The delivery of Careers Education, Information and Guidance amongst private tuition providers.
Private tuition in England delivered by private sector organisations and tutorial agencies encompasses a large grey area of teaching currently undertaken by school children. The majority of students receive some form of tuition during their academic lives outside of school hours, with over 504 and rapidly rising providers currently operating in the UK. The previous government had addressed the need for private tuition to reach over 300,000 children in aided schools, who were falling behind in English and Maths.
As statutory duties weigh on aided schools and education providers conducting good practice to provide impartial careers education and guidance, its delivery through the private tuition sector has yet to be addressed. This poses a good opportunity to raise the profile of and expose pupils to this critical discipline that is instrumental in moulding careers and shaping working lives. Most tuition agencies will not have any provision for Careers Education and Guidance (CEG) and if the industry is to play its part and act as a safety net to ensure such impartial advice ultimately reaches individuals, then perhaps CEG can be embedded within a students study plan, routine and during tutorial sessions across all subjects during tuition.
In this report, I have aimed to investigate the management of individual careers guidance through its links with tutoring and mentoring. The delivery of such guidance through the private tuition sector may serve as a large and fairly significant channel to reach school pupils in the UK, whose parents often enlist the help of tutors as the need arises. This report has set about initially introducing the academic background to Careers Education and Guidance, the important theories and policy recommendations. It then looks at how these studies and information could be delivered in a very different environment to schools, that being the 1-1 tuition setting where more often than not those employing the services of such agencies have contact only with their subject tutors, albeit on a regular basis. In some ways this serves to be an ideal vehicle of careers delivery if tutors are given the right guidance and resources. The current literature on careers education should remain at the forefront of any programme formulated to deliver such guidance. This report recommends creating a single volume textbook diary focussing on careers that could effectively deliver a mass of careers education, information and present worksheets and tutor scripts to engage pupils. This would expose students to the careers world and ultimately empower them to guide and direct their own development. It would also help tutors with preset lesson plans and content.
Under section 45A of the Education Act 1997, a statutory duty was imposed upon schools to provide CEG, encompassing two areas as defined by the statutory guidance:
“Helps young people to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills that they need to make well-informed thought-through choices and plans that enable them to progress smoothly into further learning and work, now and in the future.”
Information Advice and Guidance
“Personalised support on learning and work pathways and on other key issues that impact on young peoples ability to develop and progress.”
The statutory guidance addressed the issues of allocation of insufficient curriculum time to careers education, and inadequate CPD support for careers co-ordinators. The Education and Skills Act 2008 reinforced the need for impartiality of that guidance and set out six principles of impartial careers advice, listed below:
- Empowering young people to plan and manage their own futures.
- Responding to the needs of each learner.
- Comprehensive Information and Advice.
- Raises aspirations.
- Helps young people progress.
- Promotes equality of opportunity and challenges stereotypes.
Simple models of a core curriculum conceived in the early 1980’s have focussed the delivery of careers education and guidance around three main target areas. These were firstly ‘life skills’ that encompassed learning and information skills; coping, social and helping skills; problem solving, decision and communication skills. Secondly ‘awareness of the self’ in relation to available opportunities. This involved assessing strengths and weakness, vales, interests and qualifications. Thirdly, ‘cultural transmission’ which involved building a base to make sense of the world and interact with it through literacy, numeracy, history, geography, science, technology, social economic and political sciences, religious and moral values, languages, health crafts and community studies. Furthermore as the mass of information available to us increases its efficient retrieval process and assimilation becomes even more important during the transition from school to adult life.
When formulating career development plans studies originating from Super and Ginzberg’s reformulated theory suggests occupational choice as a life long process that strikes a balance between career preparations and their realities. This developed as twelve propositions taking into account the series of life stages of career development (5 vocational life stages). It implements a self concept and one of compromise.
The influences on students developed further by Super stem from life stages, and life events; family, peers, social norms and labour market experiences should be built on and explored. Egan proposed any enquiry into such areas should involve a 3-stage model involving firstly, explanation to address the current circumstances and allow expression of needs. Secondly, exploration to increase self-awareness and understand influences affecting choices, actions and to explore options. Thirdly to formulate a plan for future action based on a realistic assessment of the pros and cons of available options.
