I wrote this article last week, still giddy with optimism that National Careers Week would form the centrepiece of educational reporting, and to a degree it did. Unfortunately only those interested in, paying attention to or aware of such Herculean efforts are likely to be captured by such events. For most, specifically those who watch the news it was as if a week long movement that invigorated a 1000,000 people to get involved simply didn’t happen. So today I post the article a little more cynically, a little less optimistic, more accepting that the hills I hoped had been breached simply give way to mountains beyond.
‘Careers Week! It’s Careers Week, National Careers Week to give it its full name, yay, NCW 2018! If this is starting to sound mildly insincere that is perhaps not a coincidence. That cynicism is in no way aimed at the organisers of the event, the event itself or indeed any of the aims of the event but rather the sadness that the status quo is such that we need it in the first place. For me Careers Week should be as unnecessary as Oxygen Week, a week dedicated to the promotion of the need for oxygen, where we hold breathing based events up and down the country and remind everyone what a jolly good idea it is.
It makes me deeply sad and deeply afraid that the level of meaningful discourse regarding a full and proper careers education in schools is such that we have to rely on parlour tricks and whizz bangery to get it the attention it deserves. The fact that so many people have been galvanized by the event and are lining up behind it to make sure that schools and colleges across the country are enjoying the benefits of expert speakers, careers days and innumerable events focused on this area is utterly wonderful. However. However, it shouldn’t take an annual event to create this kind of hum of activity, schools and colleges, employers, students and parents should constantly be seeking out opportunities to link learning to longer term careers goals. Many do. But they are sadly still in the minority.
So no matter who you are and what you do, if you live near a school or have children in school, roll up your sleeves and ask what you can do to help. It may be that you think your job very unglamorous and of no interest, most do, but if even one child finds their path because of you and your job that will be time well spent indeed. If nothing else, as an adult in the world, regardless of your place in it you will have insights regarding your life and how you arrived where you are that may act either as inspiration or cautionary tale to a young person and that has value.
On this Careers Week I say a genuine, full throated huzzah for all the people who make this kind of thing happen, I applaud them for dragging something that too often languishes in the gloom into the light where it belongs and showcasing what is possible when people get behind such an endeavour and I am grateful for those who give so freely and generously of their time in its service. That said, it is my deep and abiding hope that we will never need another one.’