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3 Ways to Use EdTech to Support Student Career Development

Career quizzes have long been the favoured method in schools for students to start building an idea of the different career pathways and jobs that might be relevant for them. There’s a whole range of websites offering up different tests and quizzes that students can sit in front of for half an hour before it reveals their ‘top’ results.

But is this really the way we want to educate young people about their potential career identity? Through yet more testing and assessments?

One of the biggest problems with this type of careers resource is its lack of creativity. Even now, many of the career quizzes out there offer very one dimensional pathways and descriptions of the stock standard job roles that might be available to students. When it comes to STEM, and the increasingly vast amount of career options, this is a big problem.

In one of our previous blog articles, we talked about the impact of EdTech for the education industry, and in particular why EdTech is so relevant and important for careers education. To refresh, according to The Guardian, UK schools and colleges now spend around £900 million on EdTech a year. In the first 10 months of 2017 alone, $8.15 billion was staked in EdTech companies by global investors. Over the past few years, EdTech innovation has helped more and more students in acquiring knowledge on different STEM subjects, connecting with tutors, and gaining deeper insights on which subjects to study.

The question now is how EdTech can help with careers delivery and supporting students with securing future employment opportunities. How can we use EdTech to build a more creative and supportive arena for young people to engage with careers at all levels?

EdTech and Careers Education

Apart from the variety of interactive and flexible study and learning options, EdTech is starting to demonstrate its diversity in how it can help students get on in the world of work. There are three core areas around this:

  1. Career Guidance: helping students understand what the right career options are for their skills, interests and aspirations.
  2. Professional Development: highlighting what courses, training and professional development platforms are available to help them on their chosen career path.
  3. Job Placements: developing new and innovative ways for students to source, apply and secure work experience, internships and job placements.

Below we explore each of these areas in a bit more detail, and the key EdTech platforms that are supporting their delivery.

Career Guidance

Many of the platforms looking to support career guidance are taking the idea of the careers quiz and super-sizing it! They’re taking the concept to a new level by utilising more interactive methodology for delivery, and modernising the options and descriptions that students then get access to in their results. These platforms are also identifying the need to keep in step with students as they progress through their studies and their knowledge and ideas grow. Instead of one quiz that students might complete once at the end of their secondary studies, they can create a full, individualised career profile that they can tap into, update and add to to suit them, across the different levels of their study.

The EdTech that’s helping:

Knowledge Officer

One app that’s doing this pretty well is Knowledge Officer. At the 2018 London EdTech Week Knowledge Officer secured a significant amount of funding. As a careers education platform, it provides a learning experience that’s individually tailored to a student’s career goals, interests and current skill level. It utilises machine learning algorithms that work off of the information provided by students through a series of interactive quizzes. The overall aim is to open up the door for students to learn more about different career paths, and the skills they might need to develop to further support their career aspirations.

People Like Me

WISE’s new People Like Me is another platform that’s specifically helping girls understand what type of personality they have, what job roles they might be well-suited to within science and engineering and then connecting them with women in those careers.

Springpod

When it comes to empowering careers staff to take a more proactive role with supporting their student’s career journey, Springpod has you covered. For instance, through a ‘student interests’ feature, staff are able to see the career paths, companies and opportunities that their students are looking at, both at an individual and school-wide level. This knowledge enables CEIAG sessions to be tailored and bespoke for each student.

Springpod also connects students with industry experts for advice as well as giving students access to an extensive careers library full of data for exploration that is personalised based on skills and interests.

Professional Development

Careers guidance isn’t just about the immediacy of helping students understand what roles might be suitable for them. It’s also about helping students understand the skills, training, and qualifications they need to get into those roles. Taking this one step further, it’s about helping students build and understand their professional identity. Are they a leader, an entrepreneur, a creator, or a fixer? What are their skills gaps and how they can continue to build a career that’s engaging, adaptable and rewarding: this is where introducing the concepts of professional development are vital, and where EdTech can help.

The EdTech that’s helping:

Jolt

Jolt launched earlier this year in the UK, and has quickly worked on establishing itself as the ‘school for your career’. It’s a platform specifically designed for young people to learn more about professional development concepts to further their career, including topics such as networking, negotiating pay, using social media and interview guidance, alongside talks and seminars from professionals across industries.

FutureLearn

Encouraging students to seek out their own development not only puts control of their career path firmly in their own hands, but also empowers them to be curious and seek out new ways to further develop their professional and personal identity. FutureLearn is an excellent platform to introduce secondary or further education students to, as it covers such a broad selection of courses and professional development topics. Working with a variety of universities to develop the courses they offer everything from the basics – writing a CV, job search techniques, professional presentation – right through to the more entrepreneurial – business planning, creativity at work, communication strategy. Better yet, all of their courses are free and are self-paced learning, meaning students can work through the material at a speed that suits them. If they want to get recognised for their learning, they can pay a small fee for an accredited certificate.

Job Placements

Moving away from the classroom and getting students engaged with the wider world of work, in meaningful ways, is a priority for all careers guidance. What many have often struggled with is locating employers willing to offer students opportunities, work experience or industry engagement that really adds value to students learning about particular career paths. Another area EdTech is helping is through creating platforms for schools and employers to meet in order to match up students with industry partners, and start getting them involved in ways that students really want to be a part of.

The EdTech that’s helping:

Get My First Job

For students who are unsure about what opportunities are in their local areas, GetMyFirstJob is an excellent starting point. The website works as a semi-recruitment platform, advertising work experience, internships, apprenticeships and traineeships specifically for young people. It enables them to create a personalised profile based on their interests, skills and qualifications and then matches them with the opportunities in their local area. Students can apply directly via the website and potential employers also have the ability to send them new opportunities that match their interests.

Springpod

Via Springpod, students can source and apply for live work experience, apprenticeship and job opportunities. Students also can get access to meaningful industry interaction.

Industry talks are a great way to get students to hear from industry specialists about their career paths and what a career in their respective field looks like, something that STEMTalks is helping with, a new webinar platform launched by Springpod and UTC Hub. is a great way that technology can act as a bridge between employers and influential figures in the STEM world.

Careers quizzes might still have some place in the careers classroom, but with so much creative and innovative EdTech out there to help showcase to students how exciting and multi-dimensional the world of work really is – especially in STEM! – why should we stick to them? EdTech is helping to shape so many areas across the education industry, and it’s great to see that careers education hasn’t been missed out in this. There’s never been a better time to ditch the careers quiz and introduce some EdTech into the classroom instead.

Elaine Mead

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