Despite mountains of research showing the value of career education, career advisors struggle for resources, time and recognition.
Don’t try to face these challenges alone. In 10 hours per year, you can get the support of a dynamic group of local industry representatives who will transform how career education is recognised in the school.
This will be the group you go to for advice and support. They will be the first ones you go to for guest speakers, work experience, mentoring, expos and industry tours. They will have networks to support your goals.
Vet Nursing Advisory Board for South Metro TAFE
At one stage in my career at TAFE I was put in charge of Veterinary Nursing. I knew nothing about it so set up an industry advisory board with members from the Australian Veterinary Association, The Vet Surgeons Board, Vet Nurses, industry groups – from agriculture, racing and gaming and a student representative.
They delivered information, advice and support to the students and enhanced the work we did by aligning it more to industry needs. They provided industry connections for work experience, and recommended us to pet food companies that donated food for animals in our clinic.
Hour 1: Get the support of your principal
Put a pitch together about how an Industry Advisory Group will enhance the career education of students. The Principal may want to know details which I have put in “Hour 2”.
Hour 2: Thinking Time
Decide roughly who you want on the group:
- Someone from a Jobs and Skills Centre
- A member of the local Rotary Group (great for mock job interviews, work experience and mentors).
- A member of the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
- Someone from retail (Coles/Woolworths/ Bunnings/McDonalds)
- Someone from an aged care facility.
- You could try the Construction Futures Centre, or a trade group in your area.
- Someone powerful who is willing to help – in my area we have Hofmann Engineering, they are a multinational company and they so generous with their time and support.
Decide how often you will meet. Probably twice a year for an hour.
Decide what will happen to their ideas. Maybe the minutes of the meetings are sent to the school management and school board and they will guide your work. Say you will report back on progress at each meeting.
Set a date and time for the meeting at the school. Book a room.
Hour 3 and 4: Busy Work
Ring people. Invite them to be a member of the (name of school) Industry Advisory Group that aims to build the capacity of career education within the school.
Follow up with an email invitation to the first meeting.
Hour 5: Hold the Meeting
Make sure you have tea and coffee and a biscuit for them.
You are a teacher. You KNOW how to facilitate a brilliant meeting.
You might want to:
- Welcome and introduce the purpose of the group.
- Do some brainstorming with the group through a SWOT analysis.
- I like to analyse to SWOT to get ideas for how to Use each of the Strengths, Stop the Weaknesses, Exploit the Opportunities and Deny the Threats. That gives me a “to do list”.
- Tell them you will write up the notes from the brainstorming and send them out to them.
- Set a time for the next meeting.
Build relationships. Have a cup of tea/coffee and a talk.
Hour 6 – 7: Write up the notes and distribute
After the meeting write up what happened in a report send it to everyone.
Talk about it at staff meetings. Put it into your school newsletter. Let the District Office know. Let me know and I now and I will put it in the next In Focus Careers newsletter.
You will be able to call on your Group members to support any of the initiatives you want to launch at school.
Hour 8: After 6 months write a Progress Report
After 6 months write up a basic Progress Report for your next meeting and email it to everyone in the group.
Include the time and place for next meeting.
Hour 9: Prepare for Next Meeting
Book a room. Get tea and coffee. Prepare the agenda. Would your principal want to come?
Hour 10 Hold Next Meeting.
Report on and discuss progress and note further suggestions.
Repeat 3- 10 above for next year.
You are on your way
Your Industry Advisory Group will be your greatest asset. They provide work experience, mentors, guest speakers, expo displays and industry advice AND they can be a powerful voice that trailblazes the way for career education in your school.
It really is worth setting aside 10 hours per year to put in place infrastructure that will make your life easier.