Career counselling has been much studied and its principles should be incorporated into the careers guidance framework involving building on 3 main processes of exploring, understanding and outcomes. These have been described as enabling the student to make, whilst in the exploratory phase, an initially guided assessment, concerns and influences with development and choices and expectations. The understanding phase can involve psychometric testing, self-assessment exercises and researching opportunities including overcoming fears/prejudices. The outcome phase will then involve action planning and decision-making exercises along with self-evaluation and review.
Early works on the theories of career decision-making have proposed numerous models. Amongst the most influential has been the Person-Environment Fit model matching individuals with jobs. Initially a list of questions was formulated by Rogers through the Seven-Point Plan that encompassed physical make up, attainments, IQ, aptitudes, Interests, disposition and circumstances. This was in turn elaborated by Holland that the better fit with occupation proposing that individuals and occupational environments can be grouped into 6 interest types through a hexagonal model: namely realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional whereby occupation choice encompasses interests and environments to achieve job satisfaction and stability.
These models have further been refined through Warrs’ present status models where “desirable characteristics of work environments include environmental clarity and feedback, variety, level of pay, physical security, externally generated goals, interpersonal contact, opportunity for skill use, opportunity for control and valued social position.” Therefore for students to make an informed judgement on careers they must know as fully about jobs and their prospects in order to achieve a higher rate of job satisfaction guided by an exploration of interests and personality. Kidd describes these and other career counselling theories including their evolution in more detail. Following on from Supers work, the insight into Developmental and structural theories have ensued with the FIRST framework where the career counselling is geared towards the person’s development stage, and development of careers over lifespan. The FIRST framework encompasses 5 themes as described by Bedford, being Focus, Information, Realism, Scope and Tactics. Law’s community theory looks at social influences in decision making as described previously through expectations, feedback, support, modelling and information. Social career theory further developed by Lent underpins and defines a key role of ‘self-efficacy’ in formulating career goals, through social learning and these techniques should be employed for effective counselling within a tutorial setting.
A Holistic prospective to life career development has also been described, where Gysbers defines this through ones ‘Life Span” as
‘Self development over the life span through the interaction and integration of the roles, settings and events of a persons life.’
This has been quite a popular approach that amalgamates career development and life experiences together, and further expanding on other factors such as gender, religion, and life roles. Further influences derive from socioeconomic factors that when fully understood by a student can be an important factor in determining an individual’s ‘socialization’. This can be achieved through creating career consciousness, allowing the visualisation and planning of life careers to evaluate the concept of the self and what one wants him or her self to become when weighing up all these factors. An important aspect highlighted is the ability to deal with problems both at work and at home.
Any careers guidance must encourage a responsiveness to a dynamic labour market, as not all professions have enough jobs to go around and therefore it is vital that students are informed of expectations and realistic aims. On the same token it is vital to raise expectations, unlock talent and promote and increase social mobility. Furthermore with the inclusion of family input and mentoring opportunities both from higher education tutors, business professional and other sectors, this serves to enrich the learning environment. Furthermore information should be made available to children regarding these opportunities along with guides UCAS, the new common application system and 14-19 prospectus along the foundations of twelve quality standards and pledges for young peoples information, advice and guidance delivery and in complement to the 5 ‘every child matters’ outcomes.
The Every Child Matters pledge placed an emphasis on empowering young people other than via teachers and coordinators. However how else can this be achieved on a grass roots basis through the tuition sector? In fact 71% of young people said they would do up to four hours of activities in their spare time if they had something to do. However any direction needs to have a defined purpose. There are lots of opportunities however it’s often difficult to have knowledge of such programmes. More interaction with local authorities in the wake of Connexions may help to bring this information to the fore. The Nuffield Review in their paper on guidance and careers education placed an emphasis on the importance of key points of transition, equipping young people with knowledge and skills for effective use of information and available guidance. The report also found that there were no teacher training schemes for careers education.
The office for standards in education produced a report in 2001 on the effectiveness of the provision of careers guidance in schools, in fulfilment of their statutory duties highlighted five components of good practice in careers education namely its incorporation within the curriculum, planning and recording achievement through work related activities, 1-1 guidance and support and access to current careers information. A later report conducted by Ofsted in 2010 found that CEG is much improving thanks to national standards set to raise the profile and its quality and consistency, with more work needing to be done to expand work experience placements and an emphasis on the need for effective ILPs and their implementation, especially at transition points.
