Progression for Success: Evaluating North Yorkshire’s innovative careers guidance project

The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) at the University of Derby have been working with North Yorkshire County Council to evaluate their innovative career guidance project ‘Progression for Success’.  The project has provided support to twenty schools and colleges in the North Yorkshire region to help them enhance career guidance provision to young people.  The project aims to improve the employability and career readiness of learners.

The project comes at a time when the government has launched its Careers Strategy for England (DFE 2017)   and the resulting findings from the evaluation add to the evidence base of how the Gatsby Benchmarks of good career guidance underpin the development of excellent career guidance practice.

Key findings from the research show that all schools have remained very positive about their involvement in the project and most have achieved their original goals. Schools have found the project a real catalyst for change. Many of the pilot schools have gone on to achieve quality awards for their career guidance practice. The research indicates that young people value careers education and guidance and understand their relevance to their own career thinking and decision making.”

The report can be downloaded here

The executive summary can be downloaded here 


You’re Hired! a new event for 2018 at the International Centre for Guidance Studies


You’re Hired!

We are pleased to announce that as part of our twentieth anniversary year we will be holding the first of our events ‘You’re Hired’.  This one day workshop, will be run by Tristram Hooley and Korin Grant and will help lecturers and career practitioners to help their students think about and plan their career. The workshop will cover many stages of career development and will explore how practitioners can engage students in each of these. Topics will include supporting students to build self-awareness, gain work experience, expand their networks, succeed in recruitment activities and start work. The workshop will offer ideas on content, activities, learning outcomes and appropriate assessments to fit each stage.

All participants will receive a complimentary copy of “You’re Hired: Graduate Career Handbook”. Participants will also receive a copy of the online supplementary guide, a resource for those wanting to use the book to support their sessions, modules, award programmes and practice.

The workshop will take place at the University of Derby’s Kedleston Road Campus on Wednesday February 7th 2018 from 10-4pm. The cost will be £90 per person including lunch. To book a place on the workshop please follow the link to our online shop here

An invitation to this year’s iCeGS Annual Lecture


This year’s iCeGS annual lecture ‘Preparing millennials and zillenials for the workplace of the future’ will take place on Weds November 15th at 2.00 – 4.30 at the University of Derby and will be delivered by Noa Gafni Slaney.

Here is what Noa has to say about the subject of her lecture:

’We are living in a time of constant change. We are in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution. There are new generations of young people (millennials and zillenials) arising amidst this uncertainty. Who are these young people and how can we prepare them for the future?

Noa Gafni Slaney is the Founder and CEO of Impact Squared, which works with social causes to elevate their message, motivate people to act and evaluate their impact. Impact Squared, with dual headquarters in London and New York, works with leading organisations such as the United Nations Foundation, International Crisis Group and UNICEF.

Noa began her career as an entrepreneur, founding a social network for women in 2005. She then joined the founding digital team at Hearst Magazines as Head of Social Media. During her MBA at London Business School, Noa became deeply interested in the world of international organizations and social change.

After completing her MBA, Noa joined the World Economic Forum as a Global Leadership Fellow and the Head of Communications for the Global Shapers Community prior to launching Impact Squared. In its year of existence, Impact Squared has worked with a number of notable social causes to amplify their impact.

Noa is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post and New York Times. Her recent speaking engagements include the World Bank, Financial Times and United Nations. She is a Social Innovation Fellow at the University of Cambridge and a Trustee at the United Nations Association of the UK.

 For more information about Noa and her work please click here

 To book a free place on the annual lecture please click here

I’m lucky: I love my job


I have recently finished producing a short book with some European colleagues on ‘The diverse world of career guidance’.  A number of colleagues in the UK, Denmark, and the Czech Republic worked on this Erasmus funded project and as always during these projects the outcomes go well beyond the publication of a book. Not only did we forge wonderful realtionships with our colleagues, we learned about each others lives and families and the cultures of different countries as well as having great fun doing it all.

I produced two chapters for the book and the following is one. The full citation is:

Moore, N. (2017). ‘I’m lucky. I love my job!’ in H. Koštalová (ed.) The Diverse World of Career Guidance. Prague, EKS pp. 41-44

I’m lucky. I love my job!

