Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is expanding its careers services in schools from June 2016, Head of Career Management Skills Development and Delivery James Russell tells us more.
“I can still remember the best piece of advice I was offered while I was at school – be the best you can be and do what will make you happy.
The advice came from my sister who was a maths teacher.
She supported me throughout school not just in her subject, but also in developing study skills and what I now understand to be the fundamental principles of a learning or continuous improvement cycle.
Her support had a huge impact on me, helping me to develop my knowledge, skills and confidence.
It challenged my thinking on what motivated me and what I wanted to do with my life.
It’s more than 20 years since my sister said those words to me, but my experience reflects how good careers advice can open young people’s eyes to the opportunities and possibilities of their future.
The work of SDS careers advisers is having a similar long-lasting impact on young people across Scotland day-in and day-out.
Now, I’m lucky enough to be part of the team at SDS working to extend the reach of our careers services in schools to offer further support for younger pupils, their teachers and parents.
This expansion will allow us to reach younger pupils, especially at big transition points such as choosing subjects, or at the move from primary to secondary school.
It will help ensure the choices they make about their future are informed, and based on their skills, interests and abilities alone.
What to expect
June marks the start of the new offer being available across the country. The extended elements of the offer will see Careers Advisers:
- hold group sessions at primary 7 transition or early in S1 to support individuals during this key transition phase; and with pupils in S2 and S3, aligned with arrangements for making subject choices
- offer one-to-one interviews with pupils at subject choices time and offer their parent/ carer and/or teacher to be involved during this one-to-one or at another suitable time
- working closely with schools to identify and agree the delivery of enhanced support to develop career management skills (CMS) to those S3 pupils who need it most, on a one-to-one basis. Follow-up group activity can also be held as agreed
That’s in addition to what’s already in secondary schools which sees SDS advisers:
- hold group sessions during the senior phase (S4-S6) using interactive activities to continue to develop pupils’ CMS
- offer one-to-one coaching for those pupils in the senior phase who need it most to support their decision making and progression
- hold drop-in clinics for all young people from S1-S6
- be available at parents’ events
Testing is also continuing on our new career education tools and resources for primary 5 to 7 teachers and pupils, which will be available in August.
These will be accessed through our award-winning career information and advice web service, My World of Work, which also has specific advice and support for parents and carers.
Tried and tested
The changes support delivery of the Career Education Standard and the outcomes of Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, as well as complementing a wide range of other SDS projects such as Foundation Apprenticeships and Improving Gender Balance Scotland.
Annual discussions between SDS and individual secondary schools on the SDS School Partnership Agreement are underway. These discussions enable us to collaborate on how we align and integrate SDS services to compliment the curriculum activities already in place to develop pupils’ knowledge of the world of work and career pathways.
The partnership agreements ensure we can shape how SDS resources are best used to match each school’s strengths, needs and local circumstances.
35 schools in 12 local authorities worked with us across the 2015/16 academic year to be ‘early demonstrators’ for the extended offer. This has enabled us to evaluate the service offer in practice and develop it further in advance its introduction in all other schools across the 2016/17 academic year.
Young people, teachers and SDS staff were an integral part of the process of developing the Career Education Standard and our expanded careers services offer; our work with them will continue to help us understand how we can improve the service further.
We’ve also developed CLPL modules for teachers along with Education Scotland. The first, an introduction and overview of the Career Education Standard, is already online. Three more will be added soon on Career Management Skills, labour market information and My World of Work.
We all want young people to be able to go on to successful and fulfilling careers, and I look forward to the part SDS can play in supporting them to get there.”