Monday, 27 August 2007

Where was I?

Once again I've let myself and you down -- but I refuse to be down-hearted about it. "New Year" resolutions start here and now.

Back to the drawing board with the ACEG Conference -- or, more particularly, about the people and resources that I thought were interesting and/or useful which were not part of the Conference programme. These items are not in any hierarchical order -- just as the reminder piece of paper, catalogue or CD comes "out of the box".

It's a small world, isn't it? I was talking about blogging, this writing of posts to a weblog, and about the general interest starting to be shown in reading blogs when I was asked about getting training in setting it up, mentioned a name (Phil Bradley) and got "oh, we know him".

careercomp@nion notebook
At first glance £7.99 seems like a lot of money for a 60-page A5 book (booklet?) but when you open it you realise, quite quickly, that Alison Dixon and Hilary Nickell have produced an extremely useful notebook which can be used, as a stand-alone career planning and preparation tool, by any motivated person. I tried to find a review of it on the web but failed miserably -- and the only third-party reseller that mentions it is Trotman and that is only on the Master Excel file (looks as though it's Trotman's internal document designed to produce an order form). I'm certainly not the right person to try to review it so I'll prompt Hilary to get it to a number of places so that someone else can do it.

Personal Development Curriculum provides "complete curriculum materials for careers, citizenship, enterprise, PSHE and work-related learning". Since I've never been a teacher and never worked in a school or college I will not attempt to evaluate the resources but the people at the exhibition stand were very friendly. You can access all the information you need at the link above and all resources are available on a 14-day trial. If PDC Education is not a name you recognise then perhaps you will know these people better as Gapwork Limited (name no longer shown at Companies House but the website, or at least Google's cache of it, is very easy to find).

Better Practice: a guide to delivering effective career learning 11-19 provides "practical help on leading, managing and delivering effective careers education". The document is available at and

The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust provides an "Equal Opportunities Interactive Resource" which shows the benefits and challenges of pursing a different career oath to the norm. "It confronts the fears and aspirations of young people who wish to enter the sectors of: construction, early years, engineering, health, manufacturing, and social care".
"This dynamic new DVD has been sent to schools, additional free copies are available from the eshop."

I guess that I had better not let this post go without mentioning organisations that you must, surely, already know about such as:

  • HERO: helping your students track down the facts on higher education
  • Aimhigher information was provided by the local, West Midlands, Aimhigher organisation and leaflets provided pointed to West Midlands resources. I do know that these vary from region to region but you are probably in touch with your local representative for programmes such as "Learning Pathways" and "Get Up and Go". Nice bags available!
  • Careers Europe is the UK National Resource Centre for International Careers Information. It provides resources to Careers services, Connexions services and other information and advisory services throughout the UK. You can access information about the organisation's role as a Business Language Champion here and about the Gap Year Resource Pack here.
  • skillset: the Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries has what is, in my opinion, one of the best sectoral-based careers information centres -- it was certainly the first of the newly-formed Sector Skills Councils to take up the challenge of providing careers information < >.
  • Prospects Education Resources had their usual informative stand with a wide range of resources on display -- and reminders that e-Learning Credits can, and indeed probably should, be used to purchase a wide range of multimedia resources including CEG and PSHE software such as the Real game (£350 for a 3-year site licence) and FastTomato (£365 for a 1-year site licence).
  • Trotman were also providing lots of resources to look at but I failed to pick up their catalogue and after the long interval I can't remember whether any particular resource was being promoted over others.

Friday, 10 August 2007

ACEG Conference feed-back continued (at long last)

This must be longest-running saga ever. Most of the blogs I read (and I'm well behind on that as well) seem to report on things like this instantaneously. I wait until I get home, mull things over, let domestic and other issues interfere with writing and then ... it's a month or more later and there's no point!

Except that there is since I remember that I stopped having researched information about "Dialogical" and "Career Identities" and there's still three Keynotes to go.

Keynote 4: Careers education in the new curriculum Gary Forrest, QCA
Not really my scene at all and I hesitate to comment on something that I don't really understand.

