduled in July 2010. Jenny reported on materials available from this development work. There are two main strands of thinking underway, namely, (i) How do you measure and assess career adaptability?; and (ii) how do you help individuals to manage the career adaptability process?
  •  An Investigation into the Skills Needed by Connexions Personal Advisers to develop Internet-Based Guidance. CfBT Education Trust has recently research findings on this topic. Visit:

An online training module is also being developed on behalf of CfBT designed to equip practitioners and their managers to manage internet-based guidance effectively.

  •  ICT and labour market information – how do you make this digestible and accessible for practitioner use? Deirdre and Jenny gave a brief overview of a joint LSC funded project between DMH Associates and IER on the ‘content editing of Sector Skills Council (SSC) information’. These are designed to transform SSC information into ‘online bite-sized fact sheets’ for advisers’ use within the aacs in England. There is also scope to further extend this to advisers working with young people in a Connexions context. The LMI competence checklist has been identified by some employers as innovative and highly practical.
  •  MATURE and EU funded Framework Seven Project. Jenny reported on innovative work taking place to assist practitioners to use wiki systems effectively. She also highlighted other ICT developmental activities focused on ‘mash ups’ and practitioner e-portfolios.
  •  Leonardo Da Vinci transfer of knowledge project – Hazel indicated that an EU partner had designed a tool based on a careers matching approach. This is being piloted in Turkey (lead partners) Hungary, Slovenia and Athens and there are plans to plans to test this out in three schools in the South East region.
  •  A narrative approach in careers work. Hazel is continuing to interview practitioners to find out why a narrative approach resonates with some and not others. This has involved designing a model which uses ‘reflexivity’ as part of the process.
  •  The new qualification framework: This offers an opportunity to review existing and new qualifications within the context of strengthening training within and across the careers community.
  •  Storyboarding: Bill Law’s 3 scene storyboarding project at the UoD continues to develop. The University Research Ethics Committee is in the process of approving this development work. The storyboarding concept has also incorporated ideas from the Netherlands. Bill is involved in an application made to the Leonardo Transfer project, involving iCeGS, Connexions Derbyshire, and organisations from Romania, Ireland and Italy.
  •  LMI and Connexions Northants. Bill is turn ideas into programmes showing how LMI can be incorporated into a wide range of approaches such as community link projects, mentoring, schools, colleges, community development frameworks.
  •  The Network for Innovation in Careers in Europe (NICE) - ERASMUS funded project: Qualifications and Training for Careers Professionals. Hazel is due to attend a forthcoming meeting in Poland. Rachel updated the group on the 3 main strands of work including innovation in initial training and CPD activity plans. She mentioned that in-depth research is underway to develop a serious game ‘The Careers Game’ online.
  •  UK-wide CREATE: Campaign for Careers: Deirdre explained how the Campaign is aimed at organisations (and individuals) willing to endorse the key principles of CREATE. In a year of a general election and new fiscal policies that lie ahead, it is very much hoped that the careers community will all sign up in support of this.  Visit:

Success will look like all of the major careers professional associations and those in the public, private and voluntary sectors communities will share the vision and present a unified voice to policymakers and the general public for greater investment in careers services. All members of the CIG were encouraged to give this their full support and to spread the word to others. Individuals can join an online supporters group via FACEBOOK by simply typing in Campaign for Careers. (327 supporters to date).

  • Careers England Quality Group: Deirdre has been invited to produce a new Careers England positional paper focusing on ‘Careers Work and Social Mobility’ to be published after the general election.
  •  The evidence-base for careers and guidance-related interventions: Deirdre is producing new evidence and impact facts and prompts for advisers and teachers to use in their everyday practice.

4.0       Let’s focus

4.1       Theme agreed: How will careers policy and practice need to change?

Professionalism - who is the expert? How does this reconfigure public services? Who are you and what services are you delivering?

Action: Hazel volunteered to write something about narrative – success criteria to engage people at grass roots levels etc. Others agreed to follow and respond to this.

Action: Simon and Alison agreed to stimulate discussion within their respective organisations working with some staff to discuss the topic of research that’s ongoing; practice that’s cutting-edge; identification of innovation; what does this mean to the practitioner and/or their clients?

Action: Bill to let everyone know once the website has been updated. Response required online within 3 weeks of the email alert.

4.2       As part of the ongoing discussion, the group also talked about focusing on

  • How do you recruit high quality advisers to careers companies?
  • How do we develop them?
  • How do we retain them?
  • What is our profession now and in the future?

Finally, three ideas for thought and response careers is all about (i) the way people learn from experience (anecdote); (ii) the cultural setting people live in; and (iii) how they are immersed in reality (virtual or otherwise).

5.0 Date of next meeting

5.1       The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, 28th September at the Institute of Education, London (usual venue). The agreed start time is 10.30am.

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2:10am 13 May 2010

More information is needed of what is expected by future employment opportunities and what teachers should be exploring as basic skills to define for future students.

Also I want to know what career opportunites are out there for me as I embarking in this new field for me. I teach full time and need to know the shortest route to the most fruitful results.

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