Thursday, 15 December 2011

Social Media Assistant vacancy - SE London

Job title: Go4it Social Media Assistant (.5) This post is fixed term to 21st December 2012)

Salary £20,000 pro rata. A defined contributions pension scheme will be available with these posts.

Details We have recently secured ESF funding to deliver a 3 year pan-London project working with teenage parents and Looked After Children/care leavers and are now seeking to recruit a Social Media Assistant. They will create, maintain and develop a social networking hub that targets young people who are eligible for the Go4it project, keeps them engaged and provides them with information and access to a peer network and professional support.

To apply for these roles you must have experience in the use of social media tools and techniques and evidence of active participation in social networking and online communities with an understanding of web TV. You must also have an understanding of the needs of vulnerable young people and the barriers they may face. You must be a creative thinker with excellent communication skills and a conversational/witty writing style

For further information please contact or telephone 07584 236486

Location South East London

Closing date 4 January 2011 at 12 noon. Interviews will take place on 10th January

Applications Complete Expression of Interest form and return it to

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The future of work ... and careers advice

Interesting article in People Management about Lynda Gratton's forthcoming book "The Shift- The future of work is already here"

Lynda identifies five forces that will share the way we work in the decade ahead: Technology, Globalisation, Demographic trends, The need for a low carbon economy, and Societal Change.

Rapid and continuous technology advances will bring us ever more powerful applications in handheld devices. 5 billion more people around the world will get connected to the internet - bringing new voices, ideas and connections. The growing development of "The Cloud" will allow applications to run within a global infrastructure rather than having to be installed locally on our desktop computer or internal company networks.

Lynda sees the emergence of global mega-companies at one end, and of millions of "micro-entrepreneurs" at the other. The goods and services created by workers in China and India will move up the value chain, increasing the global aspirations of the companies providing them.

There is also a shift in education, with emerging talent pools in India and China, boosted by strong emphasis on study of science and technology subjects, considered harder or boring by western students.

New ways of working could leave people isolated, working with only virtual connection to colleagues. But the networked nature of society could also allow people to reach out, connect and create new opportunities, developing as micro-entrepreneurs.

Lynda suggests there will be a shift from worker's being "shallow generalists" to being "serial masters" with deep levels of skill and competence. The shallow level of knowing a little about a lot is no longer the route to opportunity creation. Anyone with access to the internet and wikipedia can gain a shallow insight into a topic. The "serial" aspect reflects the likelihood many of us will face longer working lives, and need to re-skill to master new areas of expertise.

Rather than working in competitive isolation, the future way to flourish will be to be an "innovative connector", sharing ideas and gaining inspiration from: your "posse" - trusted connections; a "big ideas crowd" being your extended network (friends of friends); and your own personal "regenerative community" - your closest friends and family.

So if the world of work is changing does this impact careers work?

The model of advice delivery which has flourished under Connexions has emphasised the generalist approach. Former specialist careers advisers became generalists, advising teenagers on the widest range of personal support topics. What's now needed in an internet savvy, connected world is the ability for young people to connect easily with the expert. Not just connection with an experienced generalist careers adviser, but instead to an adviser with a deep level of knowledge of the specific industry, occupation or company a learner aspires to join.

The questions, issues and challenges a client may face are likely to require multiple experts with different specialisms over time. The adviser who helps you choose your GCSE subjects at age 13, or understand the intricacies of veterinary medicine, may not be the adviser who helps you apply for a voluntary opportunity or internship.

The challenge for careers advice services is getting past the idea that generalists with access to a knowledge base can meet most advice needs, or that the client should only work with one named adviser (usually allocated by the provider for the provider's convenience). The technology to enable client driven selection of advisers surely exists - sites like Horsesmouth already demonstrate this - young people can scan through thousands of mentors to find specific attributes or expertise that match their current requirements.

For some clients of course facilitation and support are needed to select an adviser. For many clients the advice given by a generalist would still be helpful. But if careers providers are to be at their most effective, they need to embrace the notion of specialism and expert advice in order to meet the needs of clients and the expectations of those (e.g. schools and parents) who will be paying for impartial advice and guidance in the future.

Image credit:

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Getting More From Google - Ten Tips to enhance your websearch

At this year's National Career Guidance Show 2011 in Leeds and London I present a session offering ten tips to improve your Google search experience. Come along to the Royal Armouries in Leeds on Thursday February 17th at 11.15am, or to Wembley Arena in London on Thursday March 10th at 2.30 pm. Entry to the National Career Guidance Show is free.

