Free T Level Professional Development Courses

by Education and Training Foundation (ETF)

Responding to feedback from the Further Education (FE) and Training sector, the Education and Training Foundation (@E_T_Foundation) has refined its broad range of fully-funded #TLevel Professional Development (TLPD) courses to best suit practitioners’ needs.

The ETF has listened to the sector’s concerns over time constraints in the current climate and has tailored the list of CPD available before Christmas by postponing a number of courses to a time that better suits practitioners’ needs.

The refined list of CPD can be accessed and booked via the T Level Professional Development Platform, with key dates listed below.

Online modules and live online courses, delivered by a trainer, are aimed at colleagues in different roles across the FE sector. This includes established and new teachers, leaders, governors and business support staff.

For teachers, the Teaching T Levels: Professional and Vocational Upskilling course will update and maintain vocational and professional practice, knowledge and skills. It provides background information about how T Levels have been designed, and how developing vocational expertise can align to organisational, regional and national priorities.

The Teaching T Levels: Enhancing Pedagogy course, meanwhile, will develop teachers’ wider understanding of effective pedagogy. It includes examples of effective teaching and learning theory and practice in technical and vocational contexts. Both courses are carried out across two sessions on dates in December (listed at the end of this article).

Those involved in delivering the Education and Childcare T Level – including teachers, trainers and support staff managers – are invited to join the Curriculum Design and Delivery Network meeting which will take place online on 30 November (2pm to 4pm). The meeting is one of many taking place across the different TLPD Networks, which facilitate collaboration, the sharing of resources and the development of collaborative partnerships. A workshop on 25 November (2pm-4pm), will take place live online aimed specifically at colleagues with an interest in the marketing of T Levels. The workshop will focus on raising the local profile of T Levels for successful recruitment.

The New Teacher Programme – aimed at new teachers with no formal training – supports the rapid development of basic teaching skills that will provide the knowledge and confidence necessary to improve teaching practice in preparation for T Level delivery. It introduces key concepts, developing an understanding of the ways in which students learn, how to support the breadth of the learner cohort found in technical education, and appropriate strategies and learning methods. The programme can be undertaken online, over three themed modules, or delivered live online by a trainer over the course of two sessions.

For Operational Middle Leaders and Managers, two online modules address leading and managing curriculum change for T Levels, as well as leadership and professional practice for T Level planning and implementation. Courses are delivered live online by a trainer during December (dates listed at the end of this article).

The Strategic Leaders Providing T Levels course is for senior leaders already, or considering, delivering T Levels. It will help them understand the impact T Levels will have within their organisation and across their wider community, looking at considerations for effective employer partnerships, organisational change and how T Levels are resourced effectively and positioned in the curriculum offer. There is an online course available, bookable via the TLPD Platform, as well as three two-hour sessions on 4, 11 and 18 December.

Understanding T Levels for the Post-16 Sector introduces T Levels and wider technical education policy, providing useful information for those in a range of roles about the changes they will need to make as T Levels are rolled out. Live online events aimed specifically at frontline staff and business support staff, are bookable now (dates below).

Each of these activities can be accessed by registering on the ETF’s T Level Professional Development Platform for FE providers and their staff. Registration is free, fast and easy, you can create your account by visiting the Platform. Where an online (flexible) course is available in your chosen subject, we recommend you undertake this prior to attending a live online event.

Full details of the ETF’s T Level Professional Development offer can be found on the TLPD section of the ETF website.

Upcoming CPD dates (live online events) before Christmas

Teaching T Levels:

  • 9 and 16 December: Enhancing Pedagogy, 3:00pm – 5:00pm
  • 15 and 17 December: Enhancing Pedagogy, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
  • 14 and 16 December: Professional and Vocational Upskilling, 11:00am – 1:00pm

New Teacher Programme:

  • 15 and 17 December: New Teacher Programme, 9:30am-11:30am and 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Operational Middle Leaders and Managers:

  • 8 December: Designing the T Level curriculum: theory into practice, 1:30pm – 4:30pm
  • 9 December: Working with employers: co-designing the T Level curriculum, putting it into practice, 3:00pm – 6:00pm

Strategic Leaders:

  • 4, 11, 18 December: Strategic Leaders Providing T Levels, 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Understanding T Levels:

  • 3 December: Understanding T Levels – Frontline Staff, 10:00am – 3:30pm
  • 16 December: Understanding T Levels – Business Support Staff, 10:00am – 3:30pm


  • 23 November: Network for Schools, 3:30pm – 5:30pm
  • 25 November: Marketing Network, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
  • 25 November: Curriculum Design and Delivery Network: Education and Childcare, 10:00am – 2:00pm
  • 27 November: Curriculum Design and Delivery Network: Digital, 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • 30 November: Curriculum Design and Delivery Network: Education and Childcare, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
  • 17 December: Industry Placements Network: 10:00am – 12:00pm

10 Principles for Effectively Leading Group Career Counselling Online

During the pandemic, many career practitioners have been asked to provide the same services to groups, but online.

This has been the new normal for some career professionals and jobseekers, but it has also brought challenges. The biggest struggle is that there are few resources they can take advantage of in order to effectively transition from leading groups in person to online.

Here are 10 basic principles career practitioners should be aware of when transitioning to leading a group online from in-person facilitation to create well-designed and smooth sessions.