The current Department for Educations careers profession task force highlighted the need for the profession to meet quality standards. The study reviewed the shortages of skilled labour in the UK and need for a dynamic workforce, including a push toward areas such as the LMI, ICT and STEM subjects uptake. Transferable skills and career transitions are now even more important in creating work plasticity to meet the countries economic needs. Careers services are consistently lacking excellent practices and are only as good as their providers and tutors, with inconsistent levels of professionalism in order to maintain standards. The need to develop a careers profession as per a set standard, with better linkages and education-business partnerships and multi agency linkages through local authorities was recommended. A recent study on careers coordinators in schools called for a new qualification for careers coordinators delivered perhaps by e-learning, yet called for the need for a wide variety of options for careers professionals to learn and progress along their careers themselves.
Another important aspect of delivering careers education within the tutorial setting will in inevitably involve the appointing of non teachers for careers coordinators roles, which itself poses benefits and challenges. Interviews with careers coordinators have revealed that more often non-teacher can devote more time to this role without detracting from teaching duties. Furthermore the inevitable growth of the profession and a wider choice of CPD options for careers providers will come some way to helping equip tutors with the skills they need to deliver their programmes. The challenges that non teachers may face, are that they may not be able to effectively plan a scheme of work, and they may face challenges teaching lessons in careers education. Monitoring teaching and learning may initially prove challenging without set templates to work from. There may also be hidden benefits with the impartiality and work skills sets that non-teachers bring. There is no doubt that the progression of the careers profession and availability of Quality Awards and standards to support CEG development will serve as ongoing work based training, currently there are 25 such available awards nationally. This number needs to grow.
In a rapidly evolving work environment there seem to be fewer ‘jobs for life’ where individuals are taking responsibility for managing their own careers. To therefore efficiently implement management at a distance in a sustainable way remains a challenge as the importance of careers education management structures in schools is highlighted. Effective achievement strategies will focus on identifying occupational and educational goals, recording and reviewing experiences and developing a curriculum that addresses life skills, IT and communication skills. The importance of transition skills has also been highlighted through the ability to remove obstacles and interventions that are tailored to individual needs, and the development of career skills. The impact of external and internal factors such as parents can help to further enhance career development and motivation.
Four main areas are highlighted as important for recording experiences and action planning, usually involving a tutor. These involved the employment of scientific methods such as psychometric testing and interviews. Expanded methods such as careers portfolios and recording experience. Structural methods such as action planning and profiling along with critical review of achievements and finally critical methods such as individual learning plans and formerly records of achievement can all contribute to the evaluation process. These methods of enquiry further lead to an awareness of issues such as control, acceptability and purposes that follow the stages in sequence of inputs, processes and outputs. It is therefore important that any delivery of such programmes of career development touches on these aspects and utilises the breadth of approaches for recording experiences and action planning. Moreover psychometric testing has greatly enhanced and improved over the past 30 years. Such tests whether geared towards personality testing investigating deeper aspects of the self, or a test of a measure of attainment or intelligence can serve to yield interesting data that should not be disregarded. This can in fact be fun for pupils that revel usually in comparison and competition. Each method of enquiry should be expanded on particularly action plans and individual learning plans especially that it is highly likely the official methods for recording such as records of achievements are evolving with a perhaps uncertain direction.
Recently many schools have invested in 1-1 support emphasizing the significance of tutoring and mentoring for the delivery of careers education and guidance, where tutors often manage the learning of pupils across all disciplines often in partnership with external organisations. Tutoring and mentoring are becoming an integral part of schools IAG programmes, delivered in an impartial manner. Furthermore tutors can help developing life skills through work related learning, PHSE and citizenship. Local authorities will increasingly be more responsible for the allocation of advisors and guidance systems as this role is devolved from the Connexions machinery. It is increasingly more important to engage private sector organisations with a track record of effective tutoring to contribute to the careers profession.
Connexions was created to provide a full service of support to 13-19 year olds established in 2000, and went some way to creating many thousands of careers professional in a fairly new area of education, with the spirit behind it being to improve social mobility and as a defence against social exclusion by improving job prospects. It seems perhaps somewhat confusing what will develop in its place and whether it was value for money, it certainly put careers services on the high street and reached many hundreds of thousands of children.