View the slides at Slideshare and look out for the audio narration I'll be adding in due course! The ten tips are:

1. Keep it simple
2. Use search syntax
3. Make use of maps
4. Filter your results
5. Use search tools
6. Tailor your search settings
7. Refine with advanced search
8. Personalise by logging in
9. Make Search social
10.Protect your privacy

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Enhancing Choice? the role of technology in the career support market

UKCES, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills has published an interesting report on the role of technology in careers support. The report is authored by Tristram Hooley, Jo Hutchinson and Tony Watts.

The choice of the term "careers support" rather than "careers advice and guidance" is interesting, and the authors consider a wider cast of players, including friends, family, parents, tutors, alongside the professional adviser. Here's a brief summary of some of the key points from the research.

It is suggested that individuals can benefit from support and guidance on how to invest their "career capital" - i.e. the individual can maximise return on their talents, social and educational positioning. But with the complexity of education and career choices, it can be hard for an individual to do this without career support. Outcomes are not exclusively determined by career capital, but it is however an important factor.

The report asks whether technology can improve people's choice in the ways they access support, and also increase cost-effectiveness. At present career support services have a high profile with government, but policy makers are currently having to rethink delivery models in the light of scarce and reducing funds.

In the careers support market very few consumers of advice and guidance pay for what they receive. It's a complicated market with confusing entitlements and some instability in the organisations and institutions providing services. User understanding of what's available and how to access is increasingly dependent upon using the internet. This inevitably excludes or impedes access by some groups. The authors suggest digital literacy and search strategies of users are often poor. We need to consider digital literacy as a career management skill and focus on helping people raise skill levels.

International comparisons found only a limited niche market for the "individual pays" segment of the career support market. Where governments have withdrawn funding for services this has led to considerable reduction in availability of career support.

The authors find that ICT is changing the way career support is being provided, and has enabled new players to enter the market and achieve high penetration. ICT is being used to reduce the cost per user, reaching larger volumes in largely self-service web-based delivery modes. One of the arguments for encouraging people to use online resources and self-directed learning is that such activity makes face to face adviser sessions more effective, since clients arrive more prepared for their session.

Services like wikijob and Horsesmouth are cited as examples of sites which emphasise the value of collectivised knowledge and the input of non-professionals, rather than the expertise of qualified advisers.

There are basically 5 ways in which career support services are funded:

1) Government pays - but this tends to limit the scope for innovation, as services tend to be tightly defined in procurement processes.
2) Charitable body pays - more innovation and flexibility is possible but this can lead to problems of sustainability as funding dries up.
3) Individual Pays - a niche mainly confined to high income individuals seeking advice and support. A number of providers have attempted to sell e-books and career focussed apps to a broader audience, but have not yet found a viable market to individuals.
4) Opportunity Providers pay - for example recruiters - although there are some good sites like monster, with useful content, such providers tend to avoid the intensive and costly offer of personal support. The value in these sites is in the quality of content and frequency of update.
5) Embedded - for example within an education provider's offer to learners, or as part of an employer's offer to employees.

The report suggests further research is needed into how government could stimulate a hybrid model where both government and individuals contirbute to the cost of career support services, and the potential of apps in this marketplace.

Policy levers could also be applied to encourage employers and education providers to embed career support into their operational models. Government can influence the sector through quality assurance and regulation activities. Key outcomes of such intervention might be:

* The sector being encouraged to upskill career support practioners
* Development of protected status for career professionals
* A kitemark for quality career support web resources
* Provision of quality careers and labour market information through a single national portal
* More flexibility in service commissioning by the public sector, to encoruage provider innovation
* Provision of services to those unable to fund themselves

The report concludes by welcoming market development as offering a greater range of services, and the hope that consumers are well informed, with digital literacy skills enabling them to recoup maximum benefit from a diverse range of support. While government can shape, recommend and encourage market development, ultimately individuals are responsible for managing their own careers.

I think there is a long way to go in building digital literacy among professional practitioners before they could begin to help clients improve their digital literacy. Too often practitioners report organisational restrictions on internet use, but I think the issue goes deeper than this.

Some professional careers advisers remain blissfully ignorant of the best digital career support available. I recently delivered training to experienced advisers and many reported not knowing of such sites as icould, thestudentroom and horsesmouth. These are innovative, popular careers support sites which many of clients use already, or would certainly benefit from being signposted to.

It is hard to see how any professional adviser could help their clients to maximise their "career capital" without considering the potential of digital career support offerings, whether those be through contacts within social networks, the support of online mentors, or the collectivised online wisdom of peers.

Image credit: