What makes for good careers guidance? Is it about giving more time to students? Is it about finding out what young people like and matching this up to related careers? Or is it more about empowering young people by giving them good information on jobs and wages in their local economy so that they can make informed decisions about their future?
The view at New College Durham (NCD) is clearly one of empowerment. Back in December 2013, the College purchased EMSI’s Career Coach tool as a means of guiding potential learners to career paths they may not have opted for previously. Since its introduction, the tool is not only being used in career guidance sessions, but the College is also encouraging students to use it during class time and in their spare time to do their own research.
Career Coach at NCD
Career Coach came onto the radar of the College at an opportune time. The Marketing Team were in the process of a web development project which was due to feature a careers search element, but at that time they didn’t have a practical solution to deliver this. So when Career Coach was presented to them it was – according to Craig Millar, the College’s Marketing Manager – “clear that this was the perfect solution without the need to research information independently.”
Rather than creating a standalone Career Coach page, which is the route most colleges have taken, NCD opted to embed the tool onto the homepage of their website as a search tool. So instead of being directed to a “Career Coach” page, students have a simple search bar at the top right-hand corner of the website, which allows them to search for courses or careers using the full Career Coach functionality.
So how has Career Coach been used to empower the College’s students? According to Craig, in addition to the search bar, which can be used by anyone visiting the website, “use of the tool is strongly encouraged internally and many curriculum areas have it embedded inside their structured lessons.”
This is an idea that should inspire other colleges. By making the information in Career Coach an integral part of student learning, the College is making a direct connection in the minds of students between the qualifications they are working towards and the career opportunities in their local area which they might be able to apply their training to. In other words, NCD are very much empowering their students to take control of their futures and so taking careers guidance to another level.
Time & Money
Empowering students is not the only benefit that Career Coach is bringing to NCD. The tool cuts out the need for colleges to research, on behalf of students, what is going on in the local labour market and so provides a massive saving for any college that is serious about giving this kind of knowledge to their learners. As Craig explains:
“Career Coach substantially saves curriculum staff resource to support our students with a better understanding of their options, gain a real perspective of future career prospects, raise their aspirations and also manage student expectations.”
Promoting the College
One other great benefit to the College comes from Career Coach’s ability to tie in data on local occupations with the courses offered by the College. This gives tremendous opportunities for promoting courses to those who might be thinking of going to college, and as Craig says, the College is taking full advantage:
“The integration with the website gives our prospective students the opportunity to gain insights, helping to steer them to knowledgeable choices about the College’s offer. Doing this inside the website further increases our brand equity by improving trust with our customers and stakeholders. Potential students, parents and feeder school staff gain the perspective that the College will be the best choice for further and higher education. The tool has become a positive promotional channel for New College Durham.”
We are excited by the ways in which NCD are using Career Coach. By empowering students with the information they need to make good career choices, and by using the tool to promote a college education to potential students, NCD is clearly positioning itself as a vital hub of the local economy — one where people can go and learn skills that are needed in the local economy, and where they are empowered to make the right decisions about their future.
For more details about Career Coach, contact Andy Durman at firstname.lastname@example.org