Much focus has been on individually tailored learning programmes with recommended learning outcomes through the two components of Careers Education, developing the knowledge and Careers Guidance, and applying those learnt skills. CEG must therefore address learning outcomes, and establish effective recording mechanisms involving students through a framework of guidance that meets pupil’s needs and aspirations to include PHSE, citizenship and financial awareness. PHSE, economic well-being and financial capability aims to create successful learners, who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve. Furthermore it helps make confident individuals able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives. PHSE aims to promote responsible citizenship making a positive contribution to society. These are outcomes upon which the curriculum is based upon.
Career learning and development in the curriculum has developed greatly and its currently taking form as more research and practitioners develop. Two main themes recently employed are a para-curruculum and a formal curriculum. The paracurriculm covers hidden areas where environmental vehicles for career development may ensue building on values such as aspiration, enterprise, self-efficacy, resilience, ambition, fairness, diversity, sustainable living, happiness, contribution and service to others. With extracurricular activities also helping to formulate this along with positions of responsibility either in school or voluntarily in the community. A more formal curriculum takes the shape of academic and applied components to take note of how the working world operates and insights into this. This curriculum would encompass aspects such as PSHE and others mentioned previously.
The National Support Programme formulated a scheme of work for careers, which summarises the core units of a curriculum as a 17-point plan of enquiry with guiding questions. Furthermore the potential for career-related learning in subjects was also explored and employed where young people can find out more about job prospects and what the field entails. The more information about careers in certain disciplines may prove enough of a trigger to lead to further enquiry. Ultimately, career related learning-links to subjects can lead to both a deeper interest in that academic subject but also can lead to a richer learning experience. More specifically the subject areas noted were Art & Design; Citizenship; Design & Technology; English; Geography; History; Information & Communication Technology; Mathematics; Modern Foreign languages; Music; Physical Education; Religious Education and the Sciences. The QCA further set out a curriculum innovation in 2008 when planning career learning and development curriculum, through a 6 point plan, guiding the identification of priorities, designing plans review and implementation.
The importance of promoting linguistics can prove an asset for students, where a recent study has concluded that despite over 300 languages spoken in London, English is only spoken by less than 25% of the world population, to that end for the UK to communicate more effectively with the rest of the world, linguistics should come some way to improving ones own quality of life and to serving the community. This is also important in widening job possibilities worldwide and prospects.
Leadership, management and coordination skills are also an emerging area of careers education and guidance as well as promoting entrepreneurship, and work related learning. With respect to vocational and work related learning that aims to developing career awareness and key skills including broader aptitudes, opportunities should be made available for pupils. Furthermore this helps to improve an understanding of economy, enterprise, personal finance and business structures. It can also foster positive attitudes.
When considering the importance of work experience, defined as schemes where only part of the full experience of work is available within the work environment, where the role of the student is a learner rather than an employee, wihas ten aims defined by Watts. These are that experience should be enhancing, motivational, maturational, investigative, expansive, sampling, prepatory, anticipatory, placing and custodial. The onus is then to apply this theory into practice within the context of the tutorial setting. The importance of establishing a network of business contacts through education-business partnerships has grown rapidly over the past 30 years and this is an area that should continue to flourish, as the skills it equips students are invaluable. The benefits of work related activities building on Watts aims against the potential costs of organising the out of school activities should allow an exploration of what local business and public organisations can offer and any such activities must be justified with respect to their contribution to students learning and an imposition upon the student to critically reflect upon it. Volunteering, with our new social order and initiatives, can be a very good way of achieving such aims and acquiring work related skills.
An online survey of 500 young people aged 12-26 showed that their parents, websites, teachers and friends influence most students. 80% of respondents claimed that formal careers advice was little helpful yet that may sow the seed for further enquiry and engagement that may be unrealised, with a growing call for web based self accessed tools for careers. In order to exploit this demographic of technologically advancing children, the field must also evolve in tandem and provision more web based formulas for careers guidance delivery. Further studies surveying 900 14-15 year old placed a large focus on needing more work related learning, information and its provision with many anxious about the rise of university costs.
The provision of CEG is vital to motivating pupils and delivering key skills, yet facilities and programmes are not on a par across schools and less so within the private education sector especially with respect to their perceived importance and allocation of technology and resources. The importance of accessibility, media resources and good practice are important as technology advances and information is delivered though a variety of digital media, where printed materials are increasingly rarely used by students.
