Andy Gardner October 2018
When my 11-year-old son told me that I had to watch the CBBC programme, Class Dismissed, because it had a Careers Adviser in it, I was straight onto I-Player. Of course, it was all done for laughs, but it was so obviously the opposite to what a trained Careers Adviser would do, that they either had done their research and then turned it inside out, or it was just a figment of a scriptwriter’s imagination. Also, I’m a strong believer that any worthwhile profession should be able to laugh at itself.
The episode, called Careers Day, started with the School Careers Adviser Miss Dropitt interviewing Billy and you can watch the interview here.
Below is a transcript, with my spoof Career Development interjections in italics:
Miss Dropitt: (To Camera) My Careers Adviser advised me to be a Careers Adviser and before that her Careers Adviser advised her to be a Careers Adviser, and before that her Careers Adviser advised her to be a Careers Adviser and before that her Careers Adviser advised her to be a Champion Jockey, but she didn’t listen to her and became a Careers Adviser anyway.
In 33 years as a Careers Adviser I think I may have influenced one Careers Adviser who came into Stratford Careers Office to become a Careers Adviser and he was a career changer not a school pupil. They are mostly women though!
Careers Interview starts:
Miss Dropitt: So, Billy want do you want to be when you leave school?
Not a good start (presuming Billy is Year 11, we now have RPA). This question is not clear because he may not leave school at the end of year 11, and implies that he should know his chosen job, when of course he may not. The start of the interview will normally involve an exploration of where Billy is at in his Career Development.
Billy: Well I like football, so a footballer.
Miss Dropitt: OK Billy if can just stop you there. At the risk of sounding negative, becoming a professional footballer is incredibly difficult, and the chances of you being a success at it are basically zero, OK! (the OK said in a I’m shutting this down way)
There is no checking of what level he is currently playing at. Is he associated with a professional club or is he not even getting into the school team. If he is with a club there is still a very high chance he will not make it as a pro, so a gentle suggestion to look at fall-back positions (not full-back!) might be appropriate if he agrees to this.
The use of the “OK” in this fashion is inappropriate for impartial Careers Guidance.
Billy: “Well I know it will be tough Miss, but it is my dream job”
A clear plea from Billy for Miss Dropitt to listen to him
Miss Dropitt: OK Billy, nobody ever got anywhere by following their dreams, you need to choose something more practical, maybe this leaflet will give you some ideas (passes him a leaflet with Simon Cowell on the front titled “Forget it Loser”).
No exploration of whether he is considering A Levels, BTECS, Apprenticeships, Traineeships etc, no drilling down to specific routes – sixth form subjects, types of apprenticeships. If sixth form what about university, apprenticeships afterwards. What about careers related to football, in the industry itself or the wider sports and leisure sector or even a PE Teacher?
Billy: What sort of job would you suggest then Miss?
Miss Dropitt: Something like, Careers Adviser! What’s great about this job is that you can fit in other jobs in between, speaking of which, my shift as a Lollypop Lady starts, would you mind covering for me here, it would be good work experience
Maybe he has other strengths that haven’t been mentioned or even he might want to explore jobs which actually exist in his local area. There is however a real grain of truth in the Careers Advice profession being dumbed down and being done by untrained staff doing other jobs in schools.
Billy: I don’t know Miss…
Miss Droppitt: It’s easy, all you have to do is sit there and tell people that they can’t do what they want to do. Got to go. Being a Lollypop Lady requires a dedicated and diligent individual and until they find one of those, I’m doing it!
Now they are just being plain rude.
If you keep watching they move onto enterprise education……..
Seeing a Careers Adviser at school is clearly part of British culture as it is something we can all relate to and is the funniest part of this programme. With current levels of investment we may soon be saying “you never know what you’ve got till it’s gone…”