Sharing the Experiences of Careers Advice

The session on Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) at the Lost in Transition conference, held in June 2021, highlighted the inconsistent support in careers advice for young people with vision impairment, including a first-hand account from Phoebe Bonser. It then shared what support is available to schools and professionals within the careers sector through the Careers & Enterprise Company, Careers Development Institute (CDI) and CSW Group.

Gareth Brydon Children, Young People and Families Manager at Thomas Pocklington Trust, outlined the results of the charity’s recent research into CEAIG for young people with vision impairment (VI).

This research studied the effectiveness and availability of careers support among young people in a variety of school settings from year 8 to those that had gone on to university.  You can read the full report from this study here.

Positive experiences of CEAIG were linked to whether the school had a clear careers strategy, had an understanding of vision impairment and that the young people had the opportunity for work experience.  Unfortunately, work experience was often not seen by schools as viable for young people with vision impairment.

Young people also had positive experiences when there was a multi-disciplinary approach in the schools, involving a QTVI, SENCO and careers advice.

Gareth then shared the findings from the Careers After COVID study by Launch your Career, published in May 2021. This revealed that 70% of young people surveyed were feeling really uncertain about the future and 1 in 5 have received no or very little career support from their school/college since COVID hit.

Gareth said: “It is clear from the research that the end of Connexions service left a big hole in VI specialist CEIAG.  Some local authorities have retained some elements of the Connexions service but these are limited and often targeted at the most complex needs.”

Phoebe Bonser, now 18 and due to study Digital Media at Leeds University later this year, attended a mainstream comprehensive school.  She shared her personal experience of careers support.

She first received some guidance in year 10.  The school did offer work experience but pupils had to find these placements independently.  The personal trainer placement in a gym was a great experience for Phoebe but she had to advocate for her own needs and accessibility requirements.

She attended the careers fair organised by the school but the small stands were challenging to navigate, so she needed the support of her parents to attend and none of the information given out was in an accessible format for her.

In 6th form, there was limited careers information and this mostly focussed on attending university.  She said: “There was very little advice around applying for DSA.  I found information on this through the Thomas Pocklington Trust website which was really helpful.”

“My school life was positive and my teachers supportive but as the only VI member from my school, I learned I had to push to get what I need. More support needs to be given to young people with vision impairment.”

Kelly Dillon, Education Sector Manager at the Careers & Enterprise Company shared their role in ensuring young people receive effective careers advice.

Funded by the Department for Education, the Careers & Enterprise Company runs an employer-led programme to connect business with education and supports schools and colleges to deliver careers education, responsive to individual pupil needs and underpinned by the internationally recognised Gatsby Career Benchmarks.

She shared the role of their careers hubs across the country, which will be further expanded to support schools with all elements of careers advice.

Oliver Jenkin, representing both the Career Development institute (CDI) and CSW group joined the session to share what support it can provide to careers professionals.

The CDI is the single UK-wide professional body for everyone working in the fields of career education; career information, advice and guidance; career coaching, career consultancy and career management. It joins together and creates a single voice for the Career Development sector.

The CSW Group is a not for profit social enterprise offering guidance and support to individuals as their move through different stages of their lives. It is contracted by local authorities in the southwest of England, to help them to meet their Statutory Duties under the Education and Skills Act 2008. These duties relate to the provision of services to encourage, enable or assist young people in effectively participating in education or training.

Oliver said: “We are working to improve the quality of careers advice for students with SEND.  This includes transition planning and meeting with both young people and their parents from year 9 onwards.”

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