Making Career Guidance accessible to all

Good careers advice and guidance makes a really positive impact on young people. Having someone to guide you through your options can help raise aspirations and make the right choices for your future. Yet some young people could struggle to access career guidance services due to factors such as the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic, having a disability, living too far away from the nearest career office, having caring or childcare responsibilities or careers appointments only being available at unsuitable times. With barriers such as these, how can you still receive support with your job seeking or course choices?

Impact of Covid 19

The Covid 19 pandemic has changed how young people view their future careers. Pre pandemic, students may have delayed their job searching or career decision making until their final year of school, college or university, Yet one thing many careers advisers have noticed over the past year, is an increase in students starting courses who are already concerned about their future job prospects, because of what they’ve seen in the media. Some of them are showing anxiety about whether they are doing the right thing at all. Not Going to Uni has a blog article on how the employment landscape will change post Covid.

So, if you are one of these young people feeling anxious about the future, how can you get careers advice and guidance when careers offices are closed?

When careers offices are open, many of them may only be open between 9am and 5pm. These opening times can be difficult for students who may be in classes or lectures all day. It could also be difficult if you are working. The Covid 19 pandemic also led to many careers’ offices closing completely. This struggle to obtain a suitable career guidance appointment can make you even more worried about your career decision making, but don’t fret! 

Online careers information, advice and guidance

Young people can be reassured that many career guidance advisers have adapted to the current pandemic by taking their services online, meaning you can still access career guidance support via Zoom, discussion forums, email or live chat. The National Careers Service has an online chat function and also a telephone number to call. If in Scotland, you could call the Skills Development Scotland helpline on 0800 917 8000.

So, if you are in need of a careers interview at a time that is most convenient to you, why not ask the careers adviser if they have alternative methods of undertaking that interview?

You can also read career guidance articles and blogs online. You could visit Not Going to Uni for information on various careers and courses. You can also search the site for vacancies.

Online events

Careers fayres and open days are an important part of career decision making. However, it could be difficult to access these events if you are disabled and the event is inaccessible. It could also be difficult if you have caring responsibilities or the event clashes with your working hours. Again, do not worry! You could try to search for virtual open days or virtual careers fayres that you could participate in instead.

Virtual work experience gives students and graduates the opportunity to complete a short work experience placement or an entire internship from the comfort of their home. What makes virtual work experience even more appealing is that taking part from home can open up opportunities that may not have been available to you before, such as internships with global organisations.

Employers who have offered virtual work experience and virtual internships include KPMG and EY. A careers adviser can also inform you of other employers offering similar opportunities but you can also contact employers directly yourself.

Accessible careers guidance for disabled people

If you have a disability, you may feel more comfortable speaking to a specialist career coach who has the knowledge, experience and understanding of your disability and the additional barriers you may encounter in work, in further or higher education. Many disability organisations have specialist career coaches or employment advisers whom you can speak to. Examples include Dyslexia Scotland who have a qualified career coach offering careers guidance. Scope has employment advisers for disabled people and Evenbreak are about to launch a careers service from qualified career coaches who are themselves disabled.

An all-age service

There is a common misconception that career guidance is only available to school pupils or college and university students. However, you can still receive career guidance throughout your life, no matter what age you are. Career Guidance is accessible at all life stages and all ages. It also does not matter if you are in employment or not. So, if you are ever in a job you no longer enjoy and wish to change, you can still seek an appointment with a careers adviser. Similarly, if you find yourself facing redundancy, a careers adviser can talk you through your options. In Scotland, there is a scheme called PACE to help those facing redundancy. This service could help you if you have been made redundant due to Covid 19.

Next steps

Now that you can see career guidance services can be delivered in a variety of ways, do not delay exploring your future career and study options.  Why not read some useful blogs on Not Going to Uni for some ideas to help you get started?

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