Case Study

Summary:

Career Central has enabled Matamata College to Deliver Personalised Career Education and Increase School-Wide Participation in Careers.

 

  • Enabled school-wide education through 24/7 online access through staff and student portals.
  • Students can now develop career plans outside of the careers department and staff are empowered to discuss careers education with students in their classrooms.
  • Transformed communication from a ‘scatter-gun’ approach to personalised and targeted ensuring no one misses out on relevant opportunities or receives irrelevant information.

Background: 

Matamata College has had a special relationship with Career Central. Being the first school to trial the product they are the school who has guided the initial development of the system from day one. This relationship has been beneficial to both parties as Career Central has learnt from implementation in Matamata and the College has transformed the way they deliver career education.

With a team of 2 part-time careers advisor and one Gateway coordinator, the careers department at Matamata College needed a way to engage with 800 students and provide them with effective career guidance. In particular, Career Central has helped Matamata College increase participation in Career Education and enabled the college to better deliver personalised education.

How Career Central increased participation in Career Education:

Problem

Matamata College acknowledged that Career Education is most effective when delivered school-wide – a notion supported by both the Labour and National parties of New Zealand’s government.

Back in 2014 however, Careers Education was very much the domain of the Careers’ Department and any student that needed to have a career conversation was by default referred to the Careers Department when they needed to have a conversation about Careers and Career planning.

Unfortunately, this default process meant that career conversations did not incorporate the wealth of career knowledge, networks and connections held by teachers and other support staff.

Solution

Matamata College knew that involving staff outside of the Careers Department would be greatly beneficial for its students Career Education and since 2014 Career Central has been integral in increasing both staff and student participation.

Increased Staff participation in Careers Education:

This increase can be credited to Career Central’s staff portal and the fact that the platform can be accessed 24/7 online from any device. This means staff, deans and senior management can login and see all the same information that the Careers Educators can about the students, from the student profile, and they can do it from their laptops in their classrooms.

Career Central has become more embedded in school culture and more teachers have requested access to student profiles, not just those that are in their group class. Teachers say they want to discuss career plans with students in their subject and study classes and find Career Central the perfect tool to start those conversations.

Teachers are feeling increasingly confident to discuss career plans as Career Central gives them all the information they might need about jobs, entry requirements and skills needed, for example, to discuss with students.

Teachers are feeling increasingly confident to discuss career plans as Career Central gives them all the information they might need about jobs, entry requirements, skills needed etc to discuss with students. If further information or guidance is required, students can then be referred to the Careers Department.

As an added benefit, the career conversations that group teachers have with students can be recorded in the student’s notes on Career Central so that the Careers Department can see it and the students profile can be automatically kept up to date.

 

Increased student participation in Careers Education:

This increase can be credited to Career Central’s student portal, which like the rest of the platform is accessible 24/7 online from any device. This means students can access that students can engage in Careers conversations outside of the Careers Department building. At Matamata College, students now complete and update their Career profiles during class and group time as well.

Some examples below:

Year 10:

In year 10 students begin their Career Central profile in Social Studies classes. They have 2 lessons using Career Central and researching jobs that interest them.

Year 11:

At the start of year 11 students update their profiles during a Health lesson. This ensures the careers department has up to date information on student interests in order to invite them to events or send them relevant information.

Year 11 Students then revisit Career Central at the end of term 2 during an English class in order to update if necessary and indicate the subjects they are considering taking the following year. The careers department then creates reports to send home to parents. These reports summarise the student career profile and include a comment about how suitable we think their subject choices are. Parents have enjoyed receiving these reports and deans have commented that their workload is greatly reduced around subject choice time in term 3. 

Year 12:

Year 12 students update their profiles at the start of the year during what we call a Senior Education lesson. Matamata College runs a vertical form system and group teachers are encouraged to focus on their year 12 students career plans. Each group teacher would only have 3-5 year 12 students, so this is a very manageable number. Senior management have allowed time in term 2 where group teachers and year 12’s are excused from the assembly in order to update and discuss their career plans. 

Year 13:

Year 13 students update their profiles during senior education classes but by this point, they are encouraged and expected to keep them up to date in their own time. Students understand that if their profiles are not up to date they risk missing out on opportunities. During Senior Education class we invite in a lot of speakers from various tertiary training providers and job industries. At the end of each session, students are reminded to add these to their profile if it is something they are now interested in.

How it enabled us to better deliver personalised Guidance:

Problem

Before employing Career Central, the Careers Advisors at Matamata College struggled to keep track of the student career information required to develop career plans. As a result, they were not able to easily identify what career information their students were interested in and instead were advertising opportunities and events with a scattergun approach. This approach, they say, didn’t engage students, lead to some missing out on relevant information and others, receiving information that certainly didn’t appeal to them.

The team use Career Central for recording interview notes, but they can also see the notes recorded by other staff members. All student information is in one place and their profiles provide a starting point for career conversations.

Solution

Now with Career Central, the Careers Advisors can easily group students who have similar interests and/or demographics and send them relevant information. For example, if they wish to send out information about a ‘Waikato Management School Open Day’, Career Central will group students in the system that are Year 13 and interested in studying business together.

The Career Advisors can then easily advertise the Open Day to just those students and no others, ensuring that every student who has indicated an interested in business and is Year 13 will receive the communication.

As discussed above, Career Central has also enabled school-wide participation in Careers Education. Therefore, not only does Career Central deliver personalised guidance through targeted communications, but it ensures that teachers and support staff with a deep understanding of their students are also involved.

Plus, to ensure everyone is on the same page and working with the most recent information about the students career goals, any notes recorded by students and school staff in Career Central are automatically shared and visible to the Careers Department. Meaning if a student talks to a teacher in group class and decides that they are now interested in a trade instead of University then Career Central will highlight them in the list of students interested in trades when they go to send out relevant information

We’ve used Career Central for the past two years and fully endorse the programme. Not only can it be used in both Academic Mentoring & Career Counselling, but Career Central is used to quickly generate reports for parents – a task that previously took us hours. The ability to search for groups of students with particular interests and message them has made our department so much more efficient. We can now keep track of all students and make sure no-one misses out on opportunities, we love the programme.”

Anne Taylor – Careers Advisor

Matamata College (2016)

“At Matamata College Career Central has become an integral part of careers education in the school because it improves the Career Department’s productivity, increased school-wide participation and helps to deliver personalised guidance”.

Vicky Burgess-Munro – Careers Advisor

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22 Arawa Street, Matamata