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Generation Covid in Need of More Educational Support
October 30, 2020
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The coronavirus pandemic has reportedly had the biggest impact on young people, especially those from a deprived background, as their education and job prospects have been largely affected.

Under 25s have been named ‘Generation Covid’ due to cuts to their earnings, education and job prospects, leading to fears for the long-term impact on the futures.

BBC Panorama found that people aged 16-to-25 were more than twice as likely as older workers to have lost their job, while six in 10 saw their earnings fall.

Jonathan Smith, chief executive at logistics firm APC Overnight told HR magazine:

“Whilst this year has understandably proved challenging for many, it’s critical that wherever possible, businesses consider the longer-term opportunities they can make available.

“Recruiting young people is key not just to businesses, but also to communities; without employment opportunities the young can’t contribute to their local areas and are ultimately forced to go elsewhere for employment.

“This could create real problems for future recruitment and talent acquisition,” said Smith.

Panorama’s research also highlighted the impact that school closures have had on young people, and how students from poorer backgrounds have received far less education than those from more privileged families.

International: How Parents and Careers can be Supported to Provide Career Development

By JENNY BIMROSE AND SALLY-ANNE BARNES

Labour markets across the world were already experiencing profound shifts and changes before the onset of COVID-19 – a process which has since accelerated. With young people especially vulnerable to unemployment in the changing world order, it is critical that they receive the best possible career support. Parents and carers of these young people also need support from career professionals, so that they can maximize their ability to help.

An international study, undertaken from 2019 to 2020 in the UK, found that parental engagement in career education and support is moving away from passive forms of involvement and information giving, to creating spaces for active engagement, collaboration and communication among parents, carers and educational institutions. What does this research tell us about how we can adapt our practice to best integrate parents and carers into career development support? This article summarizes some key findings and discusses implications for practice.

Learning from others

Increasingly, the careers community is being expected to justify its practice by basing it on robust evidence of what works. This study revealed that, unfortunately, formal, large-scale, longitudinal evaluations of the integration of parents and carers in career practice have not yet been conducted. However, the study has brought together a range of experiential evidence from which we can learn about various practices.

Where and how are parents/carers integrated into career development activities to support young people? In Canada, the Explore your Horizons intervention provided high school students with enhanced career planning and information about the costs and benefits of post-secondary programs. The program was delivered through voluntary, after-school workshops beginning in Grade 10 for students and their parents. It was designed to enhance career education in the school by helping students improve their knowledge of the role of post-secondary education and provide guidance to their parents on how to support them through this process. A combination of interventions (workshops, financial aid, career guidance, resilience training) was found to be most effective. Significantly, there was an increase in high school graduation rates and post-secondary education enrolment among underrepresented students, including those from low-income families.

“Parents and carers of these young people also need support from career professionals, so that they can maximize their ability to help.”

In the UK, the Brilliant Club also aims to increase the number of young people from under-represented backgrounds to progress to higher education. It is a structured program of funded activities for young people that have been designed to develop the career aspirations of academically able young learners. Some schools have adapted these activities to include parents and families. As a result of engagement in the program, young people were reported to have greater engagement in the school’s curriculum and their parents/carers had gained a shared sense of achievement. Practitioners working on the program recognized that it was useful to have LMI knowledge about future opportunities in order to challenge ideas and dated information that some parents/carers had about particular educational pathways.

Further examples of interventions and activities from Australia, Czechia, France, Hong Kong, Netherlands, the US and the UK are presented in the report.

teen boy talking to mom
Personalized communication to parents/carers is important in boosting their engagement in career programs. (iStock)

Key messages

The research evidence helps us to crystallize what we know, and what we need to know, about successful parent/carer engagement in career programs. Specifically, strategic leadership and management support emerge as key factors. Parental involvement in the design of career engagement activities is also important, as well as targeted, personalized communication to parents/carers. Training for staff in schools and colleges in how best to communicate with and engage parents/careers was considered valuable and needed.

Additionally, mixed programs (both online and face-to-face) that involve a range of activities and events are more likely to succeed in engaging parents/carers. Programs, where parents/carers and young people have a shared careers-related experience, are a good way of enabling a conversation about educational and career pathways. Finally, ongoing monitoring and development for sustaining improvement are essential. National policies and strategies that identify how the education system could engage parent/carers were found in Denmark, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. Such policies typically facilitate career support, rather than making it mandatory.

