Report from Ella Clarke and Kane Robins, Ark Academy, Brent
Additional reporting from Heather Rhule, Brent Connexions Prospects and Katherine Scrowther, Just IT
Event hosted at BCS on the 22nd of June
Careers Advisers Andy Gardner and Catherine O’Mahony of Central Careers Hub, hosted the Tech Careers Event on the 22nd of June at BCS, the British Institute of Technology, which was targeted towards teachers and careers advisers across London and beyond.
Careers advisers play a very important role in young adults’ decision making. They are there to raise the aspirations of young adults, increase motivation and achievement, improve success for different sectors, and make students aware of their skills and capabilities. Without the right knowledge, students will be left with limited information to make a career choice.
When Careers Advisers and Teachers signed up for the Careers in Tech event at Central Careers Hub they were asked:
“As a Careers Adviser or Teacher how comfortable do you feel about explaining Careers in Tech?”
The responses were:
- Very comfortable 0%
- Comfortable 16%
- Uneasy 67%
- Haven’t got a clue 4%
- Not a Careers Adviser or Teacher 13%
See below for the post-event survey!
Catherine Knivett, Digital Skills Policy Adviser from the Greater London Authority came to the stage first to speak about tech careers from her point of view. She was later asked in an interview why young people see careers in tech as unattractive, she said: “Some young people find the word ‘Tech’ off-putting and find careers in this sector unattractive as they identify it as a geeky career.” This just goes to show that not a lot of people understand what a career in tech really means. Catherine went on to say, “The VOTS framework that CCH presented was excellent, as it was so clear and easy to understand and it was put in a language that was so accessible.”
During the event we were about to find out more about the challenges careers advisers face when explaining tech, which is one of the main reasons why the event was so popular with careers advisers and sold out in two hours. There are hundreds of job roles within the tech sector and the languages are confusing such as Java, Python, etc. And what are the definitions of FinTech, EdTech, etc.?
Careers advisers should have heard of DOTS (Bill Law and Tony Watts’ model for stages of career planning. It stands for Decision Learning, Opportunity Awareness, Transition Learning and Self-Awareness). And technology is no different. Andy and Catherine began to explain to us the meaning of the Careers in Tech VOTS framework, which stands for Verticals, Occupations, Technologies, and Skills.
One of the biggest misunderstandings in tech careers, is that you do not need to know how to code to be successful (though coding is essential for software development). There are hundreds of opportunities within the sector, all that lead to great profitable careers where you don’t need to code. For example, the CompTIA A+ is a major qualification required for Tech Support jobs and this doesn’t involve coding. We went onto further research to see how many people in tech were successful with and without degrees, the highest percentage of success we saw was those who never went to university. To back up this point we had more guest speakers come to the stage to share their experience with us; we had two Just IT Apprentices (Rebecca Kitt and Chris Wheatley), a representative for CompTIA (Zeshan Sattar), an IT employee with Software experience (Barney Hanlon from Inviqa) and an apprenticeship provider (Simon Perriton, Founder of Just IT).
Each one of these began to explain how they got to where they were today, often without a degree in Computing, what other certifications in IT you could take instead of a degree, explained the key difference between different tech job roles and other answered other questions from the careers advisers and teachers.
When we asked “As a Careers Adviser or Teacher how comfortable do you feel about explaining Careers in Tech?” at the end of the Careers in Tech event at Central Careers Hub the responses were:
- Very comfortable 13%
- Comfortable 70%
- Uneasy 0%
- Haven’t got a clue 0%
- Not a Careers Adviser or Teacher 17%
Getting careers advisers knowledgeable on tech career options is vital to the industry. By getting Careers Advisers and Teachers to understand Careers in Tech better, we automatically get the young adults they see to understand it better too.
Look out for a free download of the “Cracking the Tech Careers Code” report which will be available from the CCH website in September.