Keynote 5: Influencing school and college senior managers John Dunford, ASCL (which is, I think, the Association of School and College Leaders)
This session may have presented new information and issues to the delegates but I found that it was, for me, a fairly standard session on influencing techniques with regard to ensuring that careers education and guidance rises higher up the agenda in educational establishments. A "good idea" that has been pursued for some years with some improvement in the position (but by no means enough for some [many?] people).

Keynote 6: Assessing the impact of careers work Deirdre Hughes, CeGS (Centre for Guidance Studies)
Ah, now we're on to something. If guidance practitioners are to influence school and college leaders, if the place of careers education in the curriculum is to be assured, if UK PLC is to ultimately have the workforce that it needs then the impact of the work that is currently taking place has to be assessed. Deirdre emphasised that the "of course it does" answer to "does careers education and guidance make a difference?" must be backed up by evidence; clear evidence that is used by practitioners to make the point. Practitioners must assess and understand more fully the changes that have taken place in education, in learning and in lifestyle. She said that the aim of her talk was to set out four points.
  • Create a national shared vision
  • Agree common language
  • Inspire people to manage their lives, learning and work effectively
  • Generate evidence on impact
She achieved her aim -- for me at least.

You'll get part 3 of the saga (what went on outside the main conference -- no, not that sort of "going on") tomorrow and then it's back to the usual miscellany of information.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Reporting the interval

Where has the time gone?

Monday 30 July: Apart from racing round like an idiot following phone call from the hospital as reported in my last post finding someone to take me in, collect me afterwards (Mr E does not drive) I managed to:
  • sort the mail (the snail variety);
  • set up a means for both ADSET and The Accounting Bureau (I was supposedly "minding the shop" for a colleague while she was on holiday) at least had their phones answered;
  • deal with URGENT email; and
  • mark up press releases, newspaper reports and other sundry items for Dawn to deal with to get them into the July Members' Update.
Tuesday 31 July: Cleared the office ready to start in a new place tomorrow -- but that can't happen! At least all the furniture got moved at the weekend thanks to Ken and the boys so I then went to the "new" office and got one of our computers set up and connected to the Internet. Into hospital to prepare for minor op the following day -- only to discover that I could have had another day at home as I'm on the afternoon list!

Wednesday 1 August: Newspapers seem to be full of "don't get ill today" because it is the day that all the new junior doctors start. My arm still knows about the oh-so-young woman who tried to find a vein!! To theatre at 3pm back at 4:20 and had to lie still, on my back, for four hours. Fortunately for me, if not for the three others in the small ward, I slept for most of it (and, apparently, snored VERY loudly).

Thursday 2 August: Home for lunch feeling a bit wobbly but otherwise OK.

Friday / Saturday / Sunday: Compile Members' Update from the files sent by Dawn and those I've gathered for myself. This task usually takes me two days however, with appropriate breaks, I still hadn't finished by Monday morning. This could, of course, have been something to do with the fact that two desks needed to be re-assembled which took Mr E rather longer than he said (it's a man) and I was required to drive him there and back!

Monday: A whole week gone by; Update not finished to go to the proof-reader and I have to go to the new office (which is much nicer than the old one) because this is the first time that Leonora (her of The Accounting Bureau) has seen it. Got lots of work done BUT we didn't finish until well after 7pm.

Tuesday: Persuaded a friend to drive at-long-last-finished Update to the proof-reader as I travelled to London to care for house and cats for my daughter.

Wednesday: Morning working through my Google Reader (more than 3,000 to at least glance at and mark the actions -- star to go back and read, email to myself if it's for the next Update or for the business news I do for Leonora, share with this blog (through shared items) those things that I don't want to comment on but do want you to see, copy link to here for those things I want to comment on in some way (save a draft and then write up properly later in the day -- which day? -- track record on this is not good).
Afternoon at the DWP library at the Adelphi -- it's great being there as it's the last bastion of information about former colleagues in what became the DfES and then disappeared. I did also do a lot of serious reading.

Thursday: That's today and I'm sitting in my daughter's house in London writing this and then I'm going to spend the rest of the day at the British Library before setting off for home on the 10pm train. There's little chance that I'll finish the ACEG Conference feedback before tomorrow afternoon -- and I am determined to do that before tackling any of the "saved as draft" links I've got.