Promising practice

The study highlights challenges to parent/carer engagement in career support. For example, the timing of events often conflicts with parents’ working hours. There are also issues around the general lack of time, space and resources available in educational institutions. Despite difficulties, details of initiatives in various countries and promising practices can be found in the research and practice reports linked to this study. The strongest messages from the study are:

  • Using technology, since this offers ways of communicating, disseminating and enabling access to information for parents/carers.
  • Redesigning existing activities, such as careers fairs and careers open days, to involve parents, wherever possible.
  • Creating parent-friendly environments with activities to draw parents/carers into schools and colleges, such as breakfast clubs and coffee mornings.
  • Designing new activities in the community and in collaboration with other schools and colleges that engage parents/carers, employers and the local community to build parental knowledge and skills.
  • Creating a space and opportunity for shared conversations between parents/carers and young people through careers workshops and personal guidance sessions, which can be a good way of parent/carers’ learning about careers and starting a dialogue with their young people about their educational and career pathways.

Undoubtedly, parent/carer engagement in careers is important, with a need for them to be “career aspirants” (i.e. supporters of education and career pathways and providers of accurate information). It is also important to remember that they are likely to have different expectations and needs at different points in their young people’s career development, so there is a challenge in how to communicate information ensuring it is of interest and relevant.

Conclusion

The study has evidenced that parents/carers have the single-most powerful impact on a young person’s career development, values, attitudes and self-concepts. Career professionals need to understand how to maximize their influence as a positive force. Even before the onset of COVID, some governments were interested in finding out what policies and resources ensure that career practice maximizes opportunities to integrate parents/carers into career development programs. Pilot programs are needed to build a stronger evidence base on which to take careers practice forward.

Reference

Barnes, S-A, Bimrose, J., Brown, A., Gough, J. & Wright, S. (2020). The role of parents in providing careers guidance and how they can be better supported: International evidence report. Coventry: Warwick Institute for Employment Research.

JENNY BIMROSE AND SALLY-ANNE BARNES With over 40 years’ experience in higher education, researching, managing and teaching at postgraduate level, Professor Jenny Bimrose has extensive international experience of research management and consultancy. Her ongoing research relates to the effective use of labour market information in career guidance practice, supporting the use of ICT by professionals in careers and employment practice, and the role of careers guidance in the career biographies of people making transitions into and through the labour market. | Dr Sally-Anne Barnes is Reader at the Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick managing and working on a range of projects in the careers field. Her international research projects have investigated the transformation of careers and the labour market, plus how individuals engage with lifelong guidance and learning across the life course, navigate the labour market and the narratives around these transitions and decisions.

Helping Young Adults Spot a Narcissistic Boss: A 4-Step Plan
July 14, 2020
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An article by Robyn Koslowitz Ph.D. first published in Psychology Today.

Neurodiverse young adults are vulnerable to narcissistic abuse. Teach them this.

“I came back into therapy because my ADHD is back,” Deena informed me. Deena had been a patient of mine when she was in high school. Her inattentive ADHD and mild autistic tendencies were interfering with her schoolwork and social skills. Through a combination of therapy, social skills training, medication, and parental education, Deena learned to successfully manage her ADHD and organize her time and developed the ability to socialize with like-minded peers. I pointed out that Deena’s ADHD is not “back”; it never left. She had learned to manage it in the school environment, and now she needed to learn to manage it in the working environment.

As I began working with Deena, I realized she was managing her ADHD quite well. She showed me various time-management tricks she had learned, including a few apps that were new to me. The problem was, she felt that she was constantly letting her boss down, emphasizing the wrong details, or misunderstanding him. Worse, he kept reminding her that jobs in prestigious marketing firms like his are hard to come by, that she would need a good recommendation from him if she ever looked elsewhere, and that he is disappointed that she isn’t living up to his expectations.

One week, Deena came to therapy in tears. “I tried to use the feedback formula to ask him not to yell at me in front of the whole office. I told him that when he yells at me, it’s hard for me to concentrate on the details of what he is asking for, and I asked him to please tell me privately.” His response? “If you weren’t such an idiot, I wouldn’t need to criticize you at all.”

As Deena’s therapy continued, I watched a formerly self-confident young woman turn into an anxious shadow of herself. Deena would report how her friends and parents were pressuring her to “just quit,” but that she believed that working for this agency was the key to all of her dreams in her chosen field.

I don’t like to diagnose people in absentia, but I decided to help Deena learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Abuse. I wanted her to think about whether the behavior she was subject to from her boss could fit the criteria. I didn’t want to be another voice simply telling her to quit her job. The constant pressure from friends and family were just making her feel like a failure on another front, rather than helping her to see that her job was destabilizing her sense of self. 

