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Career Advice “As Usual” is a Con

 We cannot continue to educate students for jobs that don’t exist.

 Satyajit Das, financier and best selling author.


I heard that Naplan tests that are marked by computers yield more accurate results than tests marked by humans. That wasn’t a big surprise, until I was told the computers were able to recognise HUMOUR!! I KNOW!!

Artificial intelligence is doing the work of surgeons, lawyers, engineers, journalists and accountants.

Robots are taking on tasks of car builders, bricklayers, mechanics and plumbers.

The rate of workplace change is snowballing as our schools educate in a microcosm closed off from the outside world by curriculum demands, Naplan tests, risk management strategies and insurance companies.

Education is largely taking place in a 20th century bubble, not a 21st century ecosystem.

Time to bite off more than you can chew

School based career advisors are acutely aware of the need for change. They know how many jobs are going to disappear and they know that there is nothing on the horizon to take their place.

They can become a powerful force for change by:

1. Establishing a Powerful Careers Reference Group for the School

Within Western Australia there is serious potential to tap into the latent goodwill, of community, government and industry.

  • I am continually amazed by the generosity of huge companies like Hoffman Engineering and successful entrepreneurs like John Hughes and Stan Perron who have never knocked back my requests for students to tap into their knowledge and experience.
  • Government resources like the Aboriginal Workforce Development Centre and ProjectAble are beating their heads against the wall trying to make connections with schools. A seat on a Career Reference Group would provide the framework for their engagement.
  • Universities and RTOs are all competing for senior students and would welcome a seat on such a group.
  • I know of alumni groups who are almost begging students to tap into their knowledge and experience.
  • Make sure your students have a seat at the table and not just those who are most likely to succeed in the new work order.

By tapping into these resources career advisors can build a framework that connects the creativity, enthusiasm and ideas of students with the knowledge, networks and resources of the wider community.

Getting the imprimatur of the established school order may be your greatest challenge.

2. Creating an AMBITIOUS 21st Century Strategic Careers Plan

If you get the right Careers Reference Group it will be the driver of your goals and strategies.Elaine workshop

Remember you are trying to create a plan for empowering future ready citizens so the “same ol same ol” strategic planning process is unlikely to generate a plan for the future.

Try something like a Future Visioning Workshop to
get group members thinking creatively for the future. I am a member of enkel  changemakers group and some of the members are currently running Creative Visioning Workshops which are throwing up fantastic ideas for local governments.

3. Creating Systems that Remove Barriers to engaging with Outsiders. 

Helicopter parents, insurance companies and increased risk awareness have put education into a straightjacket and students into cotton wool.


No one wants to go back to the bad old days where kids were at risk, accidents were frequent and insurance pay outs were… .well, probably as rare as they are now!

Scandinavian schools are developing risk management systems that facilitate engagement outside of the school bubble. I don’t think Scandinavian citizens are any more trustworthy than Australians. If they can do it so can we.

Do some research and adopt systems which ensure the safety of students AND facilitate engagement with the outside world.

4. Seeking Funding 

This is not the time to stretch existing resources further. That approach will end up with a job half done.

As part of your strategic plan identify what resources you will need to make the ideas happen, who is going to apply for them and how.

We currently have the STEM hammer which is meant to nail the needs of future citizens. Resources are being made available through STEM and innovation grants, through government and through industry.

As the urgency and importance of career education becomes apparent in your school it will gain a higher priority for school based funding and resource allocation.

Create a Climate of Possibility

Providing the same career advice that we did in the 20th Century is no longer ethical. It’s time for us to create a climate of possibility where students are ready and supported to succeed as they transition from school.

Contact me if you would like to connect and collaborate with like minded educators and career advisors to transform career education in Western Australia.

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