When I was younger, I wanted to be a stand-up comedian.
Not many people will know that about me. It is especially ironic since at some stage during my adult life I developed a fear of public speaking (or at least that’s what I told myself until I discovered Neuro Linguistic Programming). Thankfully all that has changed and I have worked on those limiting beliefs. Like many career ideas, ambitions change and I decided that whilst I was keen to write and speak about my experiences – standing on a stage and telling jokes wasn’t going to be my thing. I also didn’t have the belief that I could do it.
I did however, develop a clear passion and drive to work with young people to empower them to make great life choices, but had no real idea how to go about this. Had I as a young person received (or sought after myself), quality careers education then perhaps my path to where I am now would have been a smoother ride. Besides this, my bumpy career path also had lots to do with my perspective on what I believed I could or could not achieve. I never had a conversation with anyone about how my thoughts affected my behaviour.
Quality time to work on my personal development did not become my world until my mid 20’s, and now it’s my whole world.
I believe that young people need time to explore their personal development, promote self-esteem, improve resilience and develop the necessary skills to take control of their own future. All the this must be interlinked with good career decision making skills. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is crucial in how we then go on to make great life choices as an adult.
Quality Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) is the key to this. As a Registered Careers Development Professional having worked in a variety of Secondary Schools and the wider community, I have over the last 15 years witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly that is on offer for young people.
A new government careers strategy came into place in 2018 whereby 8 Gatsby Benchmarks were developed to provide a great opportunity to make improvements in England for CEIAG so that all schools have an embedded careers programme that meet such criteria.
This is all going to take time, money and motivated professionals and I am hopeful for the future of careers work.
Until these improvements are fully implemented, we have to take responsibility and see that our young people are supported in whatever way that we can. Looking at CEIAG from a different perspective and being curious about their personal development can make all the difference to how they engage in this activity. If we engage with a person as a whole, give them time to build on that self-belief and ask the right kind questions this will prove much more effective and crucially, it is what young people deserve.
As a professional and a parent, I would like to know that our children and young people are ready to take that first step into employment feeling confident that they have explored their options fully from all angles. It is also about carrying these skills into adulthood as jobs will inevitably change, so equipping them with the ability to roll with that change is essential.
By having the ability to understand and use their minds in a positive way, young people can realise their true potential and perhaps explore those early dreams and ambitions further. Who knows where those dreams may take them?