1. Be authentic

Leading groups online is not entirely different from facilitating in person. Take a breath, and remind yourself what skills you can bring to the table: compassion, patience, resiliency, sense of humour, mastery of the content. Whether you are familiar with the group nor not, what you know about group dynamics from in-person experiences is still true. There might be tensions within a group or people might have different learning styles and motivations. Just be yourself and try to make a connection with group members as much as possible.

2. Learn and practise the technology

Test whichever technology you are using in advance. The simplest tool should be chosen based on the size of your group. You should offer your help to group members in case of any technical difficulties. As you gain experience, new tools can be added to your toolbox.

3. Mitigate group members’ multitasking

Group members on screens may jump from window to window to search the web, play music or respond to messages. The temptation and likelihood of participants getting distracted or multitasking is significantly higher than when you are in person. Set expectations about minimizing distractions before your session through emails or reminder posts. You can sometimes use the distractions to engage participants, for instance by having group members text answers or giving them time to do online research during a discussion.

4. Engage frequently and in varied ways

Prioritizing engagement is crucial when you lead a group online. The best way to keep people engaged is to ask questions, switch up activities apart from discussions and have people journal. Adding elements of fun may encourage people to focus more. Secondly, group leaders should be mindful of varying how they prompt discussion. For example, don’t always ask yes/no chat questions. For best results, use a variety of engagement types that work for different communication styles and learning styles, and give people options.

5. Manage the energy of group members

The duration of group sessions should be scheduled for not more than two hours. Otherwise, it will be exhausting for both leaders and participants. Break for 10-15 minutes after one hour so people can get fresh air or attend to any pressing needs.

6. Honour people’s emotional state during a crisis time

You may find people in your sessions tired, angry, impatient or stressed over life challenges. Every group member usually brings their emotional state into their sessions. Even if group leaders don’t feel well-equipped to handle strong emotions, they can:

  • Create space for people to acknowledge emotions they have
  • Create a culture of checking in
  • Model grace and patience
  • Provide frequent breaks
7. Track participation

A common challenge in leading online is that we end up in a one-way conversation. Reading people online is more challenging than in person but it is not impossible. Thankfully, there are some strategies:

  • Include polls or spectrums to gauge responses
  • Ask general check-in questions
  • Review activity between sections
  • Check in with people on the phone before or after sessions (especially for tech difficulties)
8. Let people know you “see” them

The more seen people feel, the more they are likely to engage. They are also more likely to send you clear non-verbal signals when they know that someone is looking back through their screen. Here are a few examples for prompts that can let participants know that you see them:

  • “It looks like only about half the group has shared ideas in the chat box. If anyone is having trouble with the chat, let us know, or you can share out loud.”
  • “I see a lot of heads down on the web cameras, so I’m going to give you a little more time to journal.”
  • “Everyone has shared except [name] and [name], who are joining by phone. Would you like to share, too?”
9. Be aware of technology challenges

Marginalized groups often tend to participate less frequently. This can become compounded by technology. Technological challenges may hamper their confidence. They may be afraid of being shamed by other groups members or revealing a lack of knowledge or resources. Group leaders should make sure all people – no matter their technological difficulty – can participate fully. Facilitators should try to always provide alternative options for participation to help group members engage in the session.

10. Release yourself and your group from the standard of perfection

Group leaders should be wary of the challenges of leading group online. They should prepare themselves for bumps on the road. The most important thing is to be calm and do your best when faced with challenges. The second-most important thing is to stay connected with group members in a sincere and compassionate way. Let’s model patience and caring with wisdom and intention.

AYDOLU SIMSEK is a post-graduate student in the Career Development Practitioner Program at George Brown College. She previously had 10 years of HR background in her home country. She has a strong desire to learn the intricacies of helping individuals navigate through career exploration and the world of work. Aydolu is a graduate of sociology and has a master’s in business administration.

Virtual International Conference – Evolving Education and Careers

The Virtual Conference

The world has experienced major economic, social and technology impacts. Societies everywhere are undergoing deep transformation. Climate change, an ageing workforce and skills gaps are major issues that governments need to address. Only time will tell what the impact of the current health crisis will have in the medium and long-term. As a consequence, careers will evolve in response to a dynamically changing environment. How will this affect jobs, training, employment, the gig economy and/or unemployment in the future? We will be exploring forward-thinking approaches to careers support systems drawing on international good and interesting policies and practices.

For leaders, educators, career development, HR and employment specialists a fundamental question is: – how best can individuals be better prepared to adapt and prosper through lifelong learning and work? Individuals’ must be well equipped with the mindsets and tools they need to find and benefit from purposeful learning and work opportunities. Organisations working with young people and/or adults in differing contexts will need agile responses to meet citizens’ needs.

With all this in mind, time away to network with experts and like-minded colleagues is just what the doctor ordered. This year’s theme is Evolving Careers. Delegates will learn from experts and peers whilst sharing experiences, research and best practise to take back to the day job of helping to transform people’s lives.

Conference Content

  • International keynote speakers
  • Breakout sessions hosted by leading experts and contributors

Session topics include;

  • Career-related learning in primary schools
  • An evolving curriculum in secondary, tertiary, vocational education and training (VET) and higher education settings
  • Future scoping careers
  • Digital innovations
  • Building Partnerships
  • How to Make a Difference to Those That Need Support Most
  • Youth Transitions: Creating Pathways to Success
  • Adults in the workplace
  • Labour markets: where next?
  • Tackling unemployment
  • Lifelong guidance
  • Social inclusion

*these are subject to change

  • Interactive Q&A panel debates
  • Digital delegate toolkit packed with valuable resources

Why Attend?

