Our latest post to support National Careers Week looks at the role of ICT in careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG).
To find out more about National Careers Week, click here.
The role of ICT in CEIAG
Technology-based resources have an important part to play in CEIAG delivery. CEIAG delivery can require extensive human resource, but with reducing budgets and higher demand, ICT resources are becoming even more important.
Accessing services via technological channels is the preferred choice for many people. Young people in particular react positively to ICT solutions operating in a world where they feel comfortable.
ICT cannot replace human interventions and there is considerable research which backs the fact that people value face-to-face interventions. However, it does have a crucial role to play in helping to make those interventions more effective for all involved.
When used as part of a blended delivery model, ICT resources can help to make more effective use of valuable adviser time. Caseloads can be managed better by engaging clients (where appropriate) in using ICT-based diagnostic tools as an early intervention. The benefit of doing this is that these tools help to move a person forward. They enable people to understand their current strengths. They provide ideas for further exploration and motivate an individual to progress. This means that follow up interventions with an adviser are more effective because the client has some ideas for discussion.
When an adviser is faced with a client who has no ideas about careers and is unaware of their strengths and reluctant to discuss their interests, it is time- consuming for the adviser to tease this information from the client. These tools can also help to identify clients who are most vulnerable and those who require more intensive adviser intervention. Equally, while in no way replacing the need for person-to-person contact, these resources can have huge benefits for the client and adviser by making the most effective use of their time.
ICT resources also have an important role to play in ensuring that the service clients receive is high quality and impartial. In a rapidly changing world, it is impossible for each adviser to have a completely up-to-date and fully inclusive knowledge of every career, learning or training opportunity. By blending high-quality information resources into delivery, advisers can provide their clients with information on virtually any opportunity.
In addition, in situations where there may be a risk of clients receiving biased information because of the nature of the organisation delivering it, quality, independently produced ICT-based information resources ensure that the client has the opportunity to explore all of their options. Most reputable ICT information resources are regularly updated and the revised information is usually automatically provided to the user. This saves money when compared with purchasing new information resources and adviser time in terms of checking information resources for validity.
It also has environmental benefits by reducing the need for paper-based resources which will eventually be disposed of once they are out of date.
ICT resources also have significant benefit in terms of making elements of CEIAG accessible. Delivery can take place at a time and location to suit the client and access is usually flexible enough that they can utilise the resources at a later date when they require further help.
ICT resources also offer the flexibility to utilise a range of technology-based channels. This enables CEIAG to be offered via multiple access points which appeal to a wider range of clients. There are some good examples where social-media channels are being used to reach audiences which have not responded to the more traditional sources of CEIAG provision. Many of these channels have the added benefit of ‘community’ which enhances the CEIAG provision through shared ideas and experiences. There are, however, some cautionary notes. While shared experiences are informative and valuable, clients, and in particular young people, need to have the skills to be ‘critical consumers’ of the information. The open nature of these channels means that anyone can contribute and users should explore the motivation for the information provided and recognise that it may not be impartial or verified.
ICT enables CEIAG to be delivered to virtually all locations. This supports delivery in rural areas. Although there are practical issues such as the lack of availability of high-speed broadband in some locations, this is likely to improve going forward. Although media rich resources are preferable, it is also possible to deliver less high-speed dependent information which enables people to engage regardless of their location.
ICT also enables CEIAG delivery to be customised according to the need of the users. Resources can also include localised Labour Market Information (LMI) and support to be delivered alongside more generic, national provision.
In addition to playing a crucial role in terms of access to provision for clients, ICT also has a key ‘back-room’ role in enabling delivery to be managed effectively and results to be monitored.
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