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ESRC sixth seminar on careers: Learning from others

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Sally-Anne Barnes
4 April 2012

This seminar will explore international perspectives on diversity and inequality, and how we can learn from others. It will be hosted by Nottingham Trent University (City Campus) on 20th June 2012.

If you are interested in attending please email

Presenters will include:

  • Dr Mary McMahon, University of Queensland, Australia and Professor Mark Watson, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa – ‘Crafting Identities: Learning, Curiosity and Career Guidance’
  • Professor Vic Lally, University of Glasgow – ‘Inter-Life Project (Where Second Life Meets Real Life)’
  • Yasmina Mallam-Hassam, Global Career Company – ‘Improving international student employability’


Extra content


9:30 – 10:00

Registration and tea/coffee

10:00 – 10.05


Dr Phil Mignot, Nottingham Trent University

10:05 – 10:20

Setting the scene for the day

Professor John Arnold, University of Sheffield

10:20 – 11:40

Crafting identities: Learning, curiosity and career guidance  

Dr Mary McMahon, University of Queensland, Australia & Professor Mark Watson, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa

11:40 – 12:25

Loughborough – Tsinghua: The story of a collaborative project developing Chinese student employability

Yasmina Mallam-Hassam, Careers consultant

12:30 – 1:15


1:15 – 2:15

The Inter-Life Project: investigating the potential of virtual worlds to assist young people with key life changes and transitions

Professor Vic Lally, University of Glasgow

2:15 – 2:40

So what have we learned from others?

Dr Sally-Anne Barnes, University of Warwick

2:40 – 3:30

Reflections on the series and next steps: open forum discussion

Facilitator: Professor Jenny Bimrose, University of Warwick


Brief details about the speakers and their talks

Yasmina Mallam-Hassam

Loughborough-Tsinghua: The story of a collaborative project developing Chinese student employability 

In 2009 Loughborough University Careers and Employability Centre embarked on a two-year collaborative project with Tsinghua University in Beijing to develop the employability of Chinese students both in the UK and China. This presentation will illustrate this journey, discussing the working relationship between the project teams; what we achieved, what we learned and what the future holds.

Yasmina Mallam-Hassam is an independent careers consultant. She was formerly an international careers adviser at Loughborough University, focusing on the employability of international students and the Chair of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) internationalisation task group.

Mary McMahon and Mark Watson

Crafting Identities: Learning, Curiosity and Career Guidance 

"Dear, dear! How queer everything is today! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle!"

In this scene from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, Alice is puzzled by her identity. Similarly, career guidance practitioners are puzzled about the identity of their field and its relevance in a complex and diverse world. The "great puzzle" facing career guidance practitioners is to find new ways of conceptualising their roles and new ways of working so that they are more responsive to the complex needs of diverse clients. Narrative career counselling offers a response to the puzzles facing clients and also to the puzzle facing career guidance practitioners. The story telling approach to narrative career counselling offers clients the opportunity to learn from the stories of their past and present experiences and to craft identities and future stories from that learning. Similarly, career guidance practitioners may learn from stories of past and present practices and of clients from diverse cultural backgrounds may contribute to crafting an identity and future story for career guidance and counselling. Career guidance practitioners strive to assist clients in the construction of thick and rich stories in order to construct sustainable and achievable future stories; they also strive to construct a new identity and a sustainable story for their careers work. This presentation considers the challenge of crafting a new identity for career guidance and counselling in a diverse and challenging world through the use of story telling.

Dr Mary McMahon teaches career development and guidance and counselling in the School of Education at The University of Queensland, Australia. Mary researches and publishes on the career development of children and adolescents, narrative career counselling and qualitative career assessment.

Professor Mark Watson
Mark is a professor in the Psychology Department of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa. He specialises, researches and practises in career, school and adolescent psychology. Mark has published extensively in international journals, has contributed chapters to international career texts, and is on the editorial advisory board of several international journals.

Vic Lally

The Inter-Life Project: investigating the potential of virtual worlds to assist young people with key life changes and transitions 

The aim of the ESRC/EPSRC funded Inter-Life Project was to investigate the use of virtual worlds to support transition skills development for young people to enhance their management of important life transitions. This paper reports findings of a three-year investigation into ‘virtual world’ use in citizenship education. Virtual worlds are ‘…persistent, avatar-based social spaces that provide players or participants with the ability to engage in long-term, coordinated conjoined action (Thomas and Brown, 2009, p37).  Young people and their advisers can now work together in a very wide range of ‘realistic’ activities virtual worlds via user-controlled avatars where the ‘users’ can be geographically distributed. A wide range of scenarios and simulations is possible. However, there are as yet very few reports in the literature of the realization of this potential in citizenship and guidance education.  The paper assesses the potential of augmented 3D digital technologies in careers and guidance contexts, to assist young people in the social, emotional and vocational challenges of transition in their lives.

Vic Lally is a Professor of Education in the University of Glasgow and founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Research and Teaching in STEM (Science, Technologies, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education (ICRTSE), in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow. He is also Academic Leader of the Interdisciplinary Science, Education, Technologies and Learning Research Group (ISETL). Vic’s research and publications have focused on empirical studies that seek to develop both unifying theory and new methodological approaches to research, as these are priorities for the field. He has a particular focus on how Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) can help young people to develop key life skills.

Sally-Anne Barnes

Sally-Anne will provide some reflections on the seminar presentations.

Dr Sally-Anne Barnes is a Senior Research Fellow at Warwick Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick. She has managed a range of projects focused on developing LMI for career guidance practitioners, plus researching the implementation of technology to support the professional development of professionals.  Current research includes: the development of LMI materials and support for careers professionals; researching the implementation of technology to support CEIAG services for young people and the professional development of careers professionals; researching knowledge maturing processes and the role of technology can play in supporting those processes; and researching individual career identities, development, learning and continuing vocational training.

Jenny Bimrose

Jenny will lead a discussion about what can be learned from the seminar series as a whole. Everyone is invited to take part, no matter how many of the sequence of six they have attended!

Professor Jenny Bimrose is based at the Warwick Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick. She has over thirty years of experience teaching, researching and managing in higher education. On-going research interests include: supporting career practitioners and teachers in their use of labour market information in career guidance; the integration of information technologies into career practice; the decision-making styles and career trajectories of individuals across Europe; the career progression of older women's career development; and knowledge maturation in organisations. For details of publications and research activities, please go to:


Sally-Anne Barnes
15:15 on 14 June 2012 (Edited 14:53 on 2 July 2012)


Sally-Anne Barnes
14:55 on 2 July 2012

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