Who are CIOLA?

Who are CIOLA?

Our Sales and Marketing Manager, Damian Mawdsley, was invited to attend a CIOLA meeting in December. Read all about his encounter with the ‘Who’s Who’ of Career Guidance.

A few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to attend a meeting of a group called CIOLA.  CASCAID were due to sponsor the event, and I was given the opportunity to give an update on what was happening at CASCAID.  At the point of being asked I had no idea who or what CIOLA was – but of course I agreed to attend – I’ll accept any opportunity to wax lyrical about CASCAID!

So who are CIOLA.  A bit of Googling lead to a blog written a few years ago which told me:

“The initials ‘CIOLA’ may not mean much to newcomers to the field of careers information, advice and guidance but it is a group whose members are experts in writing, publishing and disseminating careers information. They work mainly for careers guidance companies, local authorities and careers publishers and distributors. CIOLA members meet regularly to update their knowledge and share resources and intelligence.”

I am a relative newcomer to the careers field. The initials didn’t mean much to me, but with an open mind I drove to Luton, jumped on a train (the wrong one – right destination but a circuitous route – something for another blog perhaps) and arrived at the meeting roughly on time.

The people I met included a Who’s Who of Career Guidance royalty.  Names I had heard talked about as the great and the good who had been working in the industry for years. CASCAID have been around for nearly 50 years.  Some of the people I met at the meeting have been working with us for over 20 of those!


So how was the meeting?  For me it was both interesting and insightful.  I found it interesting that all of the people in the room had the same ambitions around the outcomes of what they do – provide high quality career guidance and advice – but represented an array of different approaches.  Some through local authority covering schools, adult guidance, ex-offenders and young people leaving care.  Others were self-employed professionals offering guidance in schools and other career guidance support services.  Some worked across a group of schools in specific areas, others worked internationally and some were published writers – an eclectic mix!

The overwhelming sense I got from attending the meeting was the passion that everyone had for Career Guidance – it was clear that everyone cared deeply about their work, and most critically the outcomes generated for young people and adults from effective career guidance.

I also saw the huge benefit to having regular meetings such as these.  This was the 148th CIOLA meeting – an incredible achievement given the dramatic changes and pressures placed on the Career Guidance Industry in the last few years.  It was clear that the opportunity to share information, knowledge and experiences was readily grabbed at, alongside an eagerness from everyone to share anything that may be of use or any questions or advice people may need to ask.

Sadly, there are question marks over future meetings.  The venue currently used (The ALCS in London) is no longer going to be available from 2017 as the room will become an office space. It has generously been offered at a reasonable price but there are difficulties finding a similarly good space in London that will be similarly priced.

The feeling I got at the meeting was that there was a desire to ensure CIOLA continues to meet and that there was no shortage of people thinking of ideas for venues. The biggest barrier to this is sourcing a venue – but I’m sure it’s a barrier that the CIOLA members will knock down!

If you have a venue, or know of a venue that may be of interest, please contact dmawdsley@cascaid.co.uk and we can pass your details on to the relevant people.

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