Our conference last year was a great success with delegates rating it 4.4 out of 5 in terms of value, content and relevance to their needs.

This year we have mixed our successful formula with some great new features and benefits but don’t just take our word for it, this is what our delegates had to say after the 2019 conference;

“It was inspirational to share so many elements of practice and research in one place. The calibre of speakers and content (including the toolkit) was exceptional.”

“Inspiring, positive, brilliantly organised. A day well spent.”

“The conference blended the worlds of academia research with great examples of careers work from around the world. We want more!”

“A wonderful conference, full of insight. Can’t wait for the next one.”

“The conference offered a great opportunity to interact with thought leaders on important topics relating to career development. Excellent venue and well organised.”

Book Your Place

Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis and conference is free to attend for a limited number of earlybird registrations.

Please book your tickets from our Eventbrite booking page.

For all conference queries contact our event organiser Nina Hurst-jones . Book your place

Watch the success of last years conference

The Edge Foundation is an independent foundation working to inspire the education system to give all young people across the UK the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to flourish in their future life and work. Longtime advocates of high quality careers education and guidance, they are delighted to be supporting this event.

Could Appreciative Inquiry Improve Your Career Coaching?

An article by Michelle Etheve who specialises in enabling people to create purposeful, strengths-based change and to thrive as they design, learn, and experiment together. As co-founder of The Change Lab, she helps to create cultures of curiosity by teaching people how to craft and ask better questions. Michelle has designed and delivered Appreciative Inquiry summits, positive change experiences, career development games, and coaching development programs in workplaces, schools, and communities around the world.

It’s not surprising that when people seek advice and support with regards to their career they’re more often than not hoping to fix career ‘problems’, work through where they may have taken ‘wrong’ turns, discuss where they’re ‘stuck’ and not moving forward, amongst a host of other issues. Our brains are wired with a negativity bias, which is a natural pull to focus on what’s not working, what’s missing, what we’ve lost, and what might be of threat to us.

Whilst this wonderful survival mechanism has served us well at times and kept us alive as a species, this can often leave us stuck and only seeing half of the picture, especially when it comes to complex matters like our careers. We learn very little about what we’re capable of, what’s possible, and where our strengths lie by investing the majority of our energy into exploring our failures and perceived weaknesses.

So, it’s important to ask: Do the approaches we reach for to support career conversations place our energy in exploring problems or do they help people to uncover, tap into, and build on their strengths to grow greater confidence, clarity, and spark new possibilities?

One such strengths-based approach worth exploring for career conversations is Appreciative Inquiry (AI). Developed by Professor David Cooperrider and his colleagues, this approach has been used to generate positive change for individuals, teams, and whole human systems. One of the most common ways AI is used is to bring entire organisations, schools, or communities together for large scale change summits, achieving phenomenal and transformational results.

Much like its name indicates, the approach is ‘appreciative’, meaning it sheds light on the best of what is and what has been, and taps into what strengths, resources, and life-giving factors are available to be built upon.

It is also an ‘inquiry’, holding true that change begins not with the action we take, but with the questions that proceed them. It is those questions that shape the direction in which we focus our energy, change, act, and grow. So, by guiding people through an inquiry with questions that are appreciative – they look for the good, the true, and the possible – positive change and action is primed to emerge.

For example, schools have tackled the question: ‘How can we reduce bullying?’ only to find they get real traction and positive change when they flip their question and ask: ‘How do students grow great friendships?’

We grow in the direction in which we ask questions. What questions are shaping and guiding your conversations? Do they help clarify and prioritise what you want to grow?

So, how can we apply AI to career coaching conversations? Give the following five steps at try:

Define an appreciative career topic

The first, and arguably most important, step in an AI conversation is to define the topic of the inquiry. You will shape your questions around this topic, so the aim is to make it magnetic, positive, and for it to get to the heart of what people truly want to be moving towards. We have a natural tendency to move in the direction of what is life-giving and positive, rather than negative and depleting, this is called the heliotropic effect, so it’s essential to begin by shaping a topic that supports this.

A great way to create an appreciative topic is by using Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres’ ‘name it, flip it, and frame it’ steps. Here’s an example:

Name it – Name the strategic problem, complaint, or what you want to remove/reduce.

Example 1:  Feeling very drained by my work.
Example 2:  Don’t know what I want to do for a career.

Flip it – Flip this by asking: “What would the positive opposite of this be? What is it that you do want or want more of?”

Example 1:  Feel like I get some energy from the work I do.
Example 2:  Have some career ideas.

Frame it – Frame this in a way that is magnetic and energising by asking: “What would be the positive impact if the flip occurred? What is the desired outcome?”

Example 1:  Have an energising and engaging career.
Example 2:  Exploring and growing my career possibilities.

Once you have defined your topic of conversation you can craft questions that serve the needs of each stage of the process and help people move through it. You will need questions that do the following:

Discover the best of what’s been

This is the first step of your inquiry (the first of four steps in AI’s 4D framework), to facilitate your coachee through discovering the best of the past to discover stories of strengths, performance, confidence, and what made these moments possible.

Ask questions to get to the heart of ‘what’s been working well?’ Try starting with: “Tell me about your best…” and add words that would get to the heart of previous strengths and successes with regards to the inquiry topic.

Example 1: “Tell me about your best experience of feeling energised at work.”
Example 2: “Tell me about your best experience of exploring and creating new career* possibilities.”

