Technology has transformed schools, the way that we teach and is, in turn, transforming our careers guidance. Making use of the latest technology will help ensure you have the best careers programme possible, making career guidance accessible and relatable to the widest range of students possible.
Ella Bujok, Product and Brand Director for Cascaid says: “Technology enables schools and colleges to scale their careers education provision at a time when careers budgets are often tight. It can help educators and advisers target provision where there is the greatest need, and provide data to inform the wider careers programme.”
A great careers programme means happy students who fulfil their potential, happy parents and an Ofsted rating to die for. You’ll also be meeting your statutory obligation to ensure that your students have access to independent and impartial guidance.
Achieving this blissful, happy scenario sound too good to be true, right? Or if it’s not too good to be true, it’s going to be hard to achieve. Well, we’re here to prove that it’s not too good to be true and making use of technology in your careers teaching really isn’t that hard either.
Below are some of our favourite careers technologies to help you and your careers guidance in our tech-fuelled world.
Mobile phone apps
Schools often have different policies regarding the use of mobile phones at school. Your students could access some of these apps outside the school gates. Below are some of the best (free and priced) apps for careers guidance.
There are too many to mention, but countdown apps have great uses for careers stuff. Any UCAS application will entail lots of deadlines for open days, completion of personal statement, early applications (Oxbridge/medicine/veterinary science/medicine and dentistry), normal closing dates and late applications, clearing etc. And it’s not just UCAS: apprenticeships; college courses; summer jobs/schools; and even work experience often have cut-off dates for applications. Ensure students don’t miss an important date and encourage them to use a countdown app.
A GCSE and A-level revision app, with lots of other helpful information on jobs and careers, gap years and apprenticeships.
This app isn’t intended for careers planning as such, but here at Springpod we think it could be useful. It’s a visual tool for structuring information and helps with remembering and generating ideas. There could be a whole array of uses – from open day planning to UCAS key dates and deadlines, from making applications to career planning.
This helpful app helps match students to university courses (undergraduate, foundation and HNC/HND) based on actual or predicted grades.
Interest-based careers guidance tools
No careers department should be without at least one of these. If you are, then go explore them and your life as a careers teacher will be transformed.
The two main interest based tools in the UK are Fast Tomato (produced by Morrisby) and Kudos (produced by Cascaid).
They both work on the same principle – students answer a series of online questions about work based on their interests and the tool generates a list of possible ideas for further exploration. Both can be incorporated into your school’s careers education programme, and can also be used by students at home. Lesson plans and video tutorials are also provided.
These products are great for those students who have no idea what they want to do – which with the overwhelming amount of choice kids are faced with now, tends to be a high proportion. But they are also equally useful for students who seem set in their career ideas as their ideas will be broadened and horizons expanded. Through tools like Fast Tomato and Kudos, your students will have greater clarity about the future.
Both tools will also ensure that your students have access to accurate and impartial careers information on a wide range of careers, which is written with young people in mind.
Fast tomato is based on a short questionnaire that gauges interests, attitudes and motivations, providing personalised results with individually tailored responses.
Students are matched to a database of over 660 careers, and shown which careers match their interests most closely. Comprehensive careers information is provided, along with entry routes, video case studies and salaries. Students can be assured they are making the right option choices at GCSE and A-level for their chosen careers.
It is also possible to search for HE courses at Universities in the UK, Republic of Ireland and courses taught in English at European universities.
Information on apprenticeships and option choices at 18 is provided, along with support from careers advisers.
Fast tomato is quick and easy to use and provides immediate results.
Cost for single site use is £395 plus VAT.
Kudos helps young people to explore future options based on interests and aspirations and helps them to understand which careers suit them best. Students are matched against a database of 780 careers.
It can be used to help students find out which careers their chosen school subjects lead to, and provides useful information on FE/HE courses for each occupation. Apprenticeships are also covered and tailored to available opportunities in the local area.
You’ll also find a CV builder, along with help with action planning and how to boost skills for future careers.
Kudos also enables careers teachers to access certain student data, which can then be used to individually tailor the school or college’s careers programme to meet the needs of the students.
Cost for single site use (including access via mobile and at home) £699 plus VAT.
Websites with free online tools
The main feature of this site is free to access to over 1000 careers videos with people talking about their job. There are also two free tools to help students with their career planning:
- Search Wizard – helps students find jobs that may suit them
- Buzz Quiz – helps students find out what they are like as a person and gives ideas about what career they might follow.
Springpod is a careers platform that helps connect students with employers within the STEM world. It’s totally free for students and enables them to dive into a whole catalogue of career paths bursting at the seams with job descriptions and labour market information.
Students can also interact with real-life employers, asking them questions about what it’s really like in a particular career path, as well as apply for live work experience and apprenticeship opportunities with top STEM companies like Siemens and Airbus.
Fancy creating a Springpod account and inviting students for FREE? Create your account here.
Psychometric tests are different from interest based-tools; they can test a candidate’s ability in certain areas such as verbal, numerical or abstract reasoning, spatial ability and mechanical reasoning. The results can then be used to indicate aptitude or suitability for certain careers. They’ve been around for a while, as paper and pencil tests, but some can now be accessed via a PC or other device often at an affordable price and without the need for someone trained in psychometric testing to administer the tests.
Morrisby online involves a series of assessments and questionnaires, the results of which are used to make careers suggestions based on a database of over 660 careers. The closest matches are highlighted for further investigation and students are shown how qualifications link with their chosen careers.
There are also sections for options at 13/14, 16 and 18, along with a tool for searching degree courses and keeping a track planner. The options at 18 has a study interests questionnaire to help with HE choices and a personal statement tool.
Support is available from qualified careers advisers in the Morrisby careers team.
The cost is £25 plus VAT per student for each completed assessment. Candidates have a life-long login, meaning they can update their profile and re-take assessments at any time.
Tools for teachers
The Careers and Enterprise Company provides two free tools to help with your careers programme:
This tool enables you to evaluate your school or college’s careers activity against best practice, namely the eight Gatsby benchmarks for good careers guidance.
You’ll be able to evaluate your school’s careers activity, identify its strengths and areas for improvement and discover helpful resources, which can then be used to plan and develop your careers programme.
This tool is available for schools and colleges in the (free to join) Enterprise Adviser Network. It enables you to build and manage your annual plan for careers and enterprise activity. You can record events, careers activities and classes in one place and evaluate the success of completed activities. Joining the network means your schools will have links with local and national employers who can deliver activities to support your careers and enterprise plan.
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As you can see, technology has had a huge positive impact on the way that career guidance can be provided – not only improving its deliver and quality but also making it a lot easier and slicker. We’ve only dipped our toe in the ocean of this, but even with that, the above really does demonstrate that using technology can be a huge advantage for both teacher and student when it comes to careers.