In-school careers support in a COVID/post-COVID world
How do you continue to deliver value for money in-school careers support when students are working remotely for home?
C+K delivers in-school careers support via a team of over 50 careers advisers. In March 2020, the traditional model was ripped up as schools and colleges closed their doors and learning moved to a remote online model. Pupils, however, didn’t stop leaving school or choosing options, and they still required the support of a network of careers professionals. So how did we adapt and how did we ensure that our education establishments maintained their statutory requirements?
When the world ‘went online’ last March, C+K was already in the middle of a major review of its digital services. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our service provision and to offer value for money for our customers. Whilst a period of testing would have been preferred, the changing education landscape gave us a unique opportunity to ‘live test’ our plans. By the summer of 2020, we had all our careers advisers working remotely and careers advice was taking place online via a combination of video, audio and text chats. We also moved all our events online and virtual attendance numbers were as high or higher than our ‘live’ events.
Throughout the last twelve months we have been keen to hear the views of young people on how our careers services should be delivered going forward. One key finding is that some young people have embraced online interaction, preferring it to an in-person session. Going forward we will be introducing a hybrid service that will give young people the choice of how they want to receive their careers support.
The feedback we have received over the last year has also helped shape a number of major new developments we will be launching in the coming months.
One of the major casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic was the opportunity for young people to undertake work experience. It’s still unclear when ‘traditional’ workplace visits will return, but to ensure that young people don’t miss out, we are launching a virtual work experience service. Our Employer Engagement and Work Experience teams have used their extensive knowledge and have worked with a number of local employers to develop videos and a suite of resources that will help young people get a feel of what the world of work is like.
The second major development will be launched in June 2021: an online careers platform that will provide personalised careers information for every young person using it. The site is currently being beta-tested but you can expect to hear lots about it in the coming months.
Finally, whilst lots of things have changed in the last twelve months, one thing has remained steadfastly constant – expert careers knowledge. Whilst the platforms and the delivery mechanisms may vary (in-person, via video, via text, via phone), the knowledge and expertise of our qualified and professional careers advisers continues to remain of paramount importance. This is why we continue to invest in the best people and support them with the best products and processes. They are at the heart of everything that we do and it’s why we are able to continue delivering essential careers support whatever challenges we are faced with.