Explore further with probing questions to surface more of the strengths, such as: What happened? What made that possible? What strengths were you tapping into at the time? Why is it so memorable?

*If the person is very early in their career drop ‘career’ from the question and have them explore when they’ve created any new possibilities for themselves.

Dream of what’s possible

The second step in your inquiry is to support your coachee to create rich, vivid, energising images of the future. These images should aim to generate optimism, hope, and act like a magnet pulling the coachee forward, motivating them to take action. These are a lot richer than simply setting a goal. They invite people to paint a picture of what they will be feeling, doing, seeing around them, this is as specific as you can make it.

Ask questions to generate these images of ‘what might be possible?’ Try: “Based on the strengths we’ve just discovered, if everything went as well as it could what would…?”.

Example 1: “If everything went as well as it could, what would feeling more energised and engaged at work make possible?”
Example 2: “If everything went as well as it could, what would exploring and creating new career possibilities look like?”

Explore further with probing questions to paint a rich, motivating picture, such as – What are all the different ways that might look like? What might you be doing? How would you be interacting with people? What would they be saying? What would you be most proud of? What difference would it make?

Design what might be

The third step of your inquiry aims to generate pathways to bring to life that picture of the future. The aim is to realise as many pathways as possible so to create a host of options to help people remain resilient and flexible in the face of barriers, in ways that align with their strengths and resources. Assist them to prioritise which pathways they want to put their energy and resources towards first.

Ask questions to generate multiple pathways for ‘how might we get there?’ Try: “What might it take to…?”

Example: “What might it take to move from where you are now, to the picture you just described?”

Explore further with probing questions to help generate many pathways, then prioritise them, such as: What are some other ways you might make this possible? Which of these pathways are you most motivated to try? What support might you need to draw on? What resources are available for you to tap into?

Realise your Destiny 

The final step in your inquiry aims to invite people to take action that they are motivated to and care enough about to take responsibility for. While the word ‘destiny’ may sound odd, it nicely highlights the unpredictable and emergent nature of our future. Far-reaching plans are unrealistic in our ever-changing lives and world. Once we take our next steps, we can repeat this 4D cycle continuously for more learning and positive change as new strengths are developed and new experiences generate new information to re-shape our dreams and create new pathways.

Ask questions that generate immediate next steps for ‘where will you start?’ Try: “If there was # step you could take…?”

Example: “If there was one small step you could take to move forward, where would you like to start?”

Explore further with probing questions to ensure they’re able to take immediate action, such as: What would you need to get started? What obstacles might you encounter and how might you overcome or bypass them? How will you celebrate taking this step?

Appreciative Inquiry is a wonderful and unique approach to creating positive change. There’s no ‘right’ way to apply it to careers coaching, so explore and experiment with these suggestions and find a way to make it your own. For example, you may prefer to move through all the steps in one conversation, or you may wish to have a separate conversation for each incorporating different measures, homework, and activities as part of the inquiry.

If you’d like to learn more about appreciative inquiry, feel free to reach out to us at The Change Lab: or connect via LinkedIn.

Career professionals need to consider how the online world affects clients in terms of their data, social equity, privacy and access

By Tom Staunton

The internet and its effects on society are rarely out of the news. From the impact it has on young people, to its place in fostering extremism, to how big tech firms do (or don’t) pay taxes, the internet is continuously the subject of debate. Despite such controversies, it is ingrained in our everyday lives. This means that, as careers practitioners, we can neither just get on with using the internet without asking any ethical questions, nor can we assume that the right thing to do is to retreat from technology. The world we live in means we have to use the internet, but as career practitioners, we still need to engage with associated ethical questions. This article will explore several ethical considerations related to the internet from a career guidance perspective.

vector illustration for personal identity recognition and access authentication
Interactional ethics

Medical ethics is governed by the principle of doing no harm or “nonmaleficence.” This means the first duty of someone working in medicine is to not harm anyone under their care. I think this is a helpful starting point for thinking about career guidance practice. Career guidance practitioners need to make sure that their use of the internet does no harm to their clients or any third parties.

The internet’s potential for harm is often connected to data. The same data that makes the internet’s existence possible also makes the individuals who use it vulnerable. Data that is created through Skype interviews, online forums, message boards, online courses and even email exchanges is often sensitive and can leave clients vulnerable to having their private information made public. These are vital ways individual practitioners and careers services should be thinking about data:

  • Security: Is the data the career professional/career service generates about clients/students kept secure?
  • Transparency: Do clients know what data is collected about them and how it will be used?
  • Platforms: Increasingly, the online world is mediated by platforms (eg, Facebook, Skype, Dropbox, etc.), so career professionals need to know and communicate to clients how these platforms may make use of data.
Equity ethics

Career professionals also need to be concerned with how the online world affects our clients in terms of social equity. While the internet may appear free and easy, career professionals need to think more critically about whom it includes and excludes, and how they can help individuals make use of it.

Firstly, we should be cautious about lauding the benefits of technology to people who might be excluded from it. People who are economically disadvantaged may be able to afford less technology, both in the form of hardware and in the form of data and internet access. Similarly, some people with disabilities may find it harder to access the internet without assistive technology. Talking about the internet as essential to a career may end up excluding these populations. This observation might also encourage career professionals to consider advocating for increased technological access for clients with whom they work.

“Career guidance practitioners need to make sure that their use of the internet does no harm to their clients or any third parties.”

