Careers Advice in schools; helpful, or just a bit pointless?


I’ve had endless meetings with careers advisors; although I find it desperately hard to take their advice seriously… my first attempt was at the age of 13. I answered question after question on the careers programme Kudos, my top job… homeopathy, rather a specific aim for a 13 year old! The next attempt was at the age of 16, my school at the time invited external career profilers in. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the company. After my Dad forked out £40, I was taken to an exam hall and given an hour long question paper; including tests on spatial awareness, spelling and general intelligence. A week later I had a completely pointless interview with a lovely old man; who was quite a good laugh. All I found out was that I’m awful at spatial awareness, and should never be a builder, then I was sent off as another “future doctor”. My class was pretty much divided; half doctors, half teachers… oh, and one girl who was told she should be a zoo keeper. Sorry Dad, but I think it was probably money down the drain 😛 .

Sixth Form careers advice turned out to be little better, even though there are 6 staff and a whole library section devoted to it. Everyone is meant to have at least one careers interview. By this time, now aged 17, I had set my mind upon reading History at degree level. So I went for my interview; only to spend 40 minutes being told by some man that I’d never get anywhere doing history, and I should do a science degree using my Biology A-level. Obviously he hadn’t been listening to a word I’d said, but after the session he signed my sheet to prove I had been given some ‘help’.

The advice that has been useful to me is that of which subjects I needed to take to get in where, and what grades I needed, how to fill out my UCAS application form, whether I needed to take up maths if I dropped biology etc. So, I think advice on knowing how to keep your options open, and which subjects to take, is helpful. However, trying to profile a child to find out their future career is impossible as their dreams and interests are constantly changing as they mature. Also psychometric testing is unlikely to take into account all the possible careers people dream of, or the full scale of their interests and abilities.

Now aged 18 I have decided, purely through enjoyment of the subject, that I want to pursue a Psychology degree. Then, I plan on training to become a midwife; this is just a plan, I’m sure it will all go to pot when I have a sudden change of wind 😛 . Of all the people I’ve spoken to the best advice they’ve given me is that nothing will turn out the way you’ve planned, and to just pursue what you enjoy; that way you’ve always got the qualifications to do something you love.

 Here is the link to the origional Guardian Article “What do you want to be?”