Update from the CDI Conference 2013

Earlier this month I attended the first Careers Development Institute (CDI) Annual Conference in Stratford-upon-Avon. The CDI was formed earlier this year as an amalgamation of industries bodies including the ICG (Institute of Careers Guidance).

Just under 200 delegates attended representing guidance services providers, local authorities, schools, colleges, universities, training providers and many more.

A wide range of different themes and topics were discussed including:

Impact on economic prosperity

Poor careers support will impact upon a sustainable economic recovery. Without appropriate careers support young people risk making choices which do not give them realistic opportunities in the labour market.

A representative from the energy and utilities industry issued a plea that employers in the sector are desperate for young people. The industry is about to lose a significant amount of skilled employees as many are approaching retirement and there aren’t enough young people training in relevant fields to fill the gap. More and more the industry is being forced to recruit from overseas and pay well in excess of the salary that some jobs should attract because there is such high competition between employers.

Experiential learning

The best way for a young person to find out what they would (or would not) like to do in the future is to get experience of work. Most people agree that removing the statutory requirement for work related learning at KS4 has resulted in a reduction in work experience, however, was a one week placement actually the best way to expose young people to the world of work?

There was much discussion about the responsibility of employers but most people are aware of the practical pitfalls of trying to get employers into schools and young people in to the workplace on a more regular basis.

How can schools deliver better careers support?

Ofsted presented a summary of the findings from their recently published thematic review into careers guidance in schools (you can read our take on the report here).

However, there was also input from a school’s perspective from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the National Governors Association. Both agreed with the importance of making careers guidance a strategic leadership priority.

Measuring success

We need to show the positive impact of careers work. The big question is how? Showing the benefit that careers education, information, advice and guidance has had on a young person or an adult demonstrates the value of careers support but when each individual has a different starting point it is difficult to establish a uniformed way of doing this. The big concern is that if we cannot establish a way of measuring the value of work in terms of how far it has helped a client/student move forward, an outcome related to an arbitrary target will be applied and it will be that which success is judged on.

These were just a selections of the key themes discussed at the conference. Add you thoughts to the debate by joining our LinkedIn group here.

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