Young adults like Deena, particularly young adults with ADHD, are used to being criticized and getting feedback. When they’ve just left the supportive environment of school, where feedback is mostly constructive, they may not see the difference between constructive criticism and the type of destructive environment Deena’s work had become.

 Darwis Batawi/123RF

Does your young adult child know about narcissistic abuse? Teach her to screen potential supervisors using this four-step plan.Source: Darwis Batawi/123RF

I like to use the acronym NARC to help young adults like Deena develop the ability to spot a healthy supervisor who is not narcissistic. Feedback from a person who has these four qualities is probably constructive, even if it feels harsh. On the other hand, if a person lacks these four qualities, the potential for narcissistic abuse is quite high:

Not focused on status

Accepts Feedback

Respects Boundaries

Compassionate, not contemptuous.

Not Focused on Status:

Deena thought about this. Her boss is constantly bragging about the high-profile clients his company pulls in, the cost of his car, the colleges he attended and where his children will go. He likes to talk about his IQ, and he has a wall in his office devoted to pictures of himself with famous business personalities. It sounds like he’s pretty focused on status.

Accepts Feedback:

This can be tricky because, in some fields, employees are not supposed to give supervisors feedback. In Deena’s case, though, her feedback was about certain types of communication styles. For example, she explained to her boss that when he gave her two tasks and told her both were immediate priority, she needed to know which one to tackle first, or when he says something like “I just hate everything about this design, redo it,” she does need to know what he hates, or she can’t design something that’s more in line with his aesthetic. By responding with comments like “if you wouldn’t be such an idiot, you could figure it out,” we can see that he doesn’t accept any feedback at all.

Respects Boundaries:

Other humans exist in an independent reality, outside of our own. A truly narcissistic person does not fully grasp that concept. For example, when Deena was sick, her boss seemed to take it as a personal attack on him: “You got sick the week I have a major project to complete? That’s unacceptable.” In addition, as we were exploring this topic, Deena realized that many of the comments her boss made about her overstepped boundaries. The state of her car, her exact relationship to the woman who dropped her off one day, her need to update her wardrobe or her diet – these are not his business. But her boss had a hard time grasping that.

Compassionate, Not Contemptuous:

Of the four, accepting feedback and not being contemptuous are the two that are the most salient. This one was a slam dunk – clearly, contempt was the lens through which this gentleman viewed everyone not immediately connected to him.

Deena is now working on her exit plan from this position. She has been interviewing at other firms, keeping her four-part checklist firmly in mind. Despite her boss claiming that the only special thing about her is working for him, she is finding that many firms appreciate her quirky aesthetic and are calling her back for second interviews. Until she finds another position, her new understanding of narcissism is helping her cope.  

About the Author

Robyn Koslowitz, Ph.D., is a licensed school psychologist and clinical psychologist and educational director of the Targeted Parenting Institute.Online:targetedparenting.comTwitterLinkedIn

Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), UK: August 2019
August 23, 2019
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Estimates of young people (aged 16 to 24 years) who are not in education, employment or training, by age and sex.

Main points

For April to June 2019:

  • There were 792,000 young people (aged 16 to 24 years) in the UK who were not in education, employment or training (NEET); this number increased by 28,000 from January to March 2019 and was up 14,000 when compared with April to June 2018.
  • The percentage of all young people in the UK who were NEET was 11.5%; the proportion was up 0.4 percentage points from January to March 2019 and up 0.3 percentage points from April to June 2018.
  • Of all young people in the UK who were NEET, 41.6% were looking for, and available for, work and therefore classified as unemployed; the remainder were either not looking for work and/or not available for work and therefore classified as economically inactive.

To read the full report follow the link below

https://bit.ly/31UR2Z7

How to Develop a Learning Culture for Young Talent
August 19, 2019
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The following article is by Tristram Hooley. Institute of Student Employers

How can we best develop young employees? This new research on the development of early talent from the Institute of Student Employers shares key insights.

Tristram
Tristram Hooley

Young people can be one of the greatest resources for employers. When you bring young talent into your organisation you’re gaining access to new ideas, enthusiasm and the latest skills from the education system, but you need to think carefully about how to manage younger workers and organise training and development in a different way from established staff. 

Many young people will never have been in a workplace before and they will often have a lot to learn about how your organisation works.

Two of the key roles for learning and development professionals is to help line managers understand the skills that their new hires have (and do not have) and to provide them with a pathway to developing these staff. 