The ability for students to make informed decisions about their careers must be fostered as the availability of quality information without the means to forge it may render it ineffective.
‘It would of course be naively simplistic to suggest that there is some kind of optimal ratio between the investment to be made in facilitating opportunity awareness and self awareness. Such decisions must be left to individual schools to make in light of their own circumstances… in general schools appear to attach relatively low priority to activities which might help students with the development of decision-making skills.’
The importance therefore of information and communication technology in the careers education is fundamental if the professions effectiveness is to flourish. In practice technology should assist practice and promote positive outcomes where ICT can in fact help raise standards and aspirations in Maths and English. There remains great potential for ICT in CEG with the availability of good software continually being a limiting factor and perhaps a personalised ‘e-guidance’ service may come some way to addressing this.
A number of challenging issues for careers teaching have arisen recently. The provision of tailored programmes for gifted and talented students, those with special needs or those with complex issues are crucial however not in the scope of this paper that perhaps may need to employ an initial one size fits all approach. Nevertheless it is important for any materials made to be able to highlight such individuals through the initial series of diagnostic test or otherwise. The role of careers education has also come to light when imposing the virtues of equality, fairness and policies of social inclusion as defined by the Equality Act 2006 with defined aims to enforce equality irrespective of age, disability, gender, race, religious belief or sexual orientation. Any programmes of study must foster and promote these principles to create a more content and tolerant individuals. The promotion of equality through fair and open access to opportunities must be reinforced in spirit in any careers programme steered by the governments Social Mobility Commission.
Based on the above studies and in conclusion, the dairy would serve to address the issues raised with delivering CEG within the tutorial setting. It would form a firm foundation for delivering careers education to pupils in an easy and accessible volume with the added practical benefit to doubling up as a diary and activity book that pupils would use on a daily basis. This would further stimulate pupils with careers on an ongoing basis, conditioning some of the reflective and research processes required for the careers guidance process. The tutors would also follow set lesson plans pre-printed in the diaries to ensure content is covered and to avoid confusion as to lesson planning that has been an issue in the past. It seems an effective method of communicating careers at a distance from institutional or higher management control and more toward self-reliance and guidance.
Frost et al, have described the effectiveness of the tutorial setting in delivering careers education. The role of tutorial methods in supporting good practice by Edwards provided a good insight into how such sessions should advance with respect to careers in formation advice and guidance. If tutors ultimately employ their skills effectively then tutorials can serve to be paramount for students voicing their needs and directing learning plans. The tutorial process should enable students to be in more control of their guidance needs, involved in assessing what is appropriate, learning educational skills through guidance and receiving feedback and support. In turn effective tutors must be effective at formulating skills sets such as enabling, advising, informing, counselling, reviewing and feeding back thereby creating an opportunity for pupils to understand the process of their individual guidance. Also tutors are required to assess if students needs are being met by the process and networking with other teachers or education professionals in their remit.
Tutorials are seen as a key part of careers education guidance, and the regular contact with tutors helps establish relationships of mutual understanding and trust. Furthermore it is conducted in a time away from academic pressure and the timetable, thus seen as a critical vehicle of careers guidance and distribution of good quality careers education. Further concepts can also be deployed through the tutorial methods such as encouraging self-study as an ‘autonomous learner’ through tutoring and provision of learning resources.
The Utilization of the careers diary will involve cycles of tutorials and guided self-study, reinforcing good techniques through review and feedback and support. It can empower students to securely explore their guidance requirements, and this approach can effectively be related to careers education and guidance. Furthermore good information and resources can have the aim of clarifying objectives and aims, developing strategies, activities, engagements, recording and self-help self assessment aids. Kent also notes that self-study materials cannot replace effective tutoring and so the two must go hand in hand. Materials just provide a basis for the discussion and planning avenues for enquiry.
The insight Kent provides for effective resourcing of tutorials describes their effectiveness as part of a planned programme of guidance. Furthermore, the sessions must be participatory, with clear agendas and expectation and support if crucial to success through review and feedback, further guidance and referrals within a loop. The importance therefore on the connections that tutors can help students make utilising activities, experiences and the social prospective to name a few can be highly instrumental in formulating career paths. Ultimately tutorials serve to consolidate the careers programme rather than replace it, therefore any publication must also take this into account.
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