As Chief Executive of Radar, I understand the positive impact that effective career guidance can have on people’s lives. It's not about offering single options - David Blunkett was famously advised to be a piano tuner - but enabling individuals to make choices based on their aspirations, best knowledge about labour market opportunities and the fit between the two. At best it can support social mobility, opening up greater options than an individual sets out with. Career guidance can help people to become more adaptable and resilient, to develop greater self-awareness and to source and evaluate information to make sound decisions about their learning and work. But the benefits are not just for individuals. Well-prepared, motivated applicants are an asset to employers and a key contributor to growth in the economy.
This is why I was keen to lead the work that culminated in the report we, at the UK Commission, have just published, ‘Helping Individuals Succeed: Transforming Career Guidance’. This report looks at how technology is transforming delivery of careers support, enabling people to access, not just an increasing range of information, but also advice and guidance from trained careers advisors, mentors, peers and employers.
Career guidance is funded by governments across the UK, but is also available from a wide range of other organisations, paid for in a variety of ways. The breadth of provision offers people the opportunity to select the support that is right for them, but an increasingly crowded market place can be difficult to navigate. What we set out to do in this work was to look at how the benefits of greater use of technology can be realised in ways that increase the coherence, rather than the complexity, of the career support market.
In this report we suggest that governments and their agencies should think more creatively about how they can broker effective relationships between public, commercial and voluntary organisations to harness their innovation and expertise. We believe this brings real potential for a more accessible, innovative and dynamic marketplace and provides the opportunity to enhance services in a more cost effective way.
Although our proposals are aimed mainly at governments and public agencies in the UK, this report is relevant to a much wider audience. It is supported by a robust evidence base which includes expert papers on a range of topics relating to career guidance and technology. These reports are available online in the publications section of the UK Commission website and are well worth a look. Each stands on its own as a piece of research as well as contributing to the wider work.
I hope the report provides a stimulus for discussion and leads to improvements that ultimately help more people make informed career choices and get into and on in work.
Image: Direction 020 by Alan Eng