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23 February 2015

Inspiring the next generation about careers

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by Caroline Cookson

I wonder how many of you reading this are doing the job you imagined yourself doing when you were 14. By the time I was 18 I had considered several possible career paths from popstar to music journalist, solicitor to hairdresser. Recruitment never featured in the list and it was something I fell into, yet I’ve been doing this job now for over 15 years.

Educating young people about the variety of careers and work opportunities open to them is something I am passionate about; not only as a recruitment professional but also because I’m a mum of two children, who will be starting to think about possible careers within the next five years. It’s tough to get the balance right on this subject. What age is it best to start this kind of education? What form should that education take? Whose responsibility is it – teachers, parents or people in business? It’s an area I think needs a re-focus by schools, colleagues and careers advisory services. I am not convinced we’ve got it right yet.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), which governs our industry, has been doing its bit by establishing the Youth Employment Charter. Last Thursday I was pleased to be part of a workshop hosted by REC which has engaged with the employability education charity, Worktree, which is based in Milton Keynes. (www.worktree.org). Worktree has created an engaging tool which offers a new way of conducting careers talks and sessions with schools. Individuals can go into schools and use a series of card based games that allow children to ask key questions about their profession and what it’s like to work in that sector, highlighting what different jobs really mean and building children’s knowledge of them. The session was fun and interactive with, for example, a ‘Top Trumps’ style game I think children will really engage with as it’s simple and straight-forward. A key difference is that the games empower children to ask lots of questions: everyone gets involved.

Worktree wants to hear from individuals keen to contribute to go into schools & colleges and host a WOW Workshop (wowtalk.org.uk). This only takes an hour – 1 hour of your time, once a year. If we all contributed just one hour to our local schools and colleges imagine what a difference it would make.

Caroline@f1recruitment.com

You can read our experience of another schools careers initiative, Inspiring the Future, here