Showing posts from 2015

The Writer’s (Career) Journey: using the techniques and principles of careers advice and guidance in creative writing courses

I will be presenting a workshop this coming Friday at the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) annual conference , where I will present tools, relevant career counselling techniques, group work and individual exercises that can be used to help students understand why they want to write and where it might take them. I have taught creative writing since 2007 at various universities, in community and adult education, in primary and secondary schools and from undergraduate to postgraduate level. Prior to and during this time I have also worked in careers services, trained as a careers adviser and moved into research and development in the field of career education. I am currently employed by Scotland’s national skills body, Skills Development Scotland , as an equalities expert in the delivery of national training programmes. My interest in career development informs my teaching practice at all ages and levels and I will share with delegates some of the techniques

Forthcoming Conference Presentation: NAWE, November 2015

I will be delivering a conference presentation on Friday 13th November 2015 at the National Association of Writers in Education annual conference in Durham. The Writer’s (Career) Journey This session will look at how to use the techniques and principles of careers advice and guidance in creative writing courses. The workshop will present tools, relevant career counselling techniques, group work and individual exercises that can be used to help students understand why they want to write and where it might take them. Participants will engage in practical, adaptable activities and learn how career planning can benefit the writing workshop for students of all ages. Participants will gain a better understanding of how to help learners map their writer’s journey, identify career support networks and develop careers in writing. The presentation will draw directly on career development theory and the importance of the role of non-careers professionals in career  information,  advice

Character and Career Education

I attended the Character Scotland conference  this week, which welcomed over 250 delegates, all keen to explore how we can integrate character development into our educational practices. This is my first exploratory post into character and career education, information, advice and guidance following this two-day conference.  Before I go onto the content of the seminars and keynotes I took most from in relation to my own practice and research, worth noting was the quality of the delivery of presentations. In Seminar 1  Education (re)design , the panel used the PechaKucha approach: presenters work through 20 slides, each displayed for 20 seconds. This was completely new to me, and talk about keeping folk to time and to the point! I am wondering how I can use this in my own teaching and presentations. As a delegate it kept me engaged and whetted my appetite to learn more about the presenters, their backgrounds, their topics. A second stand-out moment in relation to public speak

Apprenticeships and the New Government

The General Election campaigns are out of the way and it is time to look ahead to what the Conservatives proposed in relation to work, education and skills. What will they deliver in career education, advice and guidance, and specific initiatives to support young people into sustainable employment and relevant training over the next five years? There is of course one thing that every party talked about (endlessly, it seemed, at times): apprenticeships. Apprenticeships for young people, if any of the party manifestos were to be believed, are going to solve a heck of a lot of problems. While my PhD looks at one specific programme of apprenticeships in Scotland, what I want to talk about in this post are apprenticeships in general. There are major challenges if they are to be used as the magic elixir they have been purported to be. There are concerns about current apprenticeship provision: the percentage of people starting apprenticeships who are already over 25 (and therefore

SDS Annual Career Guidance Symposium 2015

On 19th March 2015, I delivered a workshop presentation on Doctoral Research into Career Education Information Advice and Guidance to attendees at the Skills Development Scotland Annual Career Guidance Symposium. Photos and presentations from this event can be downloaded here .

Putting women off politics? The 2015 General Election Campaign

The number of women turning out to vote in Britain is decreasing  despite increases in female parliamentary candidates . In the past twelve months attempts to engage women voters include two heavily criticised examples: the ‘Better Together woman’ with her reminder  to the women-folk of Scotland to vote No in the Independence Referendum and Labour’s Pink Bus tour  encouraging women to vote in the forthcoming General Election. There has obviously been some research that says non-voting women might be engaged (rather than just  enraged ) by this. This type of marketing doesn't appeal to me but I've voted in every election I could since I turned 18; in the UK we can vote in a secret ballot, a basic right that is denied to so many women of the world.  As a researcher into career choice, I'm keen to understand why women don't go into male dominated occupations. Positive role models are repeatedly cited as an example of good practice in balancing gender in segregated o

SDS-SGSSS Collaborative PhD Programme Launch Event

Yesterday I a ttended the official launch and first networking event of The Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences (SGSSS) Collaborative PhD Programme in Glasgow. As a recipient of one of the ESRC co-funded studentships my research into Gender and Modern Apprenticeships will contribute to this knowledge exchange programme between the academic community, policy makers and practitioners, that seeks to understand skills issues from a Scottish perspective. More details on the event and the attendees can be found here . Here I am with my supervisor,  Prof. Mike Danson, demonstrating how much fun doing a PhD can be!

News: Forthcoming Events/Presentations

I am six months into doctoral study, so it is time to make a start on expanding my research away from me, my desk and my supervisors by taking it to an academic and professional audience. I have two events over the next fortnight where I will be presenting the topics of my PhD to peers and practitioners. SGSSS-SDS PhD Event The first of these two events is the inaugural networking event for the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Collaborative PhD Programme  to be held on Thursday 12th March .  I will meet the doctoral researchers who are funded under the same scheme as I am for the first time and in a poster presentation, we will be showcasing our research topics. There will also be a number of speakers to network with, including SDS Chief Executive Damien Yeates , Professor Simon Burnett of the SGSSS, Professor Tara Fenwick (ESRC) and Professor Ewart Keep (ESRC/Skope).  SDS Annual Career Guidance Research Symposium 2015

The Public Purse

There are strong economic drivers for ‘better’ childcare. Childcare costs UK parents/guardians hard-earned cash for every hour used until free universal part-time places kick in for 3 and 4 year olds (earlier, at 2, for eligible parents) and a cost remains even then for full-time care if required. There are some parents who lose out financially by going back to work and having a child or children in childcare (and despite what the media would have us believe, many who persevere, for longer-term career development, despite this). Okay, okay, already, by this point in this blog post, some readers will be ready to make One Of The Comments. Hold on, you’ll get a chance! Would we be happier paying childcare costs if we had gold standard childcare? What would make us the ‘best’ in Europe? Well firstly, how to define ‘gold standard’? Words we use are: regulated, accessible, flexible. Childcare is expensive in the UK but quality is high compared to other nations in Europe. Universal

Are you back at work? That’s great…

This going back to work business is nothing like as easy as it sounds. After you have a child, you don’t just ‘go back to work’ on a set date, at a set time and return to business as usual. Play does not continue as before. At first the novelty of it all and/or the immediate crisis management overshadows your ability to see past how the changes might be affecting you. You may be too guilty about the whole thing to deal with the impact of working plus parenting. By two months in, you are too tired to do anything about it and battle on.  At about the four month stage you realise you can’t really keep the charade up. By six months, something has to or likely already has changed. Oh and socialising with colleagues outside of work, no chance of that. It clashes, with everything.   On returning to work after having a child/children, you spend a fair amount of time desperately trying to establish new routines, finding strategies to prevent you from losing your marbles entirely, and thi

It’s 2015! What will 2030 look like?

“Read as much and as widely as you can,” is an early piece of general advice given to those starting out on a PhD project. So I have been. Thoroughly enjoyable but I am a person who, once I start reading something I then see something else I’m interested in and I end up having to know all about that in detail before going back to the thing I was originally reading about. I’ve been reading about the future and what it might be like. Wide you say? I’m looking at infinity. My poor brain! Management PhD research (at least, in my topic area) needs to address not only the current situation but to also look at what the problems of the future might be. “Now” moves on to become “then” very quickly in life and before you know it, it’s Friday evening and everyone is wondering why there’s nothing in for dinner. Producing best practice suggestions and practical ideas for positive action in reducing gender and occupational segregation requires an understanding of where we are going and what it’