Joining forces to forge a unique partnership at the first-ever National Careers Guidance Show (NCGS), OCR Chief Executive Greg Watson and Pauline Tait, Policy and Development Manager at the Institute of Career Guidance (ICG), co-presented a thought provoking seminar - The Importance of Learner Choice - for careers professionals at the Emirates Stadium in London on 3 and 4 March 2010.
Part of a range of activities run by show co-sponsors OCR, the seminar considered the importance of choice, recognising that all learners are different, and that good career advice and guidance is essential in helping individuals, employers and the UK economy as a whole.
Pauline Tait said: "Careers guidance practitioners have had to recover from a number of body blows over the last few years including a significant reduction in resources. However, I believe that we are now firmly back on the map. We must educate key stakeholders about the importance of careers guidance and learner choice so that we can build a sustainable workforce for the future. We must embrace new communications technology such as Twitter so that information and guidance can be shared with young people whilst at the same time recognising the importance of one-to-one communication. All of these play a crucial role in the education and welfare of individual young people and the efficient working of the labour market and the economy. We must explain and celebrate what we do, as we know that we can make a real difference."
Continuing the theme, Greg Watson said: "We need to get back this notion of learner choice and fight back against some of the trends over the last 20 years. We seem to have developed a problem with the idea of choice. There seems to be a fear that young people shouldn't be given too much choice and that if left to their own devices they will make terrible choices for themselves. As far as I'm concerned every young person is different - in terms of their preferences, their talents and skills - and the starting point should be what's going to be right for you?, how do we guide you to the right choices? We've got to be thinking about guiding young people down a pathway that gives options at the end and not just to a specific job that a predictive model is going to give you."
A suite of qualifications designed to provide the option of choice advocated by Greg were strongly in evidence on the OCR stand. One of the fastest growing qualifications in the UK today, OCR Nationals are a unique suite of KS3 - KS5 qualifications which support a practical, motivating approach for learners and provide transferable skills relevant to FE, HE and the workplace. Further attracting visitors to the OCR stand was an OCR Nationals Career Game offering entry into a prize draw to win an iPod Touch - won by Simon Connolly from Prospects - who correctly answered ten OCR Nationals orientated questions. Elsewhere, a selection of OCR Nationals case studies, presented by OCR's Principal Moderators, helped tell the engaging and challenging story of this exciting skills-assessed suite of qualifications.
With almost 2000 visitors over its two day duration, the inaugural NCGS was a considerable success with key career professionals from schools, colleges, universities, career bodies and government agencies getting the chance to catch up with the latest information about career routes and opportunities at a friendly, informal, and informative event.
Considered to be 'the voice of careers guidance', please view for more information on the Institute of Career Guidance, including details of their forthcoming conference.