Secondly, we need to remember what the internet costs people. Though online tools may often be free (which is a significant part of their attraction), at point of access they often require individuals to subject themselves to surveillance. This is worth reflecting on, partly because we increasingly live in a society where individuals’ data is the means by which companies make profit. Career professionals might find that their actions do more to facilitate private profit than benefit their clients. This is not a straightforward issue but it’s helpful to recognize some of the ethical complexities that are at stake.

More significantly, career professionals need to think about the consequences of surveillance for their clients. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook can be used by recruiters to screen candidates. This can lead to individuals being assessed based on their beliefs, their politics, their social life or even aspects of their identity such as their gender, age or ethnicity. Importantly, digital technology enables this discrimination. Though this discrimination is not created by technology, it can make it harder to combat and counter.

Radical ethics

Radical career guidance looks at how careers practice can engage with transforming and changing society. This argues that ethics does not just involve avoiding negative actions, but includes proactive positive actions to make the world more ethical. We can see the influence of the internet as a place to engage with social change in examples from outside of the world of career guidance, such as the Arab Spring or the #MeToo movements.

The internet can allow individuals to develop relationships and access information that they would not have had access to before. People are often bound by their family backgrounds and their locations when it comes to accessing career-related support and information. The internet has the potential to transform what individuals can access and make use of for their careers. Career practitioners can pursue ethical agendas by helping clients make use of the internet to overcome disadvantages they might face.

From a more radical point of view, the internet can also create spaces where careers work can engage with issues that might improve individuals’ working lives, such as highlighting poor conditions, unethical working practices or discriminatory recruitment policies. The internet can spread stories and allow people with shared interests to network and organize around issues. Career practitioners should think through how they can develop skills to support these sorts of activities or equip their clients to do the same.

In conclusion, these three positions create different but overlapping starting points for individuals approaching how the internet and ethics interact within career development.

Tom Staunton is a Lecturer in Career Development with the International Centre for Guidance Studies based at the University of Derby. His main teaching and research interests are career guidance theory, technology and career guidance, use of LMI and social justice. 

Neuroscience: Techniques to Help People Learn More Effectively

This article by Professor Patricia Riddell Consultant Neuroscientist may be of help to you if you have concerns about entering a learning environment.   

By understanding more about how the brain works, we can create the optimal conditions for learning – and ensure we retain what we’ve learned more effectively. Discover here why we are ‘BLESSED’ in our ability to learn (and some tips that come with the acronym!)

As someone that has the privilege of spending my days reading the latest neuroscience and then working out how to apply these to real life situations, I have been lucky to have developed techniques that help me learn effectively.  

Many of the strategies that I use to learn have come directly from my reading, and so I would like to share some of these here.

The first thing that I’ve found really helpful is the knowledge that my brain is a learning machine that has evolved to acquire and store new information that might be useful to me.

Believe you can learn

Research has demonstrated that we store new knowledge and skills in networks of cells (neurons) in the brain.

It is not just the individual neurons that are important to learning but also the connections between them. Each of the billion neurons in your brain can make connections with as many as several thousand other neurons. Importantly, these connections are not fixed.  As many as one in ten of these are lost and replaced on a daily basis.

This means that, each day, our brains have the capacity to partially rewire our neural networks in order to store new information. If you always do what you have always done, the network will remain the same and the capacity to learn will be wasted.

Since I believe I can learn, I think about what I will learn each day in order to use the capacity of my amazing brain for learning.

Learning systems

The second trick I bring to my learning is knowing that there are many systems in the brain for learning, and so I don’t always have to learn the same way.

Knowing that there are many learning systems makes it more interesting, since I can vary how I learn. This also allows me to celebrate confusion, since this is the first step in understanding. Before confusion, there is only ignorance.

StateNeural systemFunctionHow to?
CuriosityReward systemReward in anticipation of knowing moreAsk questions, take tests
CelebrationArousal systemIncreases motivation to learnFind ways to celebrate new learning
ConfusionStress systemIndicates confusion and need to learnTake time to pinpoint areas of confusion then ask
ConfidenceSense of selfIncreases self-esteem so willingness to try harderTeach someone else and notice your understanding 
CalmReflective systemReflecting on learning makes it stickierSit quietly away from books and reflect on new learning

Emotional intensity

The area of the brain that stores the addresses of our memories (the hippocampus) is closely linked to an area of the brain that is important in remembering our emotional states (the amygdala).

We remember events that had high emotional intensity (both positive and negative) because these are important to learning what to do in the future.

We repeat the events that were intensely positive and avoid the events that were negative.

I use this by adding humour, disgust, surprise or other emotions to my learning, so that it becomes more sticky.

Space your learning

If an event is not emotionally intense, we remember it better if it is repeated.  

There is, however, a right and a wrong time to repeat learning – we have to space our learning.

If we wait to repeat the learning at a time when it is almost forgotten, we basically have to learn everything again from scratch. If, however, we revise the learning before it is forgotten, we can increase the strength of the learning.  

Learning a little and often is better than learning a lot then forgetting it all. To make use of this, I look over notes for a new course well before I forget the content.

The self-referential effect

If you reflect on what you remember easily, you might find that these are often events from your own life, or facts about you.  

The ease at which we remember information about ourselves is called the self-referential effect.  

I tap into this memory aid by making learning personal to me. What does this mean for me or someone I am close to?


So far, these tips are about how to code memory well, but we also need to be able to retrieve our memories.