Strengths of new hires

In the Institute of Student Employers’ Student Development Survey 2019 we asked employers to reflect on what things graduates, apprentices and school leavers were good at (and not so good at). They reported that all entry level hires were typically good at the following things: 

  • IT and digital skills (including using Excel)
  • Numeracy
  • Presenting themselves effectively in the workplace
  • Staying positive and building effective relationships with others
  • Teamwork 
  • Writing

For learning and development professionals this is a really strong base to start from. New hires come out of the education system with some of the key building blocks that they will need for successful careers, but they are often less clear on how to make use of these skills within the workplace. 

Helping young hires to consider how to apply the skills and knowledge they have within your business is therefore a key objective of induction and early career development programmes. 

Weaknesses of new hires

The weaknesses that employers raised with the different types of young hires are also interesting (see table for full list). Key areas of weakness included: 

  • Business appropriate communications
  • Commercial awareness
  • Job-specific skills
  • Leadership
  • Resilience
  • The ability to manage up
Employer perspectives on what skills entry-level hires lack

All of these weaknesses are strongly related to transitioning into the workplace environment. Where young hires struggle is in learning how to operate successfully within the workplace, to work with others (including their managers) and to deliver what is expected of them.

This requires learning and development professionals to rethink induction processes and to view them as a process of cultural acclimatisation that may go on for an extended period of time – the focus of early career training

Given that early career hires have both strengths and weaknesses, an important issue is what employers can do to develop their hires and strengthen their skills. 

On average, firms reported that they were spending £3,850 a year on each of their entry level hires. Often using the apprenticeship levy to fund some or all of this. 

The available resources should be spent on both cultural acclimatisation and on developing specific skills and knowledge that is required to perform in role and progress in career.

Employers in our survey typically invested in the same areas that they reported young hires were weak in, although areas, like presentation skills and teamworking, continue to be important for training even though entry level hires arrive relatively strong in these things. 

Millions are Unhappy at Work, but Some Apprentice Employers are Bucking the Trend
June 14, 2019
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By Emma Finamore. Editor, AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk

A staggering 4.3 million UK employees report being unhappy at work – 13% of us nationwide – and over 15,000,000 days are lost per year due to reported mental health problems caused or worsened by work.

The findings come from research conducted by Robert Half UK published this year, and shows how our workforce is becoming increasingly held back by mental health problems such as stress, depression and anxiety.

According to this research, the UK has the highest rate of unhappiness in the workplace among the countries surveyed, including Canada, Australia, Germany and 4% higher than in the US. The research found that one in three (31%) UK respondents admit to finding their work stressful, while one in 10 (12%) employees say they are dissatisfied with their work–life balance. Read more

Supporting LGBT Young People
April 8, 2019
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Stonewall has a range of resource to support LGBT Young People.

Download this resource to support all of your work in supporting LGBT young people in school or college.

Stonewall Guide

Brexit Resources
April 8, 2019
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These Brexit factsheets produced by Aspire International look to help keep young people and careers practitioners up to date with the impact of leaving the EU.

Aspire International are constantly updating and adding to the factsheets available below.

Brexit Briefings

 

ViewPoint: ‘It is Time We Start Listening to Teenagers on Careers’
February 28, 2019
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Educators, employers, parents and the government must take note of teenagers’ views, writes Bev Jones, joint chief executive of the Career Colleges Trust.

New research published on 26th February 2019 suggests that nearly a third of teenagers in Britain are worried about “where their education is heading” and feel that the next few years may be a “waste of time” for them.

This is disappointing, particularly at a time when many industries are growing rapidly and new and exciting career opportunities are on offer for young people locally, nationally and internationally.

There is often talk about the skills gaps and the fact that young people are not prepared for the world of work – but is it any surprise when teens themselves feel that their education is focused primarily on league tables and academic grades? Read more

Youth Unemployment Down 50% Since 2010
October 16, 2018
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Official figures, released by the Office for National Statistics today, show that youth unemployment has halved since 2010.

The figures also show that the unemployment rate of 4.0% has not been lower since 1975. Real wages are up for the seventh month in a row, rising by 0.7% above inflation and employment remained high at 75.5%, up 0.4% points on the year.

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The proportion of young people who are unemployed is at a new record low, as more than 120,000 more young people have a job than in 2010. At the same time, fewer children are now growing up in a home without any adults in work than ever before. There are 637,000 fewer children in this position than in 2010, helping inspire more young people into work themselves. Read more