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For Southampton City Council, ensuring that local people are given access to good careers information is seen as a crucial part of building a prosperous city and of helping young people avoid the NEET trap (Not in Education, Employment or Training). As part of their commitment to providing IAG, the Council recently launched Access Southampton – an online service aimed at providing essential information to help young people make important decisions about their future.
The website is targeted primarily at pupils in Years 9, 11 and 12, and includes information on routes into higher education courses, help for job seekers, tips on filling in application forms and building a CV, and improving interview skills. The site has also been designed to be accessible to those who influence the decisions young people make, such as parents, teachers and foster carers.
The Need for Information on Local Opportunities
Along with the type of help and guidance mentioned above, the Council also wanted to add to the site objective data about the local employment market in the Southampton area. According to Beth Bray, the Council’s Youth Participation Development Coordinator:
“What we wanted was the kind of information that would support professionals, young people and their families in understanding the opportunities available within the city, and which could give clear information on where the jobs are and where they will be in the future.”
Their search for a solution ended when they found out about Find Your Career, the online tool from EMSI which uses local labour market data to give exactly the type of objective information on occupations and careers that they were looking for. Since making the investment, the tool has been branded to integrate seamlessly into the existing Access Southampton site.
Why Find Your Career?
So what was it that made Southampton City Council see Find Your Career as the solution they were looking for? According to Beth, the tool does all they were looking for by giving users:
- Current and forecasted employment trends for any occupation in the area
- Information on earnings specific to the local area for any occupations
- Career options based on a simple personality test
- Alternative careers which have similar skills
- A CV builder
In addition, the tool also gives system administrators the ability to track who is using it, which is highly useful in terms of marketing and targeting the tool.
Feedback and the Future
Since being incorporated into the Access Southampton site, feedback has so far been very positive:
“Careers advisers love it for the clear understanding of real jobs and opportunities in the city that it gives! My plan is now to track who is using it and to then encourage schools to base careers lessons around it.”
– Beth Bray, Youth Participation Development Coordinator
The Council is now putting together a 12-month plan for marketing Find Your Career, the idea being to put out regular career focussed information on social media. Beth is also writing a lesson plan which she hopes schools will be able to use to integrate the tool in their careers lessons.