I know that the more senses I use when I am coding, the more likely it is that I will see, hear, feel something that reminds me of the learning and so helps me to retrieve the information.  

Encoding our memories well makes them easier to recall.

Deep processing

I have often watched people ‘studying’ by highlighting parts of a passage that they think might be important to learn.  

This is not a great way to learn since it does not provide a reason for remembering.  

Instead, when I want to learn something, I start with a question – what might be useful about knowing this? How might I want to use this learning in the future? What, precisely, do I want to know?

By reading with a question in mind, it is easier to process the information in a way that will make it more memorable. This is a form of deep processing.

To summarise my tips for learning, I learn better when I use my:

  • Belief that I can learn
  • Learning systems
  • Emotional intensity
  • Spaced learning
  • Self-referential effect
  • Encode with many senses
  • Deep processing

Through this, I am ‘blessed’ with the ability to learn (oh – and the odd acronym helps my memory too).

New Essential Digital Skills: Booking Now Open for Free CPD Events

Booking has opened for the Education and Training Foundation’s (ETF) free face-to-face training and online workshops to support staff involved in delivering courses for the upcoming Essential Digital Skills entitlement.

The Education And Training Foundation

As from September 2020, adults aged 19 and over with no or low digital skills will be entitled to free training to develop their digital skills, in line with existing maths and English entitlements. Demand for courses is anticipated to be high and there is interest in delivery from all parts of the Further Education (FE) and Training sector.

According to the Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2019, more than half of working-age adults in the UK – 17.3 million people in total – do not have the essential digital skills they need for work.

In addition, the survey found that 11.9 million people lack the digital skills they need for everyday life in the connected world in which we now live.

In response, the Department for Education (DfE) introduced new national standards in April 2019, replacing the basic ICT standards published in 2006. The new standards cover five areas reflecting the way in which we now live online:

  • Using devices and handling information – using devices, finding and evaluating information, managing and storing information, identifying and solving technical problems
  • Creating and editing – creating and editing documents and digital media, processing numerical data
  • Communicating – communicating, sharing and managing traceable online activities
  • Transacting – using online services, buying securely online
  • Being safe and responsible online – protecting privacy and data, being responsible online, digital wellbeing.

The Essential Digital Skills training events and webinars are part of a broader CPD package commissioned by DfE from the ETF to support the FE sector in delivering the new entitlement, which also includes:

  • An interactive self-assessment tool
  • A series of 20 short online learning modules
  • Development of a community of practice to offer peer-to-peer support
  • A multimedia toolkit to provide guidance on the CPD package.

The self-assessment toolkit, the online learning modules and the community of practice will be hosted on the ETF’s Enhance Digital Teaching Platform, which has already proved a popular resource for teachers and trainers seeking to develop their digital skills. The CPD package will be free to all staff.

The face-to-face training workshops will take place in Bristol, Leeds and London, starting on 29 January. Webinars are also being provided for those who cannot attend face-to-face training. It is anticipated that the programme will be particularly helpful for those teachers and trainers who are not ICT specialists but rather will deliver digital skills training as part of another learning programme such as ESOL or Preparation for Life and Work. The aim of the training is to build confidence and share practice related to different teaching contexts.

Spotlight on Super’s Self-Concept Theory

Applying Super’s theory of self-concept can help your clients at different stages of their career development.

Self-concept is the core of Super’s theory

Illustration showing people of different ages standing next to each other from youngest to oldest

The second career theory we’ll shine our spotlight on is Donald Super’s theory of how self-concept relates to career development. Our self-concept is created by our life and work experiences, abilities and personality.

Super thought who we are changes throughout life and this influences our long-term career decisions.

He also created the concept of career development stages. He first saw them as five stages of the lifecycle. But later they were used to understand a person’s experience at any stage of their career. 

Super’s five life stages:

  1. Growth (birth to age 14): You develop a self-concept, become aware of your future goals, or think about changing your career.
  2. Exploration (ages 15 to 24): You find the right career through courses, work experience and hobbies. You may develop and plan a career goal and complete relevant training.
  3. Establishment (ages 25 to 44): You secure a job in your chosen field and develop skills, build relationships with co-workers, and look for chances to advance your career.
  4. Maintenance (ages 45 to 64): You adjust and update your skills.
  5. Decline (ages 65 and up): You may start planning retirement, or you may be losing energy or interest in a job and getting ready to change your career.

Use Super’s theory to help clients at all stages of their careers

Clients starting a career

You can help clients who are uncertain about their first role or want to return to work by:

  • encouraging them to be curious and explore different hobbies and work experience 
  • helping them find information about areas of work they’re interested in 
  • getting them to look at training options, including bridging, free or short courses
  • supporting them with their decision making 
  • building their confidence for interviews, for example, by showing them informational interviewing skills
  • emphasising how personal skills are useful on their CV
  • showing them opportunities to learn from role models, for example, through job shadowing.

Clients who need a new challenge

Encourage clients who feel stuck in their job to have a career discussion with their manager. Suggest they:

  • explore options in their current workplace, such as moving into another area within the organisation
  • find ways to update or broaden their skills.

Clients who want to change careers

For some clients, their self-concept may have changed to the point where they no longer feel connected to their work. You can help these clients toward a change of career by:

  • helping them understand that career change is a normal part of career development
  • explaining how they’re at the decline stage of Super’s cycle and returning to the beginning of the cycle
  • encouraging them to explore new career ideas, identify other interests, or take courses to develop new skills.

