For more information and useful links please see 'useful information'.
Careers information is designed to help people of all ages make important decisions such as choosing a course or career path. Although we are expected to have several career changes in a lifetime, being happy in our current occupation is essential for both us and society - after all, we spend the majority of our waking hours at work.
Good careers writing is a specialist field which requires:
1. Research into occupational areas, what the work involves and how to train or qualify.
2. A fundamental belief in, and commitment to, equality of opportunity for all citizens.
3. A broad careers/education/employment knowledge base in order to set this information in context. This includes:
- The Education System: This now differs in each of the countries that make up the UK. Scotland has always had its own different system of qualifications and higher education. A knowledge of overseas qualifications, especially EU-wide qualifications, may also be required, though UK-NARIC is there to provide advice and clarification.
- Careers Information, Advice and Guidance: Again each country now has its own system. England has the Connexions Service. In England, free adult guidance is currently available up to level 2 through the Next Step Service (with some local variations). An all-age service is to pilot in London in summer 2008, with all-England coverage from 2010/11. Careers Scotland, Careers Wales and the Northern Ireland Careers Service NI are all-age services. Careers guidance in higher education is currently provided by each university independently although the website http://www.prospects.ac.uk/ serves all students wherever they live.
- Qualifications: Vocational qualifications in the UK are offered by many different organisations. Over the last few years there has been ongoing government activity to try and simplify the UK qualification system, most significantly the introduction of the National Qualification Framework which sets out eight levels within which all qualifications now sit. (Scotland has its own qualification framework.)
- Employment Law: Careers writers need at least a working knowledge of the government departments regulating employment, legislation such as working time regulations, non discriminatory practice and much else.
- Labour Market Information: The world of work is constantly changing, with this years skills shortage becoming next year’s labour over-supply. Sources of reliable LMI come and go and careers writers need to develop their own systems for keeping in touch.
In addition to a specialist knowledge careers writing has other specific characteristics. It is a field, for example, where ethical considerations can arise and a careers writer may need the experience and confidence to challenge their brief. But most of all good practice in careers writing requires that it should be:
- gender, diversity and disability aware
- age appropriate