Before Career Central we gathered student information from paper surveys and google forms. At Year 13 level, these were manually analysed and collated into common areas of interest etc.
The students had personal Pathway Clear files which were very difficult to manage. They mattered more to us than to the students! Careers education was delivered by teachers during Social Studies and while a structure was provided, they were free to bring their own interpretation to it. As a sole practitioner, It was impractical for me to check all these folders.
Now we have everything stored in one place with a uniform structure – Career Central self-files! Having data in a centralised place is efficient and anytime / anywhere access is an added bonus.
At the discretion of the Careers Administrator, student profiles can be accessed by other staff members – this could be used to inform their conversations around subject choices, and to gain insight into the student and their career thoughts.
The programme encourages the student to take ownership of their information – it enables them to maintain “living” documents if they choose to do so. In an ideal world, they would routinely update their personal portfolios!
Career Central provides a uniform structure regardless of who is delivering the programme, the programme’s tools can indicate the student’s level of engagement and it is very easy to flick open the student’s profile to see what has been done.
Has Career Central helped to streamline administrative tasks?
One of the first functions we utilised was Event Planning and this has certainly streamlined our processes. Previously a chain of processes was required for each individual career event – advertise through briefings/notices, paper sign up, type up a list of names for RAMS and display in the staffroom, and then attendance typed into Kamar (hopefully!)
With Career Central, I usually alert them to an upcoming event in a briefing, and then manage it all electronically – lists of attendees can be easily printed off and attendance information is automatically displayed on the student’s profile. Magic! I delegate Event Planning to the Careers Assistant – I forward emails her way, and she uploads events on to the calendar and issues invites etc.
It is useful to have tangible evidence of the events a student has had the opportunity to attend, and those which they have actually attended. Even better, these individual records are essentially self-generated!
Destination data– previously we individually texted students to find out their actual destinations and then collated this into graphs. Immensely time-consuming!
Now Intended destinations can be pulled off the information inputted by the students – as long as you ensure the task has been completed. I am looking forward to being able to access this year’s Leavers as a year group in 2019 – updating their actual destinations on Career Central should streamline the collation of data.
Another function I find to be really useful is the texting / messaging option– students are notoriously casual about checking emails. A short text can mean an interview can be held at short notice and can alert them to events etc.
The ability to upload forms is smart. Having all documents available on CC encourages usage – I am working to eliminate duplication, (by minimising the use of Google forms, for example), to keep things centralised.
Has Career Central made it simpler to view and monitor individual student career plans?
It is certainly easy to view individual’s career plans, but the challenge is ensuring the material is current/ regularly updated. For this reason, at Year 13 I am still using a mid-year Intentions survey but have chosen to upload this against an event on Career Central (to encourage usage of the programme). I have set the completion of key Career Central tasks as a prerequisite for CCRF requests this year – I believe student-generated material will be a useful supplementary resource for reference writing.
Being able to see the jobs the student has shortlisted in their profile is useful.
Have non-careers staff become more involved in career conversations as they now have Career Central access?
I have taken my time to share Career Central with the wider staff as I wanted to become competent with it myself first. For some, it is another complication, which they just do not have the scope to get their heads around! I would particularly like to see the Goal Setting Function being used in form time.
Another thought – the students I have worked with are very au fait with Career Central – having the student share their portfolio with form teachers/staff might break down perceived barriers/overload issues.
An aside…my Careers Assistant, who is new to the role and has no background in Careers, has had accelerated career education through her engagement with the programme!
Has Career Central encouraged better student engagement with career education?
I am constantly amazed at how completely engaging the students find the programme to be. Younger students – i.e. Year 10 relish the “About Me” section. By Year 12, the same activities promote quiet reflection, and a deepening self-knowledge, which supports career decision making.
The varied structure of tasks enhances engagement – e.g. the sliding scale for Career Values makes a change from the question/answer structure. Links to Career Quest keep things lively.
The requirement to provide evidence to support responses is a really positive feature.