Download a copy of Super’s model (PDF – 256B) (Word – 251KB)

Developing Your Career Capital

By Tonya Holowitski, RPR, RPT, CMP, CRS, CCS, CISA Career Innovator & Designer for Alberta CPAs (Chartered Professional Accountants) and CPA Students

Tonya Holowitski, RPR, RPT, CMP, CRS, CCS, CIS
Tonya Holowitski

I recently had the opportunity to deliver two workshops on how to build your Career Capital using LinkedIn. They were both great sessions and I learned a lot both developing the content and delivering the content.

Career Capital is the value of competencies, knowledge and individual personality attributes you have to produce economic value. Career Capital is vitally important for an individual’s success in all stages of work and life. Career Capital can increase through education, experience and your ability to identify and convert into an opportunity. In the digital age, building your career capital requires a conscious effort to strategically evolve to act and influence as a valuable and respected resource.

Career Capital was a concept developed in 1994 by Organizational Psychologists DeFillipi and Athurs for organizations. As time has progressed it has been shaped and moulded in a manner that is meant to reflect the individual more so than an organization’s team development and succession planning. As time goes on the career landscape is changing and we are beginning to hear more about a “Gig Economy” and becoming a “Careerpreneur”. Other terms you may come across that apply to the Gig Economy are a Free Floating Professional, a Temporary Employee, a Contractor, Self-Employed,

A “gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The term “gig” is a slang word meaning “a job for a specified period of time” and is typically used in referring to musicians.

“Careerpreneur” is a term we use a lot in the Career Development world, particularly by my education body Career Professionals Canada. It means becoming an independent agent working towards our career success. Scripting our path versus waiting for someone to write it out for us. Keeping an eye out for emerging and growing opportunities. Proactively taking advantage of our career development initiatives.

Cal Newport the author of Seven Ways Successful People Approach Their Work and So Good They Can’t Ignore You has a phrase that resonates quite well and shifts us from the common perspective of pursuing your passion. He states “Adopt the craftsman mindset, not the passion mindset” His perspective is to look at work not from “What can the world offer me?” but ask “What can I offer the world?”. So it’s a little bit of the notion of Symbolic Capital (reputation/ prestige in a field). The Career Capital piece would be to then take key elements of your Symbolic Capital and being able to apply them in a different career capacity – could be role, client, or even organisation.

Career Capital is broken down into three fundamental concepts:

  1. Knowing Why: This is where you are examining internal and external factors that are driving your career or need for change. It could be related to changes in the market place, technology, demand, layoffs, boredom, corporate values and others.
  2. Knowing Whom: This is your network developed through work, volunteerism, your personal life whom all can help you move forward in your career or a transition. This consists of Mentors, Sponsors, Peers, Supervisors, Friends, Family, Community Connections, Virtual Connections (LinkedIn), Experts and Networking Connections. AKA Social Capital.
  3. Knowing How: This is what you have learned to do on the job, in your studies, from volunteerism, hobbies and other learning activities.

To become effective in developing your Career Capital, you need to explore your relationship with perceived internal and external marketability. It means being able to adapt, to continue to keep up to date on future job perspectives, knowledge and skills and asking others how they perceive you. Gone are the days where you get one degree and that is it, no further professional development required. Technology, economic market volatility, social trends, climate change, political change and other requires each of us to be prepared for rapid change in requirements in the workplace.

It also means saving your money for the future. There may be times you find yourself unemployed but there also may be times where if you haven’t been continually investing in skills development that you find yourself reinventing yourself which may mean a temporary pay decrease. However, if you are continually investing in your career capital you should be seeing an increase in your economic capital.

So what are the key elements and attitudes you want to focus on to increase your Career Capital? Consider the following:

  1. Develop Movement Capital (encompasses the individual skills, knowledge, competencies, and attitudes influencing an individual’s career mobility opportunities, which in turn influences their likelihood of career success – Forrier Sels & Stynen, 2009).
  2. Adaptability (Allows people to evolve and enables and motivates them to adapt their human capital, social capital and career identity to new circumstances – Forrier et al., 2009)
  3. Networking: Events, virtual, within an organisation, in your community, with your friends and family.
  4. Continuous Learning: On the job, through classes formal and informal, from a mentor and your peers.
  5. Market Research and Market Awareness: Continually pay attention to the news. Everythings applies – Global Trade & Politics, National Trade, Economy and Politics, Stock Markets, Science, Innovation and Technology, Mergers and Acquisitions, Provincial Policy changes, Municipal affairs, Climate events (fires, hurricanes, tornados anything that can cause a city to stop) and more.
  6. Attitude: Self-motivation, determination, perseverance, flexibility, emotional intelligence, industry acumen, patience, commit to change, and have a willingness to learn.
  7. Reputation: Be known for follow-through and your ability to deliver, take a chance and write a blog, be a guest speaker, train others, become a mentor, become a subject matter expert, think credibility.
  8. Multi-Disciplinary Exposure: Develop breadth and depth of expanding your competencies.
  9. Multi-Industry Exposure
  10. Build your Brand

So there you have it Career Capital, it’s a thing. BTW did you ever guess there could be so many different forms of Capital in your life?

About the Author: Tonya Holowitski is a professional Career Advisor and previously was a Recruiter both in-house and external search. She holds a number of certifications and designations through the Career Professionals of Canada and the Institute of Professional Management.

The Career Lounge: A New Peer-Education Model?