I really love my job. Sometimes it is very challenging and can be stressful but I have never really regretted taking the career path that I have. That is not to say that my career has followed a detailed plan. It hasn’t. I have often reached cross roads that I never expected or planned for but I have always found myself working with people who I have liked and who have challenged me in positive ways. On the other hand I have met many adults who, on hearing that I am a careers adviser have said ‘I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up! Can you help me think of a job I really would like because I really don’t like what I am doing at the moment!’ This always makes me feel a little sad. It seems to me that we spend so much time in work that we owe it to ourselves to choose occupations which make us happy. There is not much point in wasting life being miserable.

I often reflect on how lucky we are in having a great deal of choice and that this is not the case for everyone. Our career decisions can often be driven by what opportunities are available to us or can be constrained by the expectations of our families or communities. However for many people their career decisions are made freely and we are able to enact our lives through the occupations which we choose. So why I wonder are many people so unhappy in their jobs?

When I was twelve years old, my parents took me on a trip to one of the UK’s great churches, York Minster. The church was undergoing extensive renovation at the time. This was not exciting for a twelve year old. Whilst my parents were investigating the exposed foundations of the great church, I was in the shop looking at what I could spend my pocket money on! However I didn’t leave the shop with a keyring or a bag of sweets. What had caught my attention was a small poster with the words of a poem written in ‘monastic style text’.

Max Ehrmann wrote his famous prose poem ‘Desiderata’ (which means ‘desired things’) in 1927. The concept of vocational choice was very early in its development at the time: it was only nineteen years after the founding father of vocational guidance, Frank Parsons, wrote his seminal text ‘Choosing a Vocation’. Ehrmann’s writing reflects his concerns about the social problems of the times and his poem Desiderata sets out his ideas of what really leads to happiness in life. One particular phrase in the poem has direct relevance to career counsellors:

‘Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.’

Max Ehrmann 1927

As a young person this really resonated with me and was the first time I really thought about the idea that I had a career. What interested me then and still does as a career practitioner is the idea that career and happiness are linked in this way.  I think there are important messages for advisers as we develop our practice.

First of all what is happiness? It is hard to define happiness without using the word ‘happy. One definition suggests happiness is a state of mental well-being. Let’s stick with that! The United Nations recognises that happiness is a fundamental human goal and created the international annual Day of Happiness on March 20th to celebrate this. Different disciplines view happiness from their own perspectives however with their focus on personal choice, careers advisers and counsellors have an interest in the concept of happiness as an end goal of their work with clients. Some researchers have linked happiness to better health and living longer. A healthier population reduces the burden on health and welfare services. Others have suggested that if all disciplines focus on happiness as an outcome of their work this will lead to a stable ‘good’ society. It seems to me that these are all very powerful reasons for careers advisers to focus on happiness as an outcome of their practice.

What does Ehrmann say about the nature of career? Ehrmann uses some important words in his lines about career. He notes the relevance of aspiration and achievement and his dynamic view of career requires planning and review. By emphasising the importance of enjoying our achievements as well as our plans he stresses that we should take pleasure in both. Planning our careers should be exciting and enjoyable. I was talking to a young person the other day who told me about her feelings about the future. This is what she told me:

‘I get all tingly when I think about the future. It’s a bit scary but really exciting. It’s like waiting in a queue for one of those big rides at a theme park!’

Twelve year old girl

This is such a marvellous picture. One which captures a joy in anticipating the future. As careers counsellors we have a duty to help young people find this joy and to carry that forward into their lives. It made me think back to that little girl in York Minster all of those years ago on the brink of adult hood and thinking about the idea of a career. I think I have maintained a joy for learning but I am also very conscious of the role of personal values in my career decision making. My joy comes from the knowledge that I have made a positive contribution and not because my bank balance is healthy. Perhaps this is the secret to happiness in career?

Ehrmann notes that careers are not something to be left on a dusty shelf and taken out once a year when you meet for a careers interview or appraisal. He notes that we should ‘keep interested in our careers’. This requires a very specific mind-set. One of personal reflection and review. I think that I have been fortunate with the adults, peers and colleagues who I have worked with. I have been encouraged through personal and professional processes to regularly reflect on my life and progress. Reflective practice is a pillar of our profession but we do need to help young people to do this too. I guess we need to preach what we practice as well as practice what we preach!

Ehrmann reminds us that all careers matter not just those of high achieving individuals.  Careers counsellors have an important role in engaging their clients in ‘owning their careers’. It can be very hard for some young people to follow the path which will make them happy particularly when there are high expectations from those around them and it might mean them challenging cultural or family norms. Building young people’s confidence so that they can make decisions based on their own needs and aspirations is an important role that careers counsellor’s play. We also need to ensure that we are equitable in the services we provide to individuals and ensure that those pursuing ‘humble’ careers receive the attention that they need to make their dreams come true.

The longer I work as a career development professional, the more I am convinced that helping our clients to identify what will make them happy in a job or occupation is fundamental to successful career decision making. This requires a real focus on values based career decisions. Of course it is important to think about many types of rewards for working. I am not suggesting that we should not help our clients think about career prospects or financial gain. But I do think that if we allow our clients to lose the joy that they have as children for the future then we do them a dis-service. After all having lots of money but being unhappy is no way to spend your life!

Morris Dancers: An unusual skills shortage

I am on holiday this week- taking in the varied delights at Whitby Folk Festival. As often happens, a chance conversation or unusual sight shifts my focus to career-related matters and today is no exception.

I was having a coffee in the cafe by Whitby Abbey, enjoying the views of the old harbour below when a troop of Morris dancers arrived to ‘fuel up’ before their performance. The group were easily distinguishable – a mixed group of middle-aged (generous) men and women dressed in multi-coloured attire, straw hats decorated in flowers, and ribbons and streamers attached to a variety of carried objects. They were from Kent. An area, they told me which is overly endowed with Morris teams – more than 25 in the county. What I learners through my conversation with them was interesting.

I hadn’t appreciated that there was a ‘market’ in Morris dancers. Teams are sought after for fetes, fairs and festivals where they provide a back drop of colour and sound. Free beer and a chance to show off their skills, the reward. I was told the supply of Morris teams outstrips demand and the teams travel far and wide.

I also learned that Morris teams are experiencing difficulty in recruiting younger members. I was told that this was down to a number of societal pressures:

  • For the media, the Morris teams are a focus of ridicule;
  • Young people are only interested in ‘things from America’; and
  • Parents and children no longer share interests and therefore mums and dads don’t bring their children to learn old traditions and skills

As I reflected on this problem I did wonder how easy the young people that I know would find it to integrate into such an eccentric looking group. I also thought of the fantastic commaraderie, team work and joy the group shared and I recognised that these are the very attributes which employers and society as a whole cry out for.

Talking to the group revealed a wider support team who were involved in organising, sewing, choreography, music, logistics, website design, social media use and administration.

I thought very wistfully about the opportunity that traditional cultural activities offer to young people; for gaining new skills for education and the workplace and for making new inter-generational friends. We spend a fortune developing mentoring programmes to help young people to re-engage in education, employment and personal development. It struck me that if Morris teams were welcomed in to schools and colleges to strut their stuff and enthuse our youth to join in we would be a better society. It also struck me that those that fund the arts should recognise the wins on all sides by investing in our traditional cultural heritage. 

There may be some debate about whether to not Morris dancing embraces what most people mean by ‘British values’ but Whitby and the Morris teams and their glorious eccentricity seems to me to be a good place to start!

The International Centre for Guidance Studies is recruiting a new researcher

The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) is an applied research centre at the University of Derby. iCeGS is looking to recruit a researcher to support the growth and development of research and consultancy in the area of careers, employability and the relationship between education and work. Having gained proven experience in social research with a relevant doctoral qualification (PhD or equivalent) in the field of social or educational research, you will contribute to a range of research and consultancy projects, leading appropriate initiatives, contributing ideas and developing and applying research methodologies and techniques. You will publish research outputs in reputable outlets, such as peer-reviewed journals, and present research findings at conferences and through other public engagement strategies. You will also contribute to learning and teaching as necessary through the supervision of undergraduate or postgraduate students and / or supervision of projects.


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The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) is seeking a new Lecturer in Career Development

iCeGS at the University of Derby is looking to appoint a new Lecturer in Career Development to work across a range of level 6 and level 7 programmes in career development. This represents an exciting opportunity to join one of the leading academic centres in the field. The post-holder will be working on our new innovative MA in Careers Education and Coaching along with other programmes and will also be involved in some research.  Here is a link to find out more information: