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Using careers information in practice

information icon All too often clients do not find researching a career an easy process. It isn't enough, for most people, to receive the suggestion that they should 'go away and research'. Frequently they are unsure where to start or are not clear about the questions they want to find out the answer to. Careers influencers need to support clients through this process, either through careers education or on a one to one basis.

An important element of this is clients being able to clarify what they already know and identify knowledge gaps that they need to fill. They need a broad understanding of their options and an introduction to a few key resources where they can start their research, as well as further help should it be needed. Tempting as it may be to suggest a whole list of resources, this is often counter-productive. Careers influencers need the skill and knowledge to be able to help clients target their research effectively. It's also good to encourage, once found, saving information for later so it is not lost in a sea of browsing.

It is well recognised that part of any decision making process is the collection and filtering of information, or opinion, from a wide variety of sources. Exposure to a wealth of new information and ideas about career options can be overwhelming and provoke more questions than answers. Some clients can work through their careers research successfully either unaided or with minimal support, others need more mediation and turn to trusted sources to help them find and make sense of careers information.

Activity icon Read through these Case Studies of how using careers information could work in practice and reflect on your own work. How do you help clients to make the most of careers information?

Ellen is a year 11 student who explains to the careers influencer that she is interested in practical learning and attracted to the idea of applying for apprenticeships but is not sure where to focus. Ellen is likely to get B/C grades in most GCSE subjects, including English, maths and science. The careers influencer, through talking to Ellen, establishes that engineering may be an area of interest, but Ellen feels that a deeper understanding of what this involves will be important to help her move the idea forward.

The influencer introduces Ellen to these resources and demonstrates (whilst letting Ellen have the computer mouse) some of the key features of the sites to inspire her: using the FAQs section in the student part of the site helps Ellen better understand the breadth of opportunities on offer. gives overviews of five industries that need to recruit engineers at technician level now and in the future and there is also advice on the site about how to go about getting an apprenticeship in these areas. introduces an industry where engineering is used on a large and varied scale and explains about the potential careers for those who enter as apprentices or technicians. Ellen can also read about further learning, such as foundation degrees.

Ellen now feels confident to take the next steps independently and use these resources to learn more, before progressing towards a decision about her apprenticeship applications.

Joe is taking A levels in geography, chemistry and maths. He is interested in higher education with a view to entering accountancy but wants to know more about other possible career options that link to his A level subjects, which he enjoys.

The careers influencer, through discussion, establishes that Joe might also be interested in finding out more about geology and surveying. The idea was suggested by a family friend and Joe identifies that he wants to know more about the working context and possible job opportunities.

Together they look at and find a broad variety of career paths on offer - not just a quantity surveyor or geologist, but also note that accountants, auditors and commercial managers have an important role to play in this industry.

The careers influencer introduces points out the careers pathway feature which could help Joe dig deeper into this area. The oil and gas industry factsheet gives an overview of the industry.

As Joe shows increasing interest in geology, the careers influencer points him towards case studies in

Joe can continue his research independently using these sites before they meet again.


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