In the following paper, Nicole Joron, the Career Educator and Peer Co-ordinator at York University introduces ‘The Career Lounge’.

I had the pleasure of joining York University’s Career Centre last summer with the exciting task of developing and launching a new career peer-education program.

The program is part of   a collaborative well-being strategy of peer-led stress-buffering programming across Health Education, Learning Skills, Student Financial Services and the Career Centre. The founding principles of the program were well-being, career self-management, peer education and universal design. After exploring a literature review and environmental scan of existing peer models alongside the needs of the department, we embarked on a mission to create our Career Lounge.

The Career Lounge Model
Circular diagram representing the five steps of career lounge model: invite, listen, connect, explore and own
(Courtesy of York University)

Adapted from The Studio Method at the University of Nevada, the Career Lounge Model has five components: invite, listen, connect, explore and own. Peers use a coaching approach to implement the model and support students and new grads in developing career self-management skills and confidence. “My role involved guiding students through their career questions and empowering them with the resources to navigate their career journeys,” said Zarlasht Jamal, Career Peer Educator and third-year Global Health student.

Career Peer Educators learn the model through a week-long training program with a combination of skill-building, career development content and experiential activities. Peers participate in weekly team meetings throughout the year where they engage in ongoing reflection, discussion and training.

  • Invite: Peers welcome students, explain how the Lounge works and invite them to participate, starting with a welcome form.
  • Listen: Peers use active-listening techniques to better understand the students’ needs and invite them to set a goal for the session. Peers are encouraged to ask at least three open-ended questions before starting to make connections as the students’ career question may evolve as they share their story.
  • Connect: Peers connect students to relevant resources that they can use to build their skills, knowledge and confidence in exploring their career question. Connections are also facilitated between people: peer to peer, peer to student and amongst students.
  • Explore: Students explore resources independently, with a peer and/or with other students visiting the Lounge (or a combination thereof). Students exploring similar resources are invited to sit near each other to facilitate co-exploring and making connections. While students are working, peers shares updates so that all peers working that shift know each student by name and what they are working on.
  • Own: Peers use coaching conversations to facilitate self-ownership of career decisions throughout the connect and explore stages. As students prepare to leave, peers thank them for spending time with us and invite students to identify one next step they will own for their career journey, to complete a feedback form and to return.
York University Career Lounge. (Courtesy of York University)
Setting up the Career Lounge

To facilitate the Career Lounge Model, the physical space of the Career Lounge includes multi-format resources (worksheets, books, posters, desktops, iPads), multi-format workspaces (computer stations, round tables, bean bag chairs, a desk), and accents to help create a welcoming environment (coat rack, lamps, plants, pillows, candy bowls). The Lounge atmosphere was created by moving around furniture in an existing front desk space and multi-purposing an advising station. Peers helped to design the Lounge and selected the finishing touches to create an inviting space.

Navigating the Career Lounge Model

What is most unique about the Career Lounge is that it is not a traditional one-on-one appointment, facilitated group session or workshop. It is a new format entirely that I have been calling a “flexible hybrid.”

The Career Lounge Model strives to remove as many barriers as possible; procedures are minimal, and students are involved in co-creating their experience. Visitors have options for how they would like to navigate their time in the Lounge and are invited to make the experience their own. They can choose their preferred type of seating, resource and work style. Furthermore, they can move between options within one visit.

For example, within one visit, a student utilizing the Lounge for resume help may:

  • Engage in a one-on-one conversation with a peer
  • Explore the resume poster hanging up in the space with another student visiting the Lounge
  • Work independently using a resume worksheet (paper or online)
  • Work with a partner in the Lounge to compare ideas
  • Practice accomplishment statements in a group discussion facilitated by peers
  • Work independently to apply what they learned to updating their resume

Throughout, peers rotate around the room to check on students, ask coaching questions, offer encouragement and resources, facilitate conversation amongst visitors and host closing conversations with students as they leave.

What to expect at the career lounge: students from all programs/years; drop by; work on your own or together; ask any career question; flexible workspace; meet other students; no time limit; Career peer educators on hand; leave with next steps
(Courtesy of York University)
Career Lounge pilot results (September 2018 – April 2019)
  • Visitors were a mix of undergraduates, graduate students, PhD candidates and recent graduates.
  • The number of visitors during a two-to-three-hour shift ranged from one to 18, with two Career Peer Educators.
  • 60% of survey respondents were first-time visitors to the Career Centre; they found out about the Lounge from our website or word of mouth (staff, faculty, friend).
  • While most visitors stayed for 15-30 minutes, visits ranged from five minutes to three hours
  • 90% of survey respondents found the Career Lounge staff and space welcoming, felt that they were referred to appropriate resources and would recommend a friend to visit.
  • Career Peer Educators reported building skills in coaching, assertiveness, reflection and career development.
Career Lounge challenges and benefits

The biggest challenge with the Career Lounge has been managing expectations and orienting visitors to the new Career Lounge Model. Peers also struggled at times to feel that they were providing enough support to each student without maintaining one-on-one contact. Secondly, the Career Lounge requires access to resources in the form of dedicated space, materials and staff (ideally two or more peers per shift).

The largest benefit of the Career Lounge was successfully reaching more students, and a new group of students who were not previously accessing the Career Centre. While many new services take time to grow, students were waiting for us to open on day one and keep coming back. The Career Lounge Model also advances just-in time, individualized service provision, shifts service delivery to peers as first point of contact and positively contributes to well-being outcomes.