I keep hearing about how we should be linking careers to subjects in schools.  In fact, one of the eight Gatsby benchmarks of Good Career Guidance is “linking curriculum learning to careers”.  Now, this sounds like a good idea at first glance, yet it raises a few questions for me.

Could we be restricting the careers students explore?

We don’t know all the careers out there.  The largest database of roles I’ve found only has around 400 profiles.  A corporation will have more than 400 different jobs in a single building.  Therefore, if we are connecting careers to subjects, I would suggest that it’s unlikely we would be able to explore all the options.  Now, we could discuss career groups, which would create the springboard for exploration.  However, for me, this needs to be clearly explained as part of the discussion.  Students also need to be supported in taking steps to find more information.

How do we keep up with the continually developing career landscape?

With the progression of technology, we have access to more effective tools to support us in delivering our work.  This, in turn, has impacted our roles, and they have developed over time.  So, it is important that we keep pace with the changing world when sharing career information.  It’s not just about discussing opportunities at a single point in time, we ideally want to discuss what could impact these and how they may change.

I also think it’s important to discuss the different pathways to developing careers.  I’ve already shared my thoughts on portfolio careers, and we’re aware of apprenticeships and university education leading to jobs.  However, we also need to talk more about entrepreneurship and creating our own pathways.

Who is going to share this information?

It seems that there is a move toward employers and teachers sharing information about careers and linking this to subjects.   This is a great idea, except how do we educate teachers on careers, various pathways, and how to share this information?  When it comes to employers, it’s clear that they will already be biased, it’s difficult not to be.  So, how do we minimise this?  Do we educate students to the impact of bias, and being thoughtful about critically evaluating the information provided?  Or do we provide guidance to employers about how to support students in keeping a broad perspective?

Also, as we engage employers, I believe it’s important to actively connect with organisations across a sufficient breadth of sectors and specialisms.  If we only share insight to obvious careers such as being an accountant, electrician, doctor, store manager etc, it’s likely that students will focus here, and may miss out on opportunities that better suit them.

I believe we are heading in the right direction and simply linking careers to subjects will help.  However, I think we need to be thoughtful about how we do this so we broaden perspectives rather than limit students.