Five ways our careers advisers inspire young people

There is no such thing as a typical 'young person'. They come in all shapes and sizes, each one influenced by a multitude of factors including their academic ability, homelife, peer groups, health and personal circumstances. Even identical twins can have widely contrasting careers aspirations. Every year our careers advisers see over 7000 Yr 11 students and each one requires a bespoke inspirational careers solution.

Across Calderdale & Kirklees we have over 60 careers advisers, most of whom are embedded within school and colleges across the area. All hold (or are working towards) a Level 6 qualification in Careers Advice & Guidance and each one is committed to maximising the opportunities of every young person they work with.

These are ways that we inspire young people:

1. Build trust with the individual

It is impossible to start inspiring a young person if you don’t have a connection with them. All our advisers start by building a rapport and being friendly and approachable.

It is important to take time to understand the precise situation of the young person and to put them at ease. Many won’t have had a conversation about their future before and they may well be feeling anxious or worried.

At this stage it is important to inspire the individual that they are in control of their options. By understanding this they can ‘own the process’ and then start to make informed choices.

For some individuals it might take longer than it does for others. In some situations, it is important not to set a time limit on conversations or restrict it to one session. We work with young people in a number of different settings (including pupil referral units, ‘special schools’, in care, home schooled) and each adviser has to develop a bespoke approach that is suitable for the unique needs of each individual.

Whilst all young people are different, we always start by listening to their story. Only when we understand their needs can we start to inspire them to maximise their careers opportunities.

2. Delivering inspirational careers information advice and guidance (IAG)

Careers IAG is much more than a 30 minute interview and the days of leaving school to gain a trade, wear a uniform or work in an office are long gone. In order to inspire young people it is essential to have the latest employment trends and information at your fingertips and be able to communicate and present it in a highly engaging way.

Our team of 60 careers advisers are the frontline of an operation that ensures that the right information is given to the right young people. At their disposal are a bank of resources that are created in-house and that they can used to inspire young people.

In addition to the 1:1 interviews that all Yr11 pupils receive, our careers advisers also organise careers events, speak in assemblies, arrange mock interviews and visits from local employers, meet with parents, monitor and produce regular reports for institutions, track pupil destinations, and ensure that schools and colleges are meeting their statutory requirements.

As the ‘face of careers’ within their education establishment, they are often responsible for inspiring a positive culture of careers with staff and pupils alike. And if that isn’t enough, they are also responsible for putting up and replacing a multitude of information posters around the school – which of course is a full-time job on its own!

3. Going beyond the call of duty

Not everyone responds positively to careers advice and this can be for a myriad of reasons. At C+K we never leave anyone behind, but to do this we often have to go beyond the traditional parameters of careers advice.

This can take many forms, but it is not uncommon for a careers adviser to make a home visit, spend their evening on a telephone call or communicate via a social media messaging platform.

The advent of technology has significantly advanced the careers adviser role, particularly around the dissemination of information. Young people expect a relevant and personalised service and the introduction of the C+K MyDirections careers platform delivers just this. Working along careers advisers the platform enables young people to explore thousands of careers and build a profile of those that they are particularly interested in using a specially developed algorithm. MyDirections will then provide additional relevant information to further inspire the user and help them achieve their careers goals.

But nothing will replace a professional careers adviser who is committed to inspiring young people and who will stop at nothing to ensuring that every young person has the information, advice and guidance that they need to succeed in their career choices.

4. Tailoring information and advice to young people

Not everyone responds to a 1:1 chat, in these situations the careers adviser must find an alternative way of delivering inspiring advice, information and guidance.

This is common in alternative settings and with young people who may have a EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan). An EHCP is given to a child who may have (SEND) Special Educational Needs and Disabilities or are having difficulties in school. In these cases, traditional communication methods are often put to one side and different methods are used.

These might include using visual aids to prompt responses or specialist board games such as Panjango Trumps. On their own they might not be effective, but in the hands of an experienced practitioner they can stimulate detailed discussions and be used to set effective and achievable careers goals.

For some, group work might be more effective. Listening to peers share their aspirations can help others to find the confidence to talk openly. The bond that a careers adviser in these situations creates can be very powerful. By building a relationship and remaining in contact, former students can be invited back to share their experiences and demonstrate how they have been successful in their career journey. This is very inspirational for those who feel that “people like them” don’t go to college or get a good job!

Careers advisers have many unique methods and tools that they can use to engage people in careers discussions. By adapting their approach to the individual’s needs, they can ensure that they delivering an inspiring session and inspiring the establishment ambitious careers goals.

5. Inspire parents and those who have an influential role in their lives

For many young people parental influence can play a big role in goal setting and their aspirations. To inspire young people, careers advisers occasionally need to inspire parents or those that play an influential role in young lives. Our careers advisers regularly meet with parents and involve them in the process, explaining career routes and destinations and outlining the opportunities for their son or daughter. Quite often parents or guardians don’t understand ‘new careers’ and therefore need reassurance that a chosen pathway is a viable option.

There are many influential people who can play a key role in the development of young people. It is often the job of a careers adviser to be the conduit between multi agencies and to bring everyone involved around the same table.

To do this requires an extensive address book and contacts forged over a significant period of time. C+K careers advisers have been building inspiring relationship for over 25 years and each new adviser who joins the team bring with them a new set of contacts that enhances the opportunities for young people.

If you would like to know more about how we inspire young people or if you would like to know how we can deliver inspiring careers advise within your school or college please contact Joel Robinson